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Tag68's avatar

Landlord responsible for tenant behavior!

Asked by Tag68 (16points) September 24th, 2015
10 responses
“Great Question” (4points)

If a landlord knows his tenant is causing problems for a home owner next door, and deliberately does damage via vandalism in excess of $10,000.00 damage to the home owner’s home and vehicle, was arrested and goes to trial on 9/30/15, is the LANDLORD responsible, along with his tenants, IF he has been contacted many times BY the home owner about the conduct of his tenants, requesting he get his tenants in line, OR has requested his tenants harass this same home owner to aid and abet HIM with directing storm water flow onto the home owners property deliberately causing additional damage to their back yard area. Since the landlord took NO action to evict these tenants is he not as culpable before and AFTER the fact when this criminal felony was perpetrated upon the home owner by this landlords tenants? This is fact, and in the State of Illinois. Help!!

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talljasperman's avatar

Home owners insurance should cover expenses.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Do you have proof that the landlord knew of their tenant’s actions? Without some kind of paper trail, or logged calls to the police, I think in this scenario it might be likely to come down to your word against theirs.

rojo's avatar

Gotta go with @DrasticDreamer on this one. If you don’t have proof then it becomes a he said/she said situation and the judge is going to presume innocent unless you can prove guilt.

As a landlord I would have to say that I would find it difficult to believe that I could be held liable for the actions of a tenant. I have a contract with the tenant to lease the property and that is as far as it goes, I am not their momma.

I have had nothing this serious but when a tenant stole a bicycle and hid it in their apartment the police and courts did not come after me, they went after the tenant. And when another tenant was popped for possession, they did not come looking to me; they arrested and jailed the tenant as the responsible party.

I have to ask though, this sounds personal. Do you and the landlord have some kind of spat going on? Did it precede the tenants or is it a result of the tenants.

msh's avatar

If the Homeowner has a lawyer worth his/her salt, this should be brought up in court about Landlords’ knowledge, complicity, etc.
If the Homeowner does not know of Landlords’ actions or lack therein, an ‘anonymous’ letter should appear to Homeowner//lawyer giving clues that such a situation exists. Enough info to give another the idea to look into some extra areas that might be previously overlooked.
Stay out of the fight. At all costs. No names.
How awful to work so hard towards owning your own home, and have jerk-off’s like these
f-wads renting a place next door.
That, or hire an assassin to rid the world of this renting scourge….

gorillapaws's avatar

It can be difficult/expensive to evict a tenant. There are many laws that protect tenants from being pushed out of where they’re living. It really depends on the location as the laws vary a lot in different places. I find it hard to believe that a landlord could be held liable for not to evicting a tenant, but I’m not a lawyer.

Pandora's avatar

I believe the landlord can only be held responsible for things a tenant does on their property in most states. Like if a tenant sold drugs on their property or committed any crime on their property with their knowledge. Now if they go next door and do something wrong than that is another matter. For
When I worked for an apartment rental agency, we often would hear from neighbors who complained about noise. This was often at night and we had no one on staff to witness the problem. So the only thing we could tell our tenants was to call the police about noise disturbances. Only then could we issue a warning to the tenant that they were violating our noise clause in the lease. Otherwise it was just a he said, she said thing. Leases are pretty simple. Noise clauses, keep things well, don’t damage the place and pay on time, do not commit any crimes on the property,and now and days have your own rental insurance for fires, and water damages and property damage.

Pandora's avatar

@Tag68 I am not a lawyer either and I do not know the rules governing tenant landlord rules. However, I would think if the tenant has some proof that the owners requested that they harass the neighbor than I’m sure they can be held as an accomplice to the crimes committed as with any crime.
When dealing with a renter, people need to understand that the landlord cannot evict someone on someones testimony because most contracts are written to protect the landlord and the tenant. Not the neighbor. The landlords hands are tied until the law has been involved and they have cited the tenant for some breach or for being a nuisance. Otherwise the tenant can fight the eviction and win if there is no official proof of the offenses. The landlord cannot just show up in court and say my neighbor told me they were harassing them. Image how many people would get their neighbors kicked out. The land lord can choose to not renew a contract if they think the tenants are undesirable, but they will have to wait till the contract is up.

jca's avatar

IN the part where you say ”has requested his tenants harass this same home owner to aid and abet HIM has any of this contact been in written or emailed form?

jca (36059points)“Great Answer” (0points)
Cruiser's avatar

Reading between the lines of your description of the series to events it sounds like this was brewing for a long time. The “neighbor” apparently responded to said tenant about the storm water flooding their yard. You said this happened in Illinois where I live, we have had a lot of heavy rains this summer so it is safe to say it happened a lot. Now it all depends on how the neighbor approached the tenant/landlord about this unwanted storm water in their yard. I am going out on a limb here and assuming the neighbor got a bit more testy each time their yard flooded and must have irritated the shit out of the tenant to the point they went Postal on their house and car.

Clearly the tenant is responsible for their actions and I do not know of a legal statute that would hold a landlord liable for a tenants criminal actions. Perhaps if there were repeated contacts by the police that put the landlord on notice about their tenant disturbing the neighbors peace their may be room for legal recourse in that situation.

rojo's avatar

We had a landlord in our neighborhood who did not care who was in his units as long as they paid their rent. At one point he had people dealing out of the unit. The police eventually arrested the tenant.

The landlord put in another person who, it turned out, was a gangbanger. He began threatening neighbors and bringing in all kinds of unsavory characters and they all hung out in front of the building. Even when they weren’t threatening, they were intimidating others in the neighborhood and throwing their trash and beer cans all over. The police issued several tickets for littering, public intoxication, harassment, etc. and finally arrested him for gang related activities. They had talked to the landlord about the trash problem and his choice of tenants but had nothing they could arrest or ticket him for.

The next tenants he put in, two brothers, were also dealers. They used to keep some of the drugs in the trunk of their car and sell out of the driveway. While the police investigated they continued to talk with the landlord, trying to get him to vette his tenants and he basically blew them off. That’s when the police got the city inspectors, fire marshal etc. involved. They began ticketing him for building and code violations, threatened to condemn his building for fire related violations and generally made his life miserable. The fines added up and he began to get the message.

One of the brothers was stopped for a non-working tail light, they stopped him in his driveway and in the process of issuing a ticket, found him to have drugs in the car, busted. That gave them probable cause to search the house, they got a warrant, and arrested the other brother who was in the house. After these guys were hauled off to jail a city official called the landlord and made some suggestions about choosing his next tenant. The constant inspections and subsequent fines, along with this call, finally got him to be more selective but this entire process took over a year.

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