What to do About Drug Dealers, Prostitutes, and Vandals in the Neighborhood

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Tenants or landlords may witness non-violent crimes like drug-dealing, vandalism, and prostitution near the apartment. Such crimes don’t directly injure or harm the tenant but may increase the risk for violence or other incidents. The primary remedy is reporting the activity to the police. If instead, it can be tracked to a building in the neighborhood, landlords (or tenants) have the additional option of bringing a private nuisance lawsuit.

Associated with a House or Building

When the activity is linked to a home or building, tenants and landlords have a few options. First, tenants and landlords may be able to obtain voluntary compliance by speaking to them about the problem(s). Tenants or landlords may bring a private nuisance lawsuit against the building owner for allowing nuisances in their building to affect others. As always, tenants or landlords can report the illegal activity to the police.

Private Nuisance

Landlords (or tenants) may also be able to sue the neighbor for causing a private nuisance if the disturbances are substantial and unreasonable. Landlords can recover damages like lost rent from tenants, the reduction in property value, and the costs to mitigate the nuisance. Landlords may be able to sue either the tenants or the landlord of the building for the illegal activity. For landlords, this is often preferable to reporting the activity to the police, since reporting activity to the police won’t allow the landlord to recover for their lowered property values and fees. Tenants can also bring such an action, but their reward will likely be far less than a landlord. That's because a tenant's damages will be harder to prove and monetize. While landlords may be able to demonstrate a loss in property value, tenants will have to show how it affected their sleep, work, or well-being - more intangible damages. However, the tenant or landlord may instead ask for a court order to stop the activity.

Associated with a House or Building


When the activity is linked to a home or building, tenants and landlords have a few options. First, tenants and landlords may be able to obtain voluntary compliance by speaking to them about the problem(s). Tenants or landlords may bring a private nuisance lawsuit against the building owner for allowing nuisances in their building to affect others. As always, tenants or landlords can report the illegal activity to the police.

Private Nuisance


Landlords (or tenants) may also be able to sue the neighbor for causing a private nuisance if the disturbances are substantial and unreasonable. Landlords can recover damages like lost rent from tenants, the reduction in property value, and the costs to mitigate the nuisance. Landlords may be able to sue either the tenants or the landlord of the building for the illegal activity. For landlords, this is often preferable to reporting the activity to the police, since reporting activity to the police won’t allow the landlord to recover for their lowered property values and fees. Tenants can also bring such an action, but their reward will likely be far less than a landlord. That's because a tenant's damages will be harder to prove and monetize. While landlords may be able to demonstrate a loss in property value, tenants will have to show how it affected their sleep, work, or well-being - more intangible damages. However, the tenant or landlord may instead ask for a court order to stop the activity.

Last Update : July 22, 2018 UTC

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