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barristerinky
barristerinky, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 33803
Experience:  Attorney for over 15 years, landlord 26 years
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House up the street is rented to a family that is stealing

Customer Question

house up the street is rented to a family that is stealing from everyone. They have been caught twice the kids have been arrested both minors. parents have criminal record. They are under public housing so the landlord gets guaranteed money. They refuse to evict them. The kids and parent have threatened to do physical harm to the children around the neighborhood also.
The police have taken stolen property from one of my neighbors they stole from. The guy had the serial number for the AC they stole and had in their window.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.

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I am sorry to hear that the neighborhood is having to go through this with the tenants.

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What is your legal question that I can assist with today?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
what is the legal avenue the landlord can take. If he does not act what can we as homeowners do?
kids have already been arrested for robbing a neighbors house
they have confiscated property they have stolen from another neighbors home. they had the serial number to the ac that they stole and had in their window.
they walk by your house and threaten to rob and due physical harm to our kids and us. That is done all around the neighbor hood.
The parent both have criminal records also
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
they also don't have any way of disposing of there garbage and where dumping it in the woods and behind a forclosed property. I asked the landlord to have them show proof of garbage removal either by a private company or the local dump. He did nothing. DEC police are investigating them for that also.
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 year ago.

If the landlord has a written lease contract with the tenants and it states that it gives them grounds to terminate and evict if they break the law, then this would give them the right to do so. Whether he chooses to or not is up to him.

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The problem is that the contract is solely between the landlord and the tenants and doesn't involve the neighborhood. So if the tenants are causing problems, then the neighbor's main recourse is to call the police and file harassment charges against them constantly. If enough people continually call the police on the tenants, they will end up moving out because people like this don't like having the police come to their house constantly. With cell phones having video cameras on them, I would be videotaping the tenants and their children every time they approached me just to document the interaction for potential criminal charges.

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One possible action that a neighbor could take would be to file suit against the landlord for "private nuisance". A private nuisance is an interference with a person's enjoyment and use of his land. The law recognizes that landowners, or those in rightful possession of land, have the right to the unimpaired condition of the property and to reasonable comfort and convenience in its occupation.

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So if the landlord is allowing a condition to remain (i.e. the tenants) that is causing a disturbance or interfering with someone using and enjoying their property, then they could sue them under private nuisance and seek an order from the judge to abate the nuisance (i.e. evict the tenants).

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This would be an unusual use of the private nuisance doctrine, but I don't really see any other way to potentially force the landlord to evict them. If someone filed suit against him, he might just give in and evict them just to avoid having to be dragged into court and explain his actions to the judge..

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
what if the landlord just ignores all the homeowners because he wants the money. Can we sue him for distress or for knowingly endangering our property children and adults. We are willing to provide police reports the police have been to the house no fewer than 12 times in the last two months.
The police wont release the police reports because they say they are under an active investigation. Meanwhile our kids are threatened our property is being stolen or damaged. We are latterly in fear of our lives my kids don't go up the street unless we are with them. I and our neighbors have canceled vacations bought security light, cameras and systems. Little kids cant even play outside unless a parent is with them.
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 year ago.

Unfortunately, other than suing him for private nuisance, there is not much else you can do. The landlord is not responsible for the criminal actions of his tenants as only the individual who commits the crime can be held accountable.

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I agree that it is a lousy situation and it wouldn't surprise me if the landlord's property started suffering mysterious damages due to his foolhardy decision to rent to criminals and irritate the entire neighborhood. I was going to suggest getting a camera security system to monitor your property, but it sounds like you have already done that.

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I had a similar situation in my neighborhood which got me to purchase and install a 4 camera security system on my house due to a tenant's criminal children breaking into cars and truck boxes looking for things to steal. Eventually they were caught and the problem went away. But I know it is frustrating to have to deal with them and let the law run its slow course..

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
if the landlord is given proof of criminal activity ( police reports arrest record) and does nothing and one of them hurts or even kills a person on our street the landlord holds no accountability for letting them stay even after he had the legal documentation to evict them.
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 year ago.

Unfortunately, that is correct. A person is held criminally accountable for their own actions. The only way that a 3rd party can be held liable for another person's actions if if they were somehow an accomplice to those criminal actions.

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So if you were a landlord and your tenant went out and punched a neighbor in the face, the neighbor can't' come sue you or file criminal charges on you because you had nothing to do with it.

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Some foolish landlords get blinded by the money from the govt and overlook the fact that they are making everyone in the neighborhood hate them so when their property gets damaged, "nobody saw nothing".

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
our only course of action would be Civil action against the landlord. If we choose that route. We feel it goes beyond just a tenant doing something wrong like punching a person. We have provided ample documentation to the landlord the repetitive criminal and threating actions of his tenant and he reuses to do anything. They have already been convicted of one theft. Just was under a grand so no jail time. If they knowingly choose to let this danger persist in our neighborhood and to our homes and children then we feel that is a civil madder and we plan to sue.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
matter oops
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 year ago.

At this point yes, a civil lawsuit for allowing a "private nuisance" to remain would be the only grounds I see to potentially get the landlord to do something to evict them...

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I might mention one other thing... if you contacted a local attorney and had him send a "cease and desist" letter to the landlord basically threatening to sue for private nuisance and to hold him accountable for all legal costs of the matter, that might be enough to get him to change his tune. If he knows an attorney is involved, that could quickly eat up any money he was making on the property if he was sued, has to hire his own attorney to defend, and loses.. So just a letter might be enough to get him do decide enough is enough.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
thanks for your help have a nice weekend
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 year ago.

You are very welcome.. Glad to help any time..

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And I hope that the landlord finally "gets it" and realizes that his short term actions are making long term negative repercussions in the neighborhood..

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If you feel your original question and any related follow ups have been answered, I would very much appreciate a positive rating on the answer I have provided so I receive credit for my work. If you have a new question the JustAnswer folks require that you start a new question page, but you can request me by putting "For Barrister" in the caption and they will get it to me.

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thanks

Barrister

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