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|08-16-2015, 11:20 AM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2015
My rights and obligations in lease breaking for bad neighbors
My question concerns the state of West Virginia.
I have rented an apartment in an 8 building unit which has the apartments on the 2nd and 3rd floors above a store on the 1st floor. There is a parking lot behind the building that is part of the property. To try to set the scene for all of this, Behind the parking lot there is a house occupied by several people, this house is to my understanding owned by an elderly woman who has her adult children living with her, there are also several family members occupying homes throughout the block, the house behind our parking lot since I moved from out of state for work about 15 months ago has frequent visitors who congregate on the street and in the parking lot owned by the landlords of my building.
To put it as blunt as I can, the people associated with this house are the kind of people you imagine when you think of the show Jerry Springer. They frequently disturb the peace, get into loud arguments and just in general cause trouble in the neighborhood.
Understandably, none of this is my immediate concern, but I feel it does become my concern when they trespass onto the landlord's property where my vehicle is parked. The property managers who represent the owners are who I deal with, they live about an hour away from the property, and infrequently come around to really see what goes on, however they did let me know that there has been an ongoing property dispute with the neighbors in the house, they are under the impression that they own "1/4th of the parking lot", per the property manager, they have had a sit down meeting and property deeds were compared and was made clear that the neighbors own property about a foot or two into the lot, which effectively only gives them a small pathway to walk alongside their house into their back yard. Yet they continue to use our parking lot, which has in the past resulted in my having nowhere to park in my own building when coming home from work. (Parking permits are given to tenants, and we are instructed to call towing when unauthorized vehicles in the lot are parked in our lot).
I have mentioned to the property manager before about my annoyance with the neighbors acting badly on the street, a few months ago, they had a car in the lot with about 10 people standing around it setting the alarm off in the car several times over a period of 2 hours. I work about 60 hours a week, when I come home, I just want to relax, not listen to a bunch of rednecks bickering loudly outside my window.
To cut to the chase of recently, the other night the neighbors again were having a loud argument in our parking lot, several windows of my apartment overlook the back of the building and the neighbor's house. The argument was I believe between the adult son who lives at the house and a family member who congregates around the house, these people had at least 2 vehicles parked in our lot. And they were arguing next to my vehicle in the lot, I know from last summer when the police arrived they get into fights occasionally, make up, argue some more (they're mostly family as I mentioned). I don't want my vehicle to be dented or damaged while they're screwing around in the lot. About a month ago, I filed an incident report because a soda (or some other kind of sticky/sugary drink) was poured on my car during the night, I have no way of proving who in fact did this, if it was the neighbors or why, I had not had any interaction with them for months.
I shouted out the window the other night that they were trespassing on private property during their argument and they needed to leave or I would contact the police (as instructed and authorized to do by the property manager). The response I got was of course colorful language. I did contact the local police and they were asked to leave.
I emailed my property manager informing them of the situation, his response according to the email was to put up more no trespassing signs. I understand there are limited amounts of recourse here but there seems to have been an escalation. I don't know for sure when this happened, beyond the fact that I am certain it occurred either around the time or in the day following my calling the police. A hole in my screen and kitchen window which is a definite penetration from a pellet gun. Like I said, I wasn't near the window when it happened, I can only say that if it occurred way before these incidents of the last week, I'd have noticed it. I have several indoor cats who reside in the apartment with me, they frequently sit in the windows as cats do. My biggest concern is their safety as well as my own with this incident. I stuck an uncooked piece of spaghetti in the hole in the window, as well as a corresponding hole in the screen which is positioned lower, and while my method may not be Abby Schuto from NCIS accurate, it leads me to reasonably conclude the trajectory of the pellet coming from the backyard of the neighbors.
I filed a police report regarding the window, and sent the property manager a picture of the damage, I have not heard back from him yet. However at this point, I'm feeling it may be time to begin negotiations to break my lease, I'm outnumbered by these people as its not uncommon for 7 or 8 of them to be standing around on their porch at any given time, most of them from what I've also been led to understand already have criminal records. I'm curious what are my obligations in regards to legal reasons to break the lease? Would my safety concerns meet any kind of legal standards in my state? And/or recommended courses of action, or negotiations to remove myself from what I view as an escalating violent situation. I'm not a particularly violent at all, but naturally I have concerns of being confronted when I leave my apartment, and if my cats were in fact to be injured from this kind of behavior, I certainly would have a violent reaction of my own.
Last edited by Renter976; 08-16-2015 at 11:27 AM.