Would a violation of privacyand beingtreated disrespectfully, be considered a violation of a tenant’s civil rights?

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Would a violation of privacyand beingtreated disrespectfully, be considered a violation of a tenant’s civil rights?

I am a Staff Sergeant currently in the Army National Guard; served over 22 years in the US military service. My family and I have been living in Intown Suites in GA for nearly 7 months and have been treated with disrepect and unprofessionalism. We have repeatedly put in complaints with the corporate office and received no response. I currently have a complaint being processed with BBB. Management has repeatedly violated our privacy rights with acts such as (knocking on the door in an unprofessional manner, walking through the room with no respect to whether someone is undressed or not, hangs up the phone in an unprofessional manner after calling the front office, turns the water off without prior notice to guests, disciplines housekeeping staff in front of other guests, and housekeeping has been discussing other guest’s rooms in front of certain guests in an unprofessional manner. I want to know if we have a case and if so, based on what terms?

Asked on February 9, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There is no civil right to generally be treated with courtesy, professionalism, and respect. A landlord (or hotel management) may be rude; may ignore complaints; may knock in "an unprofessional manner"; may hang up; may discipline housekeeping in front of other guests; etc. without giving rise to any cause of action. Similarly, staff may gossip without it giving rise to a cause of action. Coming through a tenant, guests, or residents room without notice when that  person is undressed could potentially give rise to one or another form of civil or criminal liablity (e.g. it could take in elements of stalking or sex crimes [e.g. voyeurism], if it was done knowingly), depending on the exact circumstances, but everything else you mention, while reprehensible, is not a criminal violation and does not give rise to a cause of action.

However, sufficiently bad treatment like some of this--e.g. repeadly or for prolonged periods not providing water--could give you grounds to terminate any lease or contract and leave early. You are probably best off seeking to relocate and also letting the appropriate personnel at your base know to not refer any other business to this insitution.

Note that if you believe the bad treatment is due to your or your family's membership in a protected category--e.g. race, religion, disability, age over  40, etc.--then you may have a discrimination claim.


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