Can a senior citizen tenant be evicted for stealing another tenant’s mail?

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Can a senior citizen tenant be evicted for stealing another tenant’s mail?

We are tenants in a two family house. Downstairs is occupied by a senior citizen (and she might be disabled as well). Over the last couple of months she has been cutting our flowers, bagging the heater pipes, harassing our guests, entering our property and stealing our mail and packages. We had no evidence of this (although the police were called twice so there has been a record of that). The landlord has told does that there was nothing he could do to evict her since she was a senior citizen. We installed a nanny cam and now have her on tape going in our locked mailbox with a knife and taking out letter (she later put them back because they were just junk); we don’t know if she still has all the other stuff (checks, credit cards, my husband SS, packages) that she has stolen. Now that we have evidence of her doing it, we have filed a report at the post office and plan on doing the same at the police station. Can the landlord evict her now? and also, how will this investigation work? will she be notified, therefore have time to get rid of anything of ours she might have in her house?I know its complex. Thanks in advance!

Asked on April 18, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

From what you have written, it is entirely up to the landlord if he or she wishes to evict the senior citizen that is causing problems in the complex that you live in.

The issue that the landlord has is what does the presumed written lease that he has with this tenant state concerning good behavior? The lease needs to be read as to such. Under common law in all states in this country, a landlord can terminate a tenant's lease based upon the tenant's bad behavior. The issue is to what degree is your neighbor's conduct "bad behavior" warranting the termination of her lease.

I suggest that you have a face to face meeting with your landlord to discuss that situation that you are having with your neighbor with her present to try and rectify the problem. If not remedied, then you should ask the landlord to terminate her lease.

The taking of another person's mail without permission is a federal crime. It seems as though your neighbor from what you have written violated federal mail laws.


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