I live in a small, cozy, older apartment complex of 10 people. The buildings are each separate, looks like they could have been small, bungalow type cottages used for military housing, and each one is about 600 sq. ft. They've been divided down the center of each of the buildings to house 2 people, so we share an adjoining wall, and we can usually hear what the neighbor is doing, so it's imperative to be nice and quiet in order to get along.
I moved in about 3 years ago, and soon to follow was my neighbor whom I share a wall with. She had lived in these apts at an earlier time but wanted to move back in, so the landlord knew her well. She is sweet on the surface but cantankerous when things don't go her way. She's also on disability, so she's home all day everyday and tends to ruminate about injustices done to her and can dream up and be very spiteful to those she doesn't like.
Before she ever moved in, the landlord told her that I smoked and would she be able to live with that if the smoke travelled at all and she answered, "Yes." She and I were friends the first 2 years, helping each other, sharing, laughing at times and all was good....until....I said some things that she took offense to, such as: getting a job, when I said that this helped me with my depression, etc, or her cat, when I'd ask why she doesn't let her cat outdoors anymore; pretty soon, it seemed like I couldn't say anything right anymore without her taking offense at me. She would harbor feelings of resentment and stop talking to me. It was on and off like this for about 6 months.
It's when our landlord put the apt complex up for sale, and in April 2014 the new landlords took over the property. One of their new rules was no smoking in the apt. None of the other smokers stopped smoking in their apt, so I continued to smoke too, oblivious to the deep seeded anger that my neighbor had seething against me. She was on-again, off-again with our friendship, apparently depending on what I said....and then the harassment started where she would call and angrily tell me to stop picking on her and her cat, or telling me to stop being a know-it-all (?) or to leave her alone and not talk to her. Apparently she could no longer talk to me without feeling condemnation and how I would ruin hours of her day because she got so angry at what I had said (none of which was ever intentional on my part and I'm not a rude or difficult person. To be friends with her, you have to accept her as she is, because well, Denice is Denice and she's up one day and smiling and down the next, grumpy and judgemental).
Then the complaints about my smoking and her yelling, why don't you air out your apt, your smoke is choking me to death. (I've always aired out my apt, many times a day, and she's not complained in the past 2 1/2 yrs). Then she started calling and bugging the new landlord reporting my smoking and I'm sure her anger exaggerated her dramatic story. She is NOT next door coughing, gagging, or choking. I rarely even hear her cough. One time she said she was going to make this a legal issue, the landlord said it could be a civil suit (?) But I told him about her agreement to moving in next to a smoker and he said, "oh, I didn't know that."
Other smokers here do not have their neighbor complaining and in fact the neighbor will say they don't smell anything. My neighbor didn't complain until her hate grew for me so much that she couldn't stand me living next to her....just an inner rage against me and decided (I think) that she now has a target, a weak link to get me out of her way.....to rage on about my smoking. Because she has selective hearing and memory, she probably has selective smelling too, and because she hears me wake up in the morning or come home from work in the evening and knows that I might be smoking a cigarette, she starts raging. \
Because a place this cozy and in this price range is almost non-existent and she couldn't find a place for herself somewhere else (she talked about moving out for quite some time), I think she decided that she would try to get me kicked out instead. Yesterday, she slammed her door all day long...she'd go out the door and slam, come back in and slam....all day. Most likely, she wouldn’t be doing that if I weren’t here!
She intensely hates me from her core, and spews it out whenever she can. Can she do anything legally against me? What is a civil suit or action? If it's a civil case, wouldn't she have to pay for this? Or is there another legal action she can take that requires no money (because she barley makes it by on her disability check)? I would assume the landlord would just ask me to leave rather than spending any money on a lawyer, but can he legally do that when I'm breaking one rule, but doing everything else as a responsible, pay-on-time, and generally nice, honest and attempt to be friendly renter? Your thoughts and expertise in this matter would be quite helpful for my understanding and to know what's possible and what's not. Thank you, Susan
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