I live in an big condo complex. The next door neighbor has a friend living in her place for free while she is abroad for work for like a year or so. This woman is a nightmare. She bothers us and complains about everything and threatens to sue us. I wrote to our neighbor but he wont tell her to stop bothering us. I wrote to the building manager and they said they tried talking to the other person but there is nothing more they can do. My wife and I live there with our two dogs. This woman complains we watch tv loudly. I told her she can't sue us because she doesn't pay rent or own and if she's bothered to leave. I am so annoyed. Can she sue us? I thought an equitable right to quiet enjoyment applies to those who pay rent or own. Can she sue us for bothering her when she lives there for free?
Real Estate Attorney
She can sue you. You may want to invest in headphones if you can't hear the tv. Paying monitary rent has nothing to do with her rights. She is a subtenant of the owner and her "rent" is her services for watching the place.
Actively practicing law in Texas. Inactive licenses in Arizona and Georgia. All answers are general in nature and no attorney/client relationship exists in this forum.
Family Law Attorney
I agree with Atty. Smith that this woman is a lawful tenant of the owner next door. Quiet enjoyment usually comes up in the context of landlord-tenant law, not condo law. You folks are owners of legally separate pieces of real estate, not tenants under one landlord who can't control one tenant. Your condo has rules and regs. If she is violating any of them, the board should enforce them. Otherwise, like other owners of real estate, you may have claims of nuisance over which you can seek an injunction or perhaps a harassment restraining order, although I don't think this raises to that level. Unlike other real estate owners who live in single family homes with at least some physical separation, you owners are all living on top of each other and so there has to be an expectation of some noise and some give and take to all co-exist. We have all had jerks for neighbors but you can't legislate against jerks. If her actions rise to level of a condo rules violation, nuisance or harassment, then you have remedies.
To questioners from West Virginia & New York: Although I am licensed to practice in your state (in WV, on inactive status as of 9/13), I practice on a day-to-day basis in Massachusetts. I answer questions in your state in areas of the law in which I practice, and in which I feel comfortable trying to offer you assistance based on my knowledge of specific statutes in your state and/or general principles applicable in all states. It is always best, however, to work with attorneys and court personnel in your own area to deal with specific problems and factual situations.
Payment is not required for standing. She could sue you for Nuisance the Interference with the Right to Quiet Enjoyment. But she will have to prove her case. Anyone can sue anyone. Winning is another story. She will have to convince a judge with evidence that what you are doing would deprive a reasonable person from the enjoyment of their living space--a reasonable person standard is used; people's sensitivities are not taken into account.
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