Q: Can I break my lease or sue my neighbor for continued harassment?
I am 1 of 3 people living in a duplex and I am having ongoing issues with my neighbor on the first floor about the driveway. I'm the only one who lives here who owns a car. However, for 7 years my neighbor has allowed her visitors to use the driveway when they come over. So far I have been threatened with a crowbar and blocked into the driveway because her family bullies me for not sharing the driveway. The way this house is designed does not allow me to move my car up to share the space, that's why parking isn't guaranteed on my lease. If I pull up too far, I block access to the backyard, which is also access to 2 tenant's units. If I keep my car near the end, I get harassed for not sharing it with guests. The landlord has already drafted a letter stating no guests are to park in the driveway, however my neighbor keeps giving me trouble about it. Police can't help me and my landlord doesn't get involved in tenant disputes.
A: Landlord is not going to solve your problem with the neighbors. And your landlord does not have to allow you to terminate your lease early. But you can talk to the landlord about an early termination, and try to work it out -- maybe offer landlord an extra month's rent. Nothing makes you stay there if you want to leave. But if you do leave, landlord can then sue you for unpaid rent until able to re-rent the premises. If you leave, landlord also could file an eviction to officially terminate your lease rights. An eviction is a permanent court record that can make it difficult for you to rent from a landlord who checks the records. That really is not a problem that the legal system can fix. Neighbor problems can be difficult to resolve, and can get a lot worse if you take legal action. Your vehicle could be vandalized, and you would have no way to prove who did it. Things could escalate from there. Use the Find a Lawyer tab to retain a local attorney to review possible options, including negotiating an early termination with your landlord so you can move -- as the police already suggested.
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