“Rocking, Stomping and Rattling In Unit 16″, Part 2

by admin on March 1, 2012

I’m not sure if anyone remembers the story I submitted, about the horrors of living in an apartment directly beneath the hellish family in unit 16 – and well, that was how it was supposed to be, submitted and then forgotten when my family and I moved away! But no, these things have a way of going on…and on…and on…

We moved out into a very delightful house not long at all after the submission of the story, but remained in touch with the tenants who had decided to stick it out. (For reference, these tenants were three couples – J&J, the older couple in unit 13 next door; B&W, the couple next door to the Hellions; and D&T, who lived directly above the Hellions.) Not a single one of them is living in that building any more (!) – the noise is getting so bad even the tenants in the next building over are beginning to hear it now, the Hellions have managed to do things to the window blinds on both sides of their apartment that make it look like a group of very bored wallabies decided to go to town after being locked up in solitary confinement for a week…and the landlady condones this behavior!

No, I didn’t mistype that. She really, genuinely approves of what they’re doing to the place, I can only assume it’s because they are satisfying her unending greed! I will call her…oh, let’s see, Lease-a.

– Older couple J&J were the first to move out, after the noise, the stress and the Hellions’ refusal to keep the hallway up to disability codes (not to mention FIRE codes!) resulted in J the husband’s health problems becoming much, much worse in a very, very short period of time. His doctor gave him an ultimatum: move out or face a very extended hospital stay which he would not be coming home from. J&J understandably opted for the former, quietly and politely expressing their displeasure with the Hellions to Lease-a when they left. She informed them they were just too old to handle living in the same apartment complex as younger people! Thankfully, they were at the end of their lease…

– B&W moved out not even a day and a half later – living directly next to the Hellions had caused B, who was pregnant, enough stress that she suffered severe complications and nearly lost her child. W, a few days before, had given both the Hellions and Lease-a decently sized pieces of his mind for putting B at such risk, and told Lease-a they would both be leaving as soon as they found a new place. The Hellions responded by ramping up the noise and destruction. Lease-a did not do a single thing, because B&W were breaking their twelve-month lease early in order to get out of there.

– And last of all, D&T beat feet out of the building as well when the Hellions caused mentally unstable D to suffer a complete and total nervous breakdown that resulted in her being temporarily hospitalized for her own safety. T quite smartly decided it would be much, much safer for the two of them to live elsewhere, made plans while D was incapacitated, and moved them both immediately out when she was well again. Lease-a didn’t care – they broke a twelve-month lease, just like B&W!

People have since tried to move into the building, and this is where Lease-a’s modus operandi has become much, much more apparent (though the particularly astute may already have spotted it by now.) You see, there are two leases that you can commit to for Lease-a’s complex – a fairly average-priced, year-long lease, or a much more expensive month-by-month lease. Most people, quite understandably, choose the year-long one – only to then be terrorized by the Hellions, and when they simply can’t handle it any more and are forced to move out, they’re also forced to break that lease, which means paying a horrendously high “forfeit” fee due to severing the contract early. Either way, thanks to the Hellions’ antics, Lease-a is getting much more money, and as such, she allows the Hellions to do as they will. It seems the money she’s raking in from all those broken or more expensive leases is more than enough to make up for the destruction they’re causing to the building!

All I can think is, I’m very glad we got out of there when we did…and without needing to break our lease.

Unfortunately I’ve just realized I omitted one important detail – B&W had in fact tried to move out beforehand (as stated in the initial submission) – however extenuating circumstances to do with W’s job forced them to move back into the apartment before they could sever the lease, putting them in position for story 2. 0216-12

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Kry March 1, 2012 at 6:05 am

That is just unbelievable! The land lady Aproves of this?!
Do you have a tennants advocate orginization in the area? Or even taking the matter to civil court? Most rental contracts have a clause about noise levels and minimum standards alowable.
You and your fellow escapees may have a case if this is an on going issue.

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Bint March 1, 2012 at 7:15 am

Is there no such thing as a noise abatement order in your country? Private tenants can still be had up in court for this kind of disruption in the UK, and frequently are. I’ve called the police out several times in the past for exactly this and they squashed it. It seems ridiculous that all they need is the landlady’s approval to keep this up.

One of these days, someone even rougher or nastier than the Hellions will move in. This isn’t going to end well.

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MellowedOne March 1, 2012 at 8:10 am

What a horrible situation to deal with! I’d like to offer a suggestion that may prove to be very worthwhile for you to take.

If I’m not mistaken (you’ll have to do your internet research), there is a thing apartment residents have called, ‘right to quiet enjoyment’. If your landlord fails to provide it you can break lease without penalty. And if you already have paid, you can sue for what was paid.

I highly suggest you check this out and pass it along. One thing that helps with these type cases are corrobating statements from other residents..which would be easy for all of you to get :)

Hope this helps!

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Jenny March 1, 2012 at 8:11 am

There is actually a legal remedy if other tenants are interfering with your ability to live in your apartment and the landlord is informed and refuses action. You can actually recover some of the rent.

But moving out? Probably the smartest. These legal battles drag on forever plus the possibility of retaliation as some states/laws you can only sue for that if you are still there.

If this ever happens again, talk to a lawyer. A letter on stationery alone explaining the law to your landlord might be enough to make her take the law seriously.

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Dorothy Bruce March 1, 2012 at 8:24 am

Regarding the couple who had to break their lease because of the landlord’s refusal to deal with the Hellions, they can probably sue the landlord to get their security deposit back because there was a reason to break the lease. If you and the other couples testify to the Hellion’s behavior and all your attempt to get the Greedy Landlord to deal with it, I think they’ll win.

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Angela March 1, 2012 at 8:26 am

I had a little trouble believing this until you got to the end. Seems like there would be a way to flag this for would-be future tenants but I’m not sure how.

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Alisa March 1, 2012 at 8:54 am

Is this in the US? If so, a tenant-landlord attorney should be consulted. Leases, like any contracts, can be broken legally. Not evicting the hellions can be legal cause to break a lease. If living conditions are unbearable a tenent shouldn’t be expected to remain bound by the contract. Think of legal actions against slum lords.
At the very least there should be no penalty for early termination. And if the conditions were provably the cause for the subsequent health issues it just might be actionable. In other words, a landlord who allows unhealthy living conditions to go uncorrected may be financially responsible for the costs of any hospital visits.
Of course this all depends on legislation in your city/county/state/country.

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Lizza March 1, 2012 at 9:22 am

I would definitely tell the other couples, who were forced to break their leases early, to consult with a tenant advocacy group and see if there is a way they can get some of their money back. Having to leave due to health reason brought on by conditions of the building (caused by the neighbors!) seems like something that would be an acceptable reason to break your lease. A lot of advocacy groups will offer free or highly discounted legal help.

Also, if it’s possible, I’d recommend you and your friends leave reviews about Lease-a and the living conditions in the building anywhere and everywhere you can – maybe it will encourage others to do the same, and hopefully that will result in her forcing the Hellions to change or leave.

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Melissa March 1, 2012 at 9:50 am

I think it’s pretty ridiculous that none of those people thought to lawfully challenge the lease. It seems like a no-brainer that they could get out of it easily.

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Xtina March 1, 2012 at 10:35 am

After reading all the comments about ways to legally break the contract due to the conditions at the apartment building, I am going to guess that these laws must be pretty little-known, or more people would use them (and landlords like Lease-A would be scared of the repercussions of allowing the Hellions to continue on). As others have said, I would encourage the OP to pass this information along to the former neighbors who had to break their leases–it is the most important step that they are out of that horrible place, but it would serve Lease-A right, and prevent future tenants from facing the same problems, if they jointly brought it to court. With all the corroborating stories, I think it would be an easy win.

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elizabeth March 1, 2012 at 10:37 am

all of you should go onto apartmentratings.com (and anywhere else you can find) and rate this apartment complex and tell the awful stories. That may be the best way to warn potential renters of the craziness.

ANd, anyone still there, or if you encounter a future situation, if the landlord wasn’t doing anything, I’d just start calling the police everytime there was an issue (especially the fire code/disability stuff).

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amylouky March 1, 2012 at 10:40 am

This sounds like a plot straight out of the movie Duplex.. anyone remember that one? Where the “sweet old lady” upstairs terrorizes the tenants so they’ll resell their duplex at a loss.. over and over and over..

I agree with previous comments, see if there is a landlord/tenant association in the town. We had problems with a previous landlord who tried to enforce the “broken lease” clause after our apartment was flooded with TWO FEET of water during a storm.

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Wink-n-Smile March 1, 2012 at 10:42 am

Alisa – ooooh, sue them for the health costs, yeah!

This Lease-a is unbelievable.

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GroceryGirl March 1, 2012 at 11:01 am

Lease-a is out of her mind. What sort of landlady would prefer to have people constantly moving in-and-out in hopes of getting forfeit fees? Wouldn’t it be much more lucrative to have a building full of permanent, reliable tenants?

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Enna March 1, 2012 at 11:01 am

I was going to say a simillar thing to Bint – in the UK the family could get an ASBO Anti-Social Behaviour Order – the police/council can enter the property and confiscate the offending noisy equipment if they keep up. Is there anyway that the Landlady can be reported to the coucnil or local govemernment department who deals with housing? Landlords/landladies have a resposnsibality to make sure that their accomadtion is safe: even if she didn’t own the entire building only the flat where the Hellions live she would be responsible for not acting on complaints. In fact if there are other landlords/home owners in the flat and they made complaints she would have to do something – another landlord may decided to sue her if he/she is loosing business and she refuses to do anything about her tenants like 1) warn them 2) mediate and 3) evict them.

Also I’m going to parahrase from Judge Judy – there was one case she ruled over. A lodger had left her place of accomadation after staying there for a breif period becauce the owner who also lived there got arrested by police for a drug offence. When the ex-lodger had explained her reason for living so suddenely Judge Judy said “Smart!” She told the owner that the lodger may have broken the agreement they had but as there were serious circumstances it put a different light on things. So providing there are serious circumstances for a teannacy agreement to be broken – like the ones here, due to health then it is different.

That complex of flats will get a name for itself, and sooner or later the landlady will find it hard to get new tennants or at the least tennants who are hellish tennants, ones who will cost her money in damaged properties and unpaid rent.

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Denise Miller March 1, 2012 at 11:01 am

Depending on what state you live in, there are many ways to break a lease without being penalized for them. Some states (such as California) are incredibly tenant friendly, and the ways to break your lease are too numerous to count.

I would strongly advise contacting either your housing authority, an attorney or your state attorney general’s office to see who handles these situations in your county and recoup any expenses you suffered by unlivable conditions provided.

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LonelyHound March 1, 2012 at 11:05 am

I agree with all the comments here. You and the other tenants do have legal recourse especially since it seems the reason all of you moved was due solely to the Hellions! I had a similar situation before my husband and I moved out of our apartment. A middle aged gentleman moved into the apartment directly above us about a week before we were due to close on a house and move out. Everything seemed fine after he moved in on a Saturday (the days are important). At the time I had off on Mondays so the following Monday I was home with our dog watching a movie. All of the sudden stomping occurs. I think no, biggie and turn the tv down. I have a hearing problem so sometimes the tv is louder than I think it is, but the stomping continues. Finally, the new tenant comes down and chews me out for disturbing his peace and quiet. Since, I do not want to be impolite I turn the tv so far down now I cannot hear it. The stomping still continues. I turn the tv off and leave. That night Mr. Upstairs starts a blender/drill/vacuum at 2am!! He does this for an hour! Now, I can understand some people have a tit for tat mentality but he was punishing the nieghbors next door and ajacent to him! We are afraid to make any noise at all any more but we still must have been offending Mr. Upstairs because we come out that Friday to my husband’s care to find that the badge had been scraped off and there are gouges in the paint. I know some kids like to steal car badges but we trolled the compound and the “it” cars (BMW, Mercedes, etc.) still had all of their badges. We knew it had to have been Mr. Upstairs. He knows what car my husband drives having seen us get into the car plenty of times. We are mad but do nothing. That night we are watching a movie. I will admit it was an action movie so has loud parts, but we tried to keep the volume low. Mr. Upstairs waits until the end of the movie to come complain to us. Frustrated we go to our downstairs neighbor who says yeah, we can be a little loud but are never loud late at night or during the day (he is a swing shift worker); and he feels we have been nice to him because we have never complained about his guitar playing when he gets home at 1 am. The next day we are moving so we go to the leasing office. While there we complain about Mr. Upstairs. The agent sighs and tells us we are the 6th complaint and he has only lived there one week! We tell he about the car to which she tells us to call the police. She also informs us that Mr. Upstairs will be fined $2000. She said that, yes, he has a right to quiet but we also have a right to live and that does make some noise; but since we had never been complained about obviously it does not make as much noise as he thinks (oh, I have to mention here that we had a puppy who would whimper when we were gone before Mr. Upstairs moved in…we broke her of that but it was not enough for people to complain). We called the police about the car. They said there was no proof so they could do nothing but he would “help” us. He knocked on Mr. Upstairs’ door, made sure it was louod enough so Mr. Upstairs could hear it if he knocked on other doors, informed him of the theft and then came back down the stairs. Mr.Upstairs was quiet for at least the next two days. After which we were gone.

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Virg March 1, 2012 at 11:58 am

Since all of the players have moved out and direct retaliation is no longer an issue, I’d be making weekly anonymous calls to the fire marshal about access issues. If she doesn’t deal with those issues at least, after a number of fines they’ll condemn the property. I guess I’ve never understood why people will tolerate stuff like this with obvious legal recourse instead of dropping a dime to the authorities, who will fix the issue by depleting Lease-a’s bank account.

Virg

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Ashley March 1, 2012 at 12:17 pm

If people in the next building over can hear it, isn’t there some sort of noise violation involved, that could get the police to shut these people up?

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lkb March 1, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Just wanted to point out that while yes, in the US at least, tenants should probably consult an attorney about such messes. However, keep in mind that (as another poster pointed out), the legal process can be long and drawn out. It can also be rather expensive and scary to find a qualified lawyer. In a perfect world, it’d be easy to go to an attorney. In a perfect world, though, landlords and tenants would get along. Sigh.

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Ellen CA March 1, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Oh, come on…! I believed the details in the OP’s first submission, but this stretches credibility. Living next to this family is so tumultous that it almost killed a man, caused a woman to almost lose her pregnancy and caused a third tenant to have a serious psychotic episode. Maybe I’m more cynical than most, but this was just too much to accept.

As many have pointed out there are legal remedies, and the fact that the tenants blindly ignored them and suffered the consequences makes the story just too far-fetched to be accurate.

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ferretrick March 1, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Just have to comment on the Judge Judy reference-Judge Judy, and any of those other TV judges, may be or have been at one time actual judges, I’m not sure. But they are not acting as judges when they do those shows. The cases they hear on TV are actually sessions of binding arbitration that the plaintiff and defendant have agreed to enter into rather than going to court. They’ve signed contracts to that effect, and to abide by Judge Judy’s decision. But it is not really a court or legal proceeding. Not saying those shows are bad, but understand that nothing that happens on them is necessarily what would happen in an actual court.

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EditorBee March 1, 2012 at 3:50 pm

A number of people have expressed surprise that the tenants did not look into ways they could legally break their leases early. Finding that sort of info can be a long and somewhat difficult process, and it seems like these people needed to get out of the situation FAST due to medical issues. I had a landlord give myself and my roommates the runaround, and it took us ages to figure out exactly what our rights were regarding the lease, and that was with at least three of us looking into it. Plus, those laws vary from state to state, and while some states are very tenant friendly, others, sadly, are not.

I am surprised that the police can’t do anything about the noise, though. Perhaps this is a rather high-crime area and the police just don’t have the time or resources to deal with disturbances.

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Doris March 1, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Ellen CA – Constant noise is a recognized stress factor. The U.S. used it to drive Noriega to surrender. Also, many factions use it as a torture technique. J had existing health problems which were worsened by being stressed. That can happen with heart, respiratory, or circulatory problems and also with diabetes, epilepsy, migraines . . . a long list of possibilities. B was pregnant, which adds to the work done by almost every system in the body. Factor in increased heart beat & elevated blood pressure from the stress and the pregnancy could definitely be in trouble. D had a history of problems and was trying to cope with a situation which could drive even the most mentally healthy person to crack. By my estimate, the apartment building had at least 3 floors with at least 3 apartments on each floor. Why is it so unbelievable that 4 out of at least 9 apartments would have these experiences?

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Ashley 2 March 1, 2012 at 5:31 pm

@Ellen CA Lol I have a hard time believing this as well. Like others have pointed out though, the legal remedies to the OP’s situation are probably very unheard of, but of course that doesn’t mean they can’t consulte a lawyer lol.

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Marion the Librarian March 1, 2012 at 5:31 pm

First, to the OP – I’m so sorry you had to deal with those Hellions for as long as you did, and I’m glad to hear that you are out and in a better situation.

To Ellen CA – I fully believe the OP’s story, having lived with several Hellions of my own over the past six years. After living in our apartment for about a year, we got a new downstairs neighbor. Actually, it started out as neighbors, a couple, but she eventually moved out. And thank goodness for that, because their fights were absolutely epic – doors being slammed so hard that things would fall off of our shelves, screaming matches that lasted all night, etc. Plus, she wasn’t exactly Stable Mable – she actually ran up the stairs in nothing but a towel, her hair soaking wet, and pounded on our door, all to scream at me for running the vacuum cleaner. At noon on a Saturday.

The gentleman (I use that term very loosely, believe me) remained after she left, and he was one of the most inconsiderate people I’ve ever encountered in my life. He played ear-thumpingly loud hip-hop and rap music at all hours – so loud that we had a few things fall off of shelves and actually *break*. When I would go downstairs, broken item in hand, and knock on his door, he would either (a) ignore it, or (b) answer the door, obviously high as a kite, and just shrug it off. He would give me the most insincere, sarcastic “sorry” I’ve ever heard, and turn the music down for about five minutes, and then it was back at it. I called the cops on them/him *at least* a dozen times.

We eventually moved up one flight, and he eventually got evicted (finally – our landlords were for some reason terrified to start the eviction process with him whenever we made legitimate complaints) for threatening to physically assault the girls who moved in to our old apartment, and pounding on their door so hard that he popped the top hinge.

Things were pretty okay for a while after that – nice and quiet, anyway. Unfortunately, we’ve since had neighbors move in below us that chain smoke like you wouldn’t believe (our lease was a non-smoking lease, but apparently the landlords did away with that for new lessees), so that our apartment in the winter smells like an ashtray, and all of my clothes smell like smoke. They also get into lots of door-slamming fights with each other, and I’ve had to call the cops numerous times. We are saving up for a house, and on a tight enough budget that moving again isn’t really feasible. It’s a pretty big bummer.

All that (that got long, sorry!) to say: it is entirely possible for the place that you live to cause you such stress that it affects your health and well-being. I have a lot of anxiety thanks to our living conditions right now, not to mention what the smoke exposure is probably doing to our health.

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Sugaryfun March 1, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Ugh! OP I feel for you and your poor neighbours (not the Hellions!). Having moved house eight times in the past decade I’ve had more than my share of awful neighbours too, but it must be so much worse when the landlady doesn’t even care!
@Ellen CA I don’t think it remotely stretches credibility. I have seen some very similar things happen. I don’t know if our neighbours from Hell are still there as we moved out as soon as we could along with almost everyone else in our building (one woman owned her flat and was stuck there until she could sell).

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Etiquette Minded Mama March 1, 2012 at 8:04 pm

When I read the first part of this I admit that I wondered why it was featured on this site. The issues described in the first and now in the second installment of this nightmare are horrible- but they go far, far beyond etiquette. It is poor etiquette to be loud in an apartment complex late at night or to leave your personal belongings in the common spaces. What these people did and what Lease-a did is flat out illegal.

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ArtK March 1, 2012 at 10:08 pm
Candra March 1, 2012 at 11:00 pm

This reminds me of that movie, “Duplex”….

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Anon for this one March 2, 2012 at 9:57 am

I agree with Ellen CA. Those people may have had those health problems regardless of who their neighbors were. This story does stretch the limits of what I am able to believe. It is also hard to believe that not even one tenant sought legal recourse in all those years.

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Mabel March 3, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Ellen CA and Anon for this one: Maybe they did have preexisting health problems, but ongoing stress of that nature can have a serious negative effect on someone with health issues. I’ve lived next to some pretty rowdy (and dirty) people. This doesn’t surprise me ONE BIT.

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Merry Mrs March 3, 2012 at 4:38 pm

I highly doubt the landlord is allowing a nuisance tenant stay because they are driving out other tenants to collect early terminations fees. Even if none of the tenant actually do use it , there is legal recourse available to them. ” They will leave pay the fee and not sue me ” is a mind blowing risk to take. Also these are new buildings , a tenant can do damage that would cost more the original construction price to repair. A really bad tenant can do $20,000 -50,000 in damage fairly easily. One leak can cost $5,000 to put right , carpet , sub-flooring , replace rotted insulation and soundproofing material, new paint and drywall. A landlord will not watch their investment be destroyed to collect a few thousand dollars in fees. If true it’s more likely that they were not successful(yet) in evicting them or they are related to the building manger(not owner) and he/she won’t evict their sibling etc. Why did no one call the police?

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Merriweather March 3, 2012 at 7:25 pm

To those who find the story hard to believe – you have either been very fortunate in your lives, have not moved much, or never lived in an apartment. I”ve spent my life moving (in childhood due to a Dad who likced to move about, and would follow a chance at a better job in another area at the drop of a hat, then later as a military wife moving every couple of years to a new posting with my husband). I’ve seen examples similar to those stated by OP, and worse. Some people simply have an attitude that they should be allowed to do whatever they want, no matter how it affects others living nearby, including things such as drums at midnight, yet also believe that when they desire absolute quiet they should have it, even to the point of expecting no one nearby to talk above a whisper on a weekend afternoon should they desire it. And many of those also take pleasure in “payback”, taking it to ridiculous levels. It’s a lot more common than anyone who has not lived in many places, including apartments, would tend to believe.

Also, landlords from hell are also very common. My worst landlord was one who refused to fix anything, even things he’d agreed to before we moved in, who suddenly decided to sell the house and would let real estate agents have keys to show it at any time, even when we requested (legally) it not be shown when we weren’t there, who when we found another place to move to told us we could simply not pay the last month’s rent in lieu of him returning the equal amount of security deposit, then when we did not pay the rent that last month, called us telling us if we did not pay the rent to him by the end of that day, he would be calling my husband’s commanding officer to complain (a man known to want good relations between base & civilians so badly, that any complaint from the community resulted in him telling the person under his command that they would have disciplinary action taken if they did not comply, even if the service member was in the right) – oh, and the landlord called to tell us this when he knew we were out of state attending my father’s funeral! He honestly wanted us to skip the funeral, leave my mother, and get back in our car and drive straight home. We did pay him as soon as we returned a few days later, my husband barely escaped with his military record not blemished, and we never did get the deposit back (when we told the landlord we’d take him to small claims court, he just laughed and said “good luck, get in line behind everyone else”.

And as for those stating they can’t believe the tenants would not take legal action, or blaming them for not doing so – there are many reasons for a person to not do so. Unthought of things such as the above, where we could not have taken action against a local without career repercussions (not saying that’s a common situation, just pointing out threre are reasons the average person may not even think of). Also, there are many areas not very tenant friendly, where info on who to go to and what to do is hard to find, and often results in a run-around from agency to agency. Many agencies don’t want to get involved in he-said, she-said problems they consider non-life threatening, and just try to stay out of it. And, in almost all cases, proof would be on the person enduring the problems, and that proof is not as easy to get as you might think – amazing how quiet and friendly a tenant can become when thre’s a visit from an agency. Not to mention, often the problem tenant will have a counter-story all prepared to attempt to turn the blame onto the wronged tenant, and who’s believed can depend on who can tell the calmest best story, which may not be the tenant with the frayed nerves who has been putting up with torment. And of course, many actions can turn out to be costly, and not everyone has the money to do so, even if they might recoup it eventually. And when a person has endured things such as in the OP’s story, for months on end, they just don’t always have the stamina left for a legal battle. While some might relish charging in to be sure the tenant from hell gets their just deserts, many simply want the problem solved with the least hassle. Especially when a person’s health has been affected (and yes, lack of sleep from noise, constant confrontations, simply lack of any peaceful existence, can have a profound affect on one’s emotional or physical health), they know trying to fight it out going from agency to agency, or in a court battle, is only going to add more stress. And of course, often those solutions can only be taken if they are still living there, enduring not only the original problems, but also much escalated problems designed to get them to drop the legal actions. So while it would be best if everyone in that situation took legal action, it’s perfectly understandable that someone would choose moving out and losing money, in order to end the stress, especially with health issues, rather than to stay there, endure possibly even worse, while things drag out through agencies or the courts, being blamed themselves, being called liars, and watching their family get more stressed, and possibly deterioration of health.

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Asharah March 5, 2012 at 1:39 pm

@Merry Mrs, you are making an assumption that a person cannot be so greedy and shortsighted as to act as OP claims the lanlady did. After reading this website for so long, I have no trouble, tragically, believing there are people like that in this world.

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PugLover March 5, 2012 at 5:04 pm

If this story takes place in the U.S., it most certainly IS possible to have a landlord behave this way. I’m an attorney and I see issues like OP’s frequently. Many landlords take blatant advantage of the fact that their tenants are not aware of their rights as renters. Instead, they rely on the fact and hope that many folks will choose to forfeit security deposits instead of dealing with the issue in court.

Sounds to me like “lease-a” is in serious need of being hauled into court to answer to this. Yes, the hellions have a right to live there…. But so do the other renters in the building. Their “right” should not come at the expense of your right to enjoy your space.

I believe most states have pro-bono legal services that help people deal with these such issues. Knowledge is power! Know your rights!

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Genevieve March 13, 2012 at 7:20 pm

There is definitely legal course. I was able to break lease early once without penalty because my neighbors were screaming vulgar things through the wall at me late late at night. I notified the building manager every time it happened, when that didn’t work I started calling the police. Then I wrote the owner of the complex a registered letter documenting my attempts to take care of the manner with both the manager and the police and asked them to interfere on my behalf with the neighbor boys as by that point the harassment had escalated.

I didn’t have a response, when I broke lease and moved out, they tried to hold me responsible for the remainder of the lease and I provided documentation (including the certified letter receipt) of the actions I’d taken over the prior months and a copy of the law that said I had the right to live in a secure and safe environment and they backed off without me needing to take them to small claims court or anything.

I’d suggest to anyone in this situation – write lots of letters, send them certified, and keep copies of everything.

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A.H. March 14, 2012 at 7:51 pm

OP here – I’m so sorry for not replying sooner.

For those denouncing thisas some sort of delusional story: I’m well aware how hard it is to believe – I hardly believe it, and I was a part of it myself! – but it’s unfortunately all too true. J-the-husband wasn’t well even before the Hellions (he’s just been recently diagnosed with a very awful illness that has ravaged both his body and mind – thankfully, he IS likely to recover); B had a high-risk pregnancy to begin with (to be fair, it was partially her fault, she kept inserting herself into stressful situations and then whining when she couldn’t back out); and as I struggle from a much less severe form of D’s main mental illness, I can personally confirm it’s not at all unreasonable to potentially end up in a psych ward for a few days from it. We were an extremely ragtag group of tenants; I can only assume that’s why we all stuck together!

As for Lease-a and her cheating ways: it’s exactly as several people have already said, none of us knew that we had any rights whatsoever when it came to this situation. However, karma may finally be coming back around to bite her in the derriere – the most recent occupant of our old apartment was a lawyer, and he certainly didn’t appreciate the Hellions’ behavior! Last I heard (now that all the old tenants are gone, we don’t get the juicy gossip any more, heh!) was that he was definitely going to try his hardest to take Lease-a to court, and possibly the Hellions if he could find a reason to do so. So…it’s a happy ending, after all. :)

I understand this isn’t purely an etiquette matter, but honestly, it felt very good to get this all off of my chest. And well, the etiquette (or, erm, lack thereof) featured here was pretty darn tacky…

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erica September 10, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Someone may want to point out to Lease-a that yes, she can collect rent on a lease until the end of the agreement whether or not the people actually live there…legally.

HOWEVER, if they can show that she was able to lease their apartment …they are not required to fulfill the lease agreement. It only stands if it remains EMPTY.

Hence, no double dipping!!
Maybe if someone told her this…perhaps some of the people forced out…armed with photos of the new tennents comings and goings, maybe …a photo of a piece of mail…postmarked with a date and the new tennents name that ‘fell’ out of the mailbox…. she would let them out of the lease without legal action.
I did this when an apartment I had to move from tried to force me to pay the remainder of my lease.

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