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barristerinky, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 38183
Experience:  Attorney over 16 years, landlord 26 years
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We have an elderly tenant in one side of a duplex we own who

Customer Question

We have an elderly tenant in one side of a duplex we own who appears to be experiencing some olfactory hallucinations, probably (we believe) related to her Parkinson's disease. She calls us very frequently complaining of very foul/unpleasant odors coming from "behind the kitchen cabinets", "along the baseboards in the living room", and "through [her] medicine cabinet" in the bathroom. She describes these odors as "coming and going", but overwhelming to her when they occur. We have gone over twice at her requests, and have never smelled anything unpleasant in any way. Although we believe she is experiencing "phantom smells related to her illness, we have bought a whole-house Honeywell Air Filtration system for her use, and allowed her $20 per month on her electric bill for its operation. Today the issue worsened, as she called me and said "people are beginning to look in [her] windows at night", and sounds are coming from the attic. I have told her we have done all we know to do, as there is no evidence of foul smells, and no evidence of people on her property. Our second resident in the other part of the duplex has not seen any people or smelled any smells. He said she does come over and question him about these things quite often. We are aware of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and we want to make reasonable accommodations for her, yet there is nothing further we know to do. What can we do to help her w/o invading her privacy? There are emergency contacts on her lease. Are we allowed to call these people and express our concerns? From all I read about Parkinson's Disease, it is highly likely she will deteriorate further, now that these symptoms are part of her experience. We have stated we will let her out of her lease if she wishes to move, but so far, she seems unwilling to consider this option. We have asked if she has friends or family in the area who might assist her, and she stated she is "alone". Sorry for the long story, but the details are needed so you can provide a good response. Can we call her emergency contacts? If it is relevant to your answer, we are in Tucson, Arizona.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question..What can we do to help her w/o invading her privacy? There are emergency contacts on her lease. Are we allowed to call these people and express our concerns?.This is a difficult situation as the tenant may not realize that there is nothing going on as it seems very real to them. There may also be some cognitive deterioration going on here that could be contributing to the paranoia and the false smells...But if they do have emergency contacts listed, then there would be nothing that would prevent you from contacting them and expressing your concerns about the tenant's issues and possible health concerns..I have had some elderly tenants over my 26 year stint as a landlord and one in particular began experiencing what is called "night terrors" where they suddenly become afraid in the evenings that someone is trying to get them. It was hard to deal with, but I contacted the family who intervened and ended up putting her in an assisted care home so she could get appropriate care..So yes, her contacts or family need to know what is going on so they can step in.....thanksBarrister