What can be done about neighbors who are harassing you and may turn violent?

I have lived at my current residence for 1 year now. It is 2 neighboring homes rented to college students. The other 2 tenants in my house are veterans still currently serving in Army Reserves, along with myself being honorably discharged from active duty after 5 years of service. Multiple tenants have been harassed and threatened verbally by the neighbors across the street, that I know for certain, for the last 9 months. Trying to reason and talk to them, even calling the police, has not produced a solution. What actions do we need take before it escalates to a physical altercation?

Asked on August 1, 2014 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If the neighbors who are harassing you are tenants of the same landlord which you are a tenant of, you may have grounds to terminate you lease without penalty and move out, unless the landlord stops the harassment or evicts those persons; that is because a landlord has an obligation to provide you, as a tenant, with "quiet enjoyment," or the right to use your rental unit with unreasonable interference or harassment.

However, a landlord's obligation is limited to the acts of his/her tenants, and the landlord is not liable for the acts of third parties not under his/her control; therefore, you would not have the option of terminating your lease and moving out if these are not tenants of your landlord.

If the police have not been helpful, try escalating within the police department--i.e. going to higher-level officers--or even going to local politicians and seeing if they can get the authorities to help. You could also try to apply for some sort of restraining or protective orders. Unfortunately, apart from that, there isn't much you can do to prevent others from harassing you.


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