Does the rightof quiet enjoyment take precedencee over a disabled neighbor’s rights?

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Does the rightof quiet enjoyment take precedencee over a disabled neighbor’s rights?

My wife and I have lived in a duplex for over 22 years now. Approximately 6 years ago, a manager (long since gone) moved in a single girl with an autistic child. The first few years, he was too small to make much noise, but now the banging he makes is incredible. He is up all night and bangs continuously so we cannot sleep. Do his rights under the disabilities act override our rights of “quiet enjoyment”? We have contacted the landlord but they say that they can’t do anything. According to them, the only right we have is the right to move.

Asked on December 6, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There is no simple or clear answer. While the disabled and their care givers have considerable rights in regards to housing, they do not have a blank check to infringe on other people's rights. Depending on the circumstances and what can reasonably be done, it may be necessary for the girl's mother to take away whatever she is banging on or restrict her ability to bang; or for the landlord to make some accomodation, such as to put in much better soundproofing; or it might possibly be the case that you do have to move, but may at the least will have grounds to terminate the lease without penalty and possibly even receive some monetary compensation for being "constructively evicted" as well. You should speak with an attorney, who can evaluate all the specifics of your situation, and help you determine what recourse is possible.


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