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Legalease
Legalease, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 14536
Experience:  15 years exp all aspects of general law
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My neighbors are threatening to sue myself and roughly 10 other

Customer Question

My neighbors are threatening to sue myself and roughly 10 other tenants of our building for making to much nose at night. During the summer we had parties but after their complaining to the police we've stopped. Now they've called the police on us for ridiculous things like leaving our porch light on and talking on the phone in the outdoor space outside our building. Can they sue us and if so what should we expect / do? We are all twenty-somethings and have no real legal experience.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Legalease replied 1 year ago.

Hello there

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What kind of paperwork did you receive on this matter (a letter? a summons?) and who was the letter sent to / addressed to?

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MARY

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

We were given a copy of I guess what would be their case but it was against our landlord, All Year Management, and all of us were referred to as "Jane" or "John Doe" etc. Nothing mentions any of us by name.


 


Currently they're taunting us claiming they're going to financially ruin us and we're considering countersuing for harassment. We have respected the noise ordinance after learning of it -which is 10pm in Brooklyn - yet they continue to photograph us and have not had any outdoor gatherings since, but now I can't have a cigarette outside my apartment without being harassed, we can't have any lights on at night when we return home from work, and my upstairs neighbors were told to "put rubber on their heels" for making too much noise walking up the stairs. I have female roommates who are starting to become afraid and are considering a restraining order. Would this be valid?

Expert:  Legalease replied 1 year ago.

Hello again timothy

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I apologize for the delay -- I was offline much of the day. First, your roommates cannot get a restraining order against the neighbors -- you can only get a restraining order against those persons who you are living with or in a romantic relationship with. They could ask for a "stay away" order but it is not as easy to get as a restraining order and does not hold the same force as a restraining order (the police do not take it as seriously). Regarding the noise issues -- the neighbors do not generally sue the other tenants in a noise situation -- they sue the landlord (and that is what they are doing). Typically what happens is that the tenants are permitted to break a lease legally and leave by the court and they may be awarded damages for the moving costs. If these tenants believe that they are going to get some money from the landlord because of one or two noise violations and then stay in the apartments -- well, although I will not say it is impossible but I will say it is not generally what the court awards to the complaining tenants in these nuisance cases.

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While ignoring them does not seem to have helped, my suggestion is to document all of this in a journal (dates, times, what happened, who was present when it happens, etc) -- if they take pictures, write it down. Then send a complaint letter to the landlord for harassment (you can send a complaint letter now and then supplement the letter later with a journal). If there are enough neighbors complaining about this harassment, the landlord can defend against this lawsuit by counterclaiming for harassment on your behalf and asking that the court assist in evicting these people. If you or any of the other neighbors feel threatened then you should call the police - the police may not do anything at first, but a pile of reports will start being entered into the police records which will also assist the landlords in getting these people evicted from the property and basically giving back to them what they are trying to dish out. Truly, though, the best way back at these people is through the landlord and the lawsuit these people are trying to bring. If you can come up with enough items in the journal and a few people that are willing to testify against them in court, then the landlord could turn it around and win the case and get an order telling these other tenants to leave the premises rather than you.

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So, yes you can pursue a harassment claim and suit against them too but you need to keep the journal, start making complaints and line up your own witnesses to do so -- because as with any other case, you have to prove it was harassment and that it was continuing (once or twice will not rise to the level of a harassment suit). I wish I could give you a magic bullet that you could use to get these people to stop it immediately, but a magic bullet simply does not exist. It is a slow process of gathering evidence and making complaints until you have enough complaints and proof pulled together to pursue the matter further.

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MARY

Expert:  Legalease replied 1 year ago.

Hello again Timothy --

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Is there anything else I can answer for you? If not, can you please press the 3rd, 4th or 5th smile face below so I will be paid for my time? This will not cost you any additional money and I am paid NOTHING unless you press the 3rd, 4th or 5th smile face below (I do not receive a paycheck -- I am paid per question rated by the customer - and this is not a hobby for me, it is how I earn a living). I wish I could have given you fantastic news on this -- I realize it was so-so -- but it is pursuant to law so I would really appreciate it if you would press a postiive rating below so I will be paid for my time ( you can ask follow up questions even after you do so). THANK YOU VERY MUCH

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-MARY

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