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Nuisance Neighbors – What Would You Do?

The following question came into the “I am a tenant in a four family house. A few months ago, a new tenant moved into the building. They have loud parties almost every weekend and leave the front door unlocked so that their friends can come and go at all hours. I have advised my landlord of the situation but, so far, nothing has been done. Can I withhold my rent?

The key to what to do about these nuisance neighbors is that the apartments are not rent stabilized (they are in a building with less than six dwelling units). Clearly, the tenant who asked this question would like to stay in the apartment. If the neighbirs really are a nuisance and there is no lease, the landlord may proceed to have them removed in landlord tenant court without too much trouble. If there is a lease and they have breached the terms, the complaining tenants may have to testify in court to resolve the issue. Even then, the nuisance tenant may simply be ordered to cure the behavior that is causing the problem. This is a perfect example of how a lease in and unregulated building can have a bad outcome. (See No Lease Required If Building Has Less Than Six Apartments link). In this case, the landlord may end up losing the good tenant and having to keep the bad one. If the good tenant withholds the rent, they may face eviction proceedings in landlord tenant court for non-payment of rent.