Civil/Commercial Litigation (Lawsuits)/Harassment by a neighbor
I currently live in the downstairs unit of an apartment complex in California. Since moving in 5 months ago,I have received 4 noise complaints issued by the property management- most of which for dates and times that I wasn't even home. I have also had the police called to my home when I was watching a film with surround sound, on a Friday evening at 9 p.m. I have kept my cool and have not confronted any of my neigbors, including the woman upstairs who I suspect is to blame. I am just wondering what my next course of action should be since I've already spoken with both the police department and the property management regarding this ongoing harassment. Any and all advice is much appreciated.
Before I respond further to your question, I must make clear that I do not represent you, and cannot give you individual particularized legal advice. No attorney client relationship is created by this email. For legal advice, you should hire your own attorney, and follow their advice. My role with AllExperts is limited to providing general information and suggestions for educational or general knowledge purposes. Before you take any action, consult with your own attorney.
Harrassment is a legal term that is defined narrowly in my state to focus on particular conduct that permits a harmed party to obtain certain legal relief, and although annoying, your neighbor's conduct does not seem like "harassment" to me.
I suggest that you examine your lease and any rules or documents pertaining to your tenancy, and speak with either or both an attorney licensed in your state and/or a tenant advocacy group in your area. In my state, tenants have the right to "quiet enjoyment" of their tenancy, wherein the "quiet" word does not mean sound volume but rather the exclusive right to your apartment or space. If your neighbor(s) make false claims against you that interfers with your ability to sleep, eat, watch movies, etc., you may have claims against them and/or your landlord that would give rise to your right to vacate and/or obtain other relief.
Potentially, an aggressive campaign to enforce your rights may cost dearly more than simply turning down your volume. However, as a person who also enjoys film ad appreciable sound (and I have a subwoofer) I get that part of your right as a tenant is to take reasonable use of your home and your space. It does not seem to me to be dreadful or unreasonable to watch a movie at 9:00 p.m. on a Friday. The fact that the police have not ticketed or cited you so far demonstrates that you are not violating any laws.
Perhaps you can speak with the management and or neighbor and work things out in a friendly way. If that fails to be effective or capture your satisfaction, I suggest the foregoing regarding an attorney or tenanct activist group, and see about your remedies to vacate etc. in a formal setting.
I hope this helps, good luck to you.
SMITH & RAVER LLP
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