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Old 01-23-2011, 01:32 AM
 
8 posts, read 64,410 times
Reputation: 16

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I recently moved into a 1-bedroom apartment in Lake Balboa (Van Nuys area). I really like the unit, but it's the neighbors that are making my life miserable. The people in the unit next door have a video game system that is so loud, the bass of the explosions rattle my walls. It's like living in a war zone. To make matters worse, their living room is on the other side of my bedroom. I've asked them several times to please lower the volume, by they give me the excuse "the walls are just very thin". Well, that's even MORE of a reason to turn it down! I've complained to the building manager, and she said she has spoken to them about it. Apparently, that's done no good.

There is also a neighborhood adjacent to my building that has dogs that bark constantly. I contacted animal control about this issue, and they said that a notice was given to the offending dog owner. Despite that, the barking continues morning, noon, and night.

The bottom line is, I'm miserable in my new place and would love to move out (back to my old apartment which was a renter's dream - quiet with much thicker walls). The problem, of course, is that I signed a one-year lease, and I'm barely into my second month. If I break the lease, I'm legally responsible for all the remaining months' rent until it gets rented out again. This would bankrupt me to no end.

So, is there any legal loophole I can go through to break my lease early because of intolerable noise? I just don't think I can last a full year in this place without going crazy.

Thanks for any suggestions.
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Old 01-23-2011, 06:02 PM
 
197 posts, read 641,354 times
Reputation: 174
This is a difficult issue b/c by naturally apartments have some noise but it sounds like the noise is well beyond excessive and not just typical of living in an apartment building. I'd try to get in contact with a nonprofit or government agency that deals with tenant's rights. One important thing to do is is to document everything, including written notifications of the excessive noise to the tenant and landlord.

If the situation is truly awful (as it sounds), you need to move out. Keep in mind that the landlord has to make attempts to lease the unit and can't just collect from you for the remainder of the lease. That being said, you could owe a couple months of rent. Then you would have to take them to small claims court to not end up paying for the months the unit was vacant. This is where all of that documentation will come in handy. Also take photos of the unit when you move out so they don't try to take your security deposit as well.

The landlord has no control over the dog issue if it is in a different complex. Unfortunately, I doubt you have any legal grounds to break the lease for this. Contacting animal control is about all you can do - or you can confront the neighbor.

Hindsight is 20-20 but make sure to check the walls and the configuration of the units before you sign the lease. I've been fortunate to have units where the bedroom wall shares a wall with another bedroom. Look for those kind of units in the future. It will lessen the noise (although noisy neighbors will be heard through any type of walls).
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Old 01-23-2011, 07:00 PM
 
Location: Coachella Valley, California
15,607 posts, read 39,372,182 times
Reputation: 13428
The landlord isn't causing the problem - it's the other tenant(s). Because he is not at fault for the noise, if you break your lease, he has every right to seek unpaid rent from you for the time the unit sits vacant until he gets another tenant in the unit.
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:17 AM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
77,804 posts, read 97,812,235 times
Reputation: 49114
Quote:
Originally Posted by actfray View Post
I recently moved into a 1-bedroom apartment in Lake Balboa (Van Nuys area). I really like the unit, but it's the neighbors that are making my life miserable. The people in the unit next door have a video game system that is so loud, the bass of the explosions rattle my walls. It's like living in a war zone. To make matters worse, their living room is on the other side of my bedroom. I've asked them several times to please lower the volume, by they give me the excuse "the walls are just very thin". Well, that's even MORE of a reason to turn it down! I've complained to the building manager, and she said she has spoken to them about it. Apparently, that's done no good.

There is also a neighborhood adjacent to my building that has dogs that bark constantly. I contacted animal control about this issue, and they said that a notice was given to the offending dog owner. Despite that, the barking continues morning, noon, and night.

The bottom line is, I'm miserable in my new place and would love to move out (back to my old apartment which was a renter's dream - quiet with much thicker walls). The problem, of course, is that I signed a one-year lease, and I'm barely into my second month. If I break the lease, I'm legally responsible for all the remaining months' rent until it gets rented out again. This would bankrupt me to no end.

So, is there any legal loophole I can go through to break my lease early because of intolerable noise? I just don't think I can last a full year in this place without going crazy.

Thanks for any suggestions.
I don't see how you think you can break your lease. I bet you are going nuts, I don't blame you, but apartment living can be very noisy. It it was continueing into the night like 1am that would be one thing, otherwise, you are stuck.

Nita
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:35 AM
 
2,131 posts, read 4,662,750 times
Reputation: 996
If it were me, I'd find some really annoying music and play it at an equally annoying sound level. When they complain, tell them you'll turn your music off when they lower their volume.

Give this a try - Hamster Dance


EDIT

Is there any chance your building manager could let you switch units? They might have one on the other side of the complex.
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:39 AM
 
1,963 posts, read 4,776,872 times
Reputation: 1443
If they can find someone to rent the place out immediately, they might consider breaking your lease.
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Old 01-24-2011, 03:11 PM
 
8 posts, read 57,637 times
Reputation: 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by actfray View Post

The bottom line is, I'm miserable in my new place and would love to move out (back to my old apartment which was a renter's dream - quiet with much thicker walls). The problem, of course, is that I signed a one-year lease, and I'm barely into my second month. If I break the lease, I'm legally responsible for all the remaining months' rent until it gets rented out again. This would bankrupt me to no end.

So, is there any legal loophole I can go through to break my lease early because of intolerable noise? I just don't think I can last a full year in this place without going crazy.

Thanks for any suggestions.
I hate to tell you, I was in that same situation, however mine was a 6 month lease, and I moved in an area although nice, was also a college town and that is where I went wrong. I was originally suppose to move into a nice 2brm townhouse style apartment, on the otherside of the complex, where it appeared more family friendly & quiet (single mom w/2 kids). I had already signed & put my money in. The leasing agent told me that she made a mistake and that I couldn't have that unit, only because it was $50 more. I was a little upset & hesitant, but when she showed me the other unit, I was ok w/it & didn't think maybe I should pulled out & find another place, since that wasn't the unit we agreed on. (another big mistake). Long story short, I suffered 6 months of living hell, I was living next to two of the wildest party animals (young females) who had parties every Thursday, Friday, Saturday nites and the remaining nites they usually sat on their balcony drinking & talking loud all nite (their balcony under my bedroom window).....

They had what they called a "courtesy patrol", (another lame way of saying security), which really they did nothing but show up & document & hurried the hell out or joined in w/these young women. (yes they were young men, I get that, I didn't ask to be in party central though) Leasing Agent repeatingly told them to quiet down & gave them letters, didn't work), it was 4 months going on.

So the only advice I have for you, like w/what I did, (first off, check to see what is the Noise Ordinance in your city) in my city, it appears to be past 10 pm on any nite you can call the Police and they will come out & tell them to turn it down (which they did & then turned it up after awhile). By the 2 to 5th time it happened, I got ballsy & called the Police again, and they shut the party down. Those young women hated my guts and it was really un-fun living after that. They kept testing me & I kept calling, and the Police were getting fed up, ofcourse, I pleaded w/them to understand my situation, and they said in their final time, to give them the number of the Property Manager, which I gave them the leasing Agent., They called her & said some verbage that they (the City) will probably start charging the Owner/Management company, if this continues & does not get resolved. By then, my time was up and I moved out. I hated to resort to that, but had no choice. Not to mention they started blocking my parking stall, in which they almost got towed away, she moved her car after she saw the Leasing agent putting a notice on her car. Thats just a thought, I really hated doing that, but originally that wasn't the unit I agreed upon, which was really quiet (i saw)

As for the dog barking issue, I don't know much other than calling the Humane society or Animal Control.....Good Luck to you!

Last edited by tiki_styles; 01-24-2011 at 03:24 PM..
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Old 01-24-2011, 03:24 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
15,857 posts, read 33,587,985 times
Reputation: 22632
Quote:
Originally Posted by actfray View Post
I recently moved into a 1-bedroom apartment in Lake Balboa (Van Nuys area). I really like the unit, but it's the neighbors that are making my life miserable. The people in the unit next door have a video game system that is so loud, the bass of the explosions rattle my walls. It's like living in a war zone. To make matters worse, their living room is on the other side of my bedroom. I've asked them several times to please lower the volume, by they give me the excuse "the walls are just very thin". Well, that's even MORE of a reason to turn it down! I've complained to the building manager, and she said she has spoken to them about it. Apparently, that's done no good.

There is also a neighborhood adjacent to my building that has dogs that bark constantly. I contacted animal control about this issue, and they said that a notice was given to the offending dog owner. Despite that, the barking continues morning, noon, and night.

The bottom line is, I'm miserable in my new place and would love to move out (back to my old apartment which was a renter's dream - quiet with much thicker walls). The problem, of course, is that I signed a one-year lease, and I'm barely into my second month. If I break the lease, I'm legally responsible for all the remaining months' rent until it gets rented out again. This would bankrupt me to no end.

So, is there any legal loophole I can go through to break my lease early because of intolerable noise? I just don't think I can last a full year in this place without going crazy.

Thanks for any suggestions.
Document, document, document. Every time you make a call to the Landlord, write it down. Send him/her a certified letter, return receipt requested outlining the problems and asking him to remedy the situation. If he says that he has spoken to your neighbors, ask him for dates and times that this was done so that you can "DOCUMENT IT FOR YOUR COURT CASE".

I am not certain about the exact laws in California, however, I do know that it is pretty universal that everyone is entitled to the "quite enjoyment" of their home. If your landlord cannot provide you with that, then HE has broken the lease agreement.

If this persists, then you will have to take him to court and ask the judge to rule on whether or not your lease has been broken due to lack of "quite enjoyment" of your home. By that time you should have a very large file built up showing every single time you complained to the landlord, his/her response and what he/she did to try to alleviate the situation, etc. But you must have everything in writing with dates and times and as much detail as possible to prove your case.

If the judge rules in your favor then the lease will be broken and you will be free to find another place (or go back to your old place) without any financial penalty to you. Please look over this page....http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sourc...Tq8fwyXZtKYOSw (deals with other quiet enjoyment subjects besides just smoking).

best of luck

20yrsinBranson
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Old 01-24-2011, 03:46 PM
 
Location: State of Jefferson coast
963 posts, read 2,881,301 times
Reputation: 1319
Quote:
Originally Posted by actfray View Post
So, is there any legal loophole I can go through to break my lease early because of intolerable noise? I just don't think I can last a full year in this place without going crazy.

Thanks for any suggestions.
What you are proposing to do is legally known as "constructive eviction" (look it up). You -- not your landlord -- are the moving party in this kind of action. Your claim will come down to the fact that the landlord is passively permitting a situation that makes the premises uninhabitable. This is a bit dicey since the source of the nuisance is a 3rd party, not the landlord per se. However, the landlord has a duty to take reasonable measures to ensure the livability of rented quarters. The noise may not be under the landlord's control, but you only need to show it was within the landlord's scope of knowledge. If the nuisance persists as a result of the failure of the landlord to exercise the full reach of her duty to maintain livability, then it may be actionable. I would make three well-documented attempts to abate the nuisance through landlord intervention and then open a constructive eviction case. Ask adjoining neighbors if they will be co-complainants. Don't wait more than two more weeks on this; time is of the essence. Also, don't threaten the landlord with constructive eviction in hopes that you'll be taken more seriously, that almost always backfires. If you're up to doing it, just do it.

Alternatively, you can explain the problem to the landlord and try to negotiate a situation where the landlord will let you out of the lease as soon as another renter can be located. If you do this orally, follow it up with a letter. That should send the message that you're serious about the noise issue and, in the event that you have to resort to constructive eviction, will provide you the additional support of having exhausted attempts at mediation first.

Last edited by Brenda-by-the-sea; 01-24-2011 at 04:02 PM..
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Old 01-25-2011, 12:27 AM
 
Location: Coachella Valley, California
15,607 posts, read 39,372,182 times
Reputation: 13428
In a constructive eviction matter, the tenant actually has to move out of the unit. There is no constructive eviction if the tenant stays in the unit and puts up with the noise. Also, the move out has to be soon - you can't wait it out another month or two. If you're going to move out and claim constructive eviction, you need to do it NOW.

You can't join other tenants in this action because there is no privity of contract between these other tenants and the constructive evictee and the landlord - their cases are distinctly separate. Plus, those other tenants would actually have to move out as well, in order for them to claim a constructive eviction.

Another thing to keep in mind regarding constructive eviction is that generally, constructive eviction concerns habitability issues such as lack of heat, running water, or electrical. Noise is more of a nuisance issue than a habitability issue. If you move out and cite constructive eviction as your basis, the court may not agree with your contention because noise usually does not make a place uninhabitable. In the event the court does not agree with you, you will likely be liable for the balance of rents due under the lease term.

Last edited by Twinkle Toes; 01-25-2011 at 01:25 AM.. Reason: Forgot to post something
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