Even one visit from the cops can be enough to stop the behavior. Neighbor harassment is a very real thing. You should probably plan on at least two hours. The rules about usual nuisances like weird sounds and smelly trash are typically spelled out in your lease or bylaws and can often be fairly easy to tackle (or ultimately endure—with the requisite complaining and kvetching that is every New Yorker’s right). Illustration: Kelsey Dake T he reason you should document sexual harassment is straightforward: whether you’re the target of it or someone who saw it happen, a log of the details is important when it comes time to report the harassment to human resources or a higher-up. Neighbor harassment is a somewhat broad category of behavior that is usually defined based on two factors: the intent of the person doing the harassing, and the effects of that behavior on others. If you’ve made an earnest attempt to have a meeting of the minds but failed to get resolution, don’t continue to force the issue—that can only escalate the situation. The best way to know if you could take legal action against your neighbor for harassment is if you can prove that harassment is their clear intention, otherwise try and resolve the situation yourselves or with your landlord. You should state the problem and then say something along the lines of, “Please let me know how you think it should be dealt with/how you can help me.”, If you do not hear back, Roberts recommends sending a second letter in which you put them on notice that X consequence is set to occur if you don’t have a response by Y date. If they ever touch you or act in a way that is unwelcome, mark that down as well. Having trouble with a neighbor whose behavior is beyond obnoxious and borders on harassment? If they have gone to some trouble to harass you with police presence, your life can easily be disrupted. Here's what you can do. If you notice damage on your property, take pictures of it, and if you have any threatening confrontations with your neighbor, write down the … How do I make a black kitchen work in a NYC apartment? We will never promote an advertiser's product without making the relationship clear to our readers. Go online, call, or visit your local police or sheriff’s department to file a formal complaint against your neighbor. In one particularly egregious example of neighbor-on-neighbor harassment, a Latino family in 2009 was awarded over $500,000 in damages against one of its white neighbors, although the legal basis for this case was state law, not the FHA. Roberts recommends reaching out to your neighbor either in an email or a handwritten note. T&Cs, Privacy & Cookies Policy. Assuming the District Attorney’s office decides to pursue the case in trial (it’s not a given), the case can take months to wind through the system, and there's no guarantee that the order will be granted. First, identify the harassing behavior. Provide information about the incident to the police, going into details to help police officers determine whether they should pursue the issue. Roberts adds that the police will clearly side with you in any future incidents and, if the harasser defaults, the mediation agreement will help build your case in a legal claim. We have complained to the landlord and made police reports but both refuse to do anything. Identify However, if you have neighbor disputes with the people who live next door, you do have options to get a resolution. If a dispute is just that, try to stay out of it as much as you can. An Ohio man was ordered by a municipal court judge in a disorderly conduct case to stand on a corner holding up a sign listing the offense he was found guilty of, which happened to be bullying disabled children. A simple, over-the-fence discussion may clear up some misunderstandings. So, the first thing to do is to identify the specific type of harassment or harassing behavior that is causing the problem. Write down the dates and times of all incidents involving the neighbor. Target the specific harassing behavior. (And if they don’t you can register a complaint with 311.). Your neighbor may become angry and the harassment gets worse. While a law enforcement officer will try to calm the situation down, unless your neighbor committed a crime, you will have to sue the person in court as a civil matter. Document everything. He or she might also surreptitiously destroy your property or damage it. Most of the time, the violations that they have accused you of will simply result in a warning, but in other cases, you may fined or worse. Communication Can Be Key. legally dealing with neighbors, That’s saying something. “Neighbor harassment” is generally expected to be performed from a neighboring house. Listen to your gut feelings if you think you are being watched or someone keeps making a "mistake." Harassment from neighbors can come in many different forms, from having them constantly pounding at your door or even making unpleasant comments or gestures toward you and your family members. Harassment is not necessarily something that goes away on its own, and it can have far-reaching effects that touch every aspect of your life. “People think this order is an immediate solution but it takes some time and effort to reach that point,” Roberts says. [Other] Stop calling me – I don’t want to be in contact with you. In addition, you may want to send a copy to the local police precinct, via Delivery Confirmation, to alert them to the harassment you are receiving from certain elements. Landlords face an uphill battle in evicting tenants who are paying their rent and not doing anything illegal per se; this is especially true for rent-stabilized buildings. Landlords and co-op boards have an obligation to provide you with a habitable apartment, but what that means is a slippery slope. All rights reserved. If you involve the police, keep a copy of the police report, and document the date and time the police are called. If the person is creating a vermin issue, landlords have even more of a duty to act. How to handle and document neighbor harassment? If you notice damage on your property, take pictures of it, and if you have any threatening confrontations with your neighbor, write down the date and the subject of the confrontation. Establishing a paper trail will help you build your case if you wind up pursuing legal action—or breaking your lease and getting sued by your landlord. neighbor harassment, The coach can role play what a successful interaction would look like. neighbor, friendly neighbor, Before you do this, however, you should always make sure that you know what the laws in your area are like. For the sake of discussion let’s say that your harassing neighbors are frequently rude or disrespectful to you and your family. If you need to simply ignore your neighbor and to remove yourself from the situation, then do so. [Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this post was published in September 2019. These are things that can have a lasting impact on your life, even if the original charge seems ridiculous or like something that would be quickly dismissed. Law defines harassment as any conduct intended to annoy, threaten, intimidate, any! We are told to `` just deal with it, '' or that bad are. 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