Who is responsible for theft in a non-secured unit?

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Who is responsible for theft in a non-secured unit?

I am renting a unit of a duplex. The landlord said there would be no problems with the people in the other unit. I came home today to find my unit was broke into and a lot of stuff stolen. It was not broken into from the outside, in fact it was broken into form the neighbors through a broken door separating the 2 units. There was an arrest made. The landlord says he can’t do anything to evict them or to secure my half of the duplex from them due to the fact they have not broken their lease. What legal actions can I take or make my landlord take would be great.

Asked on August 6, 2011 Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, a landlord *can* evict tenants who disturb the peace, engage in disorderly conduct, or damage the landlord's property, so the landlord probably can evict these tenants; you may wish to speak with an attorney with landlord-tenant experience about seeing if you can get the landlord to take action, if he won't voluntarily.

Also, while the landlord is very likely not liable for the theft that just occured--unless he knew they had broken into other tenants' units before, or was somehow assisting them in the theft-now that he *knows* they have stolen from you, you could very likely hold him liable for future damage or losses caused by them while they are residing there, and you can let him know that (Discuss with your attorney first, before taking action).)

Finally, if there tenants commiting crimes at the premises, the landlord may have to put more robust doors, locks, etc. in place.

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

What your landlord has told you in what you have written here is absolutely not the case.  A landlord has a duty to make sure that your unit is secure and a landlord can evict tenants who have broken the law and broken in to other tenant's units.  The doors between the units needs to be closed up and/or secured so that they can not get in.  I think that sheet rocking it up permanently would be a good idea.  But I really think that the landlord has to evict the tenants and if he does not that you should go to court ans ask that you be let out of your lease and find a new place to live.  Good luck.


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