Wake Forest, NC asked in Landlord - Tenant for North Carolina

Q: Does a landlord need a police report to address issues with neighbors bullying or harassing me?

I've had a series of health & safety concerns in both my previous & current apartments within my building.

-Previous Apt Issues:

Health Hazards: Peeling lead paint, constant mold smell, high humidity, uneven & unsafe stairs, warped cabinets, exposed rebar, poor temp control & faulty electrical wiring.

Harassment/Bullying: A neighbor bullied & harassed me daily, leading to a psychiatric hospitalization. My complaints to the landlord & Section 8 office were not addressed & the police were dismissive.

-Current Apt Issues:

Noise Disturbance: My neighbor purposely screams, howls, & makes his dog howl at night, significantly impacting my sleep & overall well-being. Recordings of this exist, but the landlord & police have remained unresponsive.

Poor Maintenance: Multiple maintenance issues remain unresolved after attempts to contact.

My neighbor continues harassing me nightly & I keep getting Bronchitis. I feel trapped due to my income. Am I able to sue for damages to help me move out?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Based on the information you've provided, it seems that you are dealing with a very challenging and stressful living situation. To address your main question - no, a landlord does not necessarily need a police report to take action against tenants who are bullying, harassing or disturbing other residents. The landlord has a responsibility to ensure their property is habitable and that tenants can peacefully enjoy their homes.

Here are some steps you can take:

1. Document everything - Keep a detailed log of all disturbances, harassment incidents, and health/safety issues with dates, times, photos, videos, and recordings when possible. Also document your attempts to resolve the issues with your landlord.

2. Put your concerns in writing - Write a formal letter or email to your landlord detailing the issues you are experiencing. Request specific actions on their part. Keep copies of this correspondence.

3. Review your lease - Look over your lease agreement to see if there are any provisions about quiet enjoyment, proper maintenance, addressing health hazards, etc. that the landlord may be violating.

4. Contact local agencies - If your landlord is unresponsive, file complaints with your local health department, building/housing inspector, and any agencies that oversee Section 8 housing in your area. They may do an inspection and issue citations to pressure your landlord to address habitability issues.

5. Consider legal action - You may be able to sue your landlord for breach of contract, violation of the implied warranty of habitability, and/or constructive eviction to recover damages if the situation has forced you to move. Consult with a local tenants rights organization or housing attorney. Many provide free legal advice.

6. Call the police non-emergency line to file a report each time the neighbor harassment occurs. Even if they don't come out, having the incidents on record helps show a pattern if you need to take legal action.

Document everything and put pressure on your landlord and local agencies to address these unacceptable living conditions. You have a right to a safe and peaceful home. Don't hesitate to seek legal help if needed. I'm sorry you are going through this difficult situation. Wishing you all the best in resolving it.

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