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Can You Sue a Landlord for Bad Tenants?

You finally found the ideal apartment in New York City. You can walk to work, and it is convenient to your favorite places. Best of all, the rent is within your budget.

Now that you have lived in the apartment for a few months, you are not feeling comfortable anymore. The neighbor’s dog has tried to attack you on multiple occasions. Another tenant leaves trash everywhere. You are kept awake at all hours by loud music playing in an apartment above yours. Worst of all, these behaviors and negligence have put you and yours in danger of personal injury.

You have tried to keep quiet, but you just cannot any longer. You have informed your landlord about the situation. He claims he will do something to remedy the situation, but nothing changes. You are exhausted and concerned for your safety in this building complex.

What do the laws say in regard to bad tenants? If your landlord refuses to deal with a bad tenant, can you file a landlord negligence claim? If you are dealing with noisy neighbors, for example, landlord responsibility laws require that the landlord take action if other tenants are complaining. The same goes for garbage, pets, and other concerns that tenants may have, especially when safety is a resulting concern.

New York landlord laws are strict. While landlords have a difficult job in trying to make every tenant happy, they must at least make a good faith effort to resolve any problems you may be having. They must also be able to foresee certain situations. Otherwise, they can be sued and held liable.

What is Foreseeability?

 While landlords are not psychics, they should be able to predict, to some degree, which tenants are likely to cause trouble. That is why so many require references and background checks. If a landlord allows a tenant with a criminal history to rent an apartment, and that person has been caught stealing or assaulting other tenants, then the landlord could be sued because he or she should have known that, given the tenant’s criminal past, a crime could be committed in the future.

Common Areas of Risk

 There are certain factors that can make a person a bad tenant. Pets, garbage, and noise are three common complaints. Pets—dogs in particular—are a common nuisance, especially if they are prone to barking or attacking neighbors. However, landlords generally are not liable for dog attacks unless they knew that the dog was dangerous (it bit someone previously, for example). In order for a landlord to be held responsible for any injuries, they must have had some control over the dog, as well as known in advance that the dog was dangerous.

Excessive littering and noise are considered nuisance behaviors. It is possible for a landlord to be held liable for a tenant’s nuisance behaviors. The tenant must have known about the behavior and taken the appropriate steps to eliminate it. Trash in the hallways, for example, may lead to slips and falls on the property and have the potential for serious injury which may result in a valid landlord negligence claim.

Noise problems can be especially hard to remedy because some tenants are more sensitive to noise than others. Many noise issues happen in the middle of the night, plus it can be difficult to identify the source. Noise complaints are hard to handle in court because “excessive noise” is subjective.

A New York landlord has a duty to prevent nuisance behaviors, particularly if they annoy or cause a dangerous situation that affects other tenants. New York is strict when it comes to landlord law. If they permit tenants to engage in nuisance behaviors, they will be held liable in many cases.

Get Legal Help from a Brooklyn Landlord Negligence Attorney

As a tenant in New York, you have certain rights. You should feel comfortable in your apartment or other rental property. You should not have to deal with noisy neighbors, bad tenants, and risks to your safety as a result of their negligence.

If you are dealing with another tenant’s noise, garbage, or animal issues, you need to discuss these issues with your landlord. If he or she refuses to take action, you should prepare to take legal action. The Law Office of Jeffrey K. Kestenbaum can help. They will help you obtain the evidence needed to show that you are living in a dangerous or uncomfortable situation. Call our Brooklyn office at (718) 237-5586 to schedule a consultation.

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