Harassment is the unwelcome conduct towards a person for various reasons. Harassment can be verbal, sexual or physical harassment. When a neighbor displays an aggressive behavior that constitutes harassment, this can lead to psychological and emotional stress necessitating termination of the lease that exists between you and your landlord to look for another place where one can live freely. However, various regulations that govern lease termination mostly do not cover these issues like being unhappy with your neighbor without reasonable cause, moving out for marriage and many more. It is highly discouraged to retaliate to harassment by attacking the person or using aggressive means to stop the harassment. There are laws that helps people to handle harassment cases within the confines of the law.
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What Constitutes Harassment
Harassment comes in many forms mainly verbal, physical and sexual harassment. The following behaviors are examples of sexual harassment that people may be subjected to: comments or jokes that are sexually offensive, forced or undesired touching, coercion to indulge in sex or sexual activities and making of explicit sexual gestures.
Physical harassment involves us of force that may cause bodily harm, damage to property or confinement while verbal harassment involves use of language that harms others in an emotional way. Verbal harassment may result in lowering of one’s self esteem. Insulting comments, shouting and scolding someone repeatedly constitutes verbal harassment.
Statutory Provision on Harassment
Statutory laws provide rights for a person to terminate a lease on grounds of harassment regardless it is from a neighbor or anyone. If a tenant is subjected to harassment of any form from domestic violence, sexual harassment the tenant can terminate their lease through a written notice of termination to his or her landlord. The tenant is rightfully entitled to lease termination upon submission of detailed and convincing evidence. It is important for every citizen to know what constitutes harassment and the legal procedure required to deal with harassment cases.
How To Terminate Lease Due To Harassment By Your Neighbor
The process of termination of a lease due to harassment from a neighbor can be a painful process due to requirements to prove the harassment. There has to be enough evidence to prove your allegations. The following steps will help you terminate a lease on the basis of harassment from your neighbor.
- First talk to your landlord about your situation and try to reach an agreement. Express your concerns and highlight the impact of harassment to your life, social status and emotional stability. Your security fears are of utmost importance deserving to be given attention they deserve.
- If your landlord agrees, you may terminate the lease as per your agreement and move to another place.
- In case your landlord refuses to terminate your lease, you have to collect evidence against your harassing neighbor. Evidence may include pictures where possible or videos.
- File a complaint against your neighbor with local court giving much detail on the nature of harassment. The courts after examining your complaint will furnish you with necessary documentation from legal and enforcement authorities giving notice of victimization, copy of protection order for harassment issued to your neighbor. The protection order will make it an offense for your neighbor to continue harassing you and such acts would warrant arrest.
- Write a termination letter to your land lord and include the documents mentioned above as proof that you reported the matter to the relevant local authorities. Your landlord is compelled to allow termination of the lese on these grounds.
- If your landlord refuses to terminate the lease you are required to file a complaint for violation of your right to termination of lease on reasonable grounds.
How To Deal With Neighbor Harassment
Harassment is one of the difficult situations to deal with especially when your life or health is at risk. There are many options to deal with various forms of neighbor harassment as outlined below.
- First of all talk to the person harassing you and make the person know that it’s a violation of your rights and you can sue the person. If the person continues harassing you will need to approach the courts. For a neighbor it is also important to talk to your landlord about the challenges you are facing with the neighbor.
- File a complaint with your local court. Usually persons who are victims of harassment are given protection orders by the courts. These orders prohibits further harassment of the person with serious charges being brought for violation of the protection order. The court will give you documentation for the process which you can also take to your landlord.
Alternatives To Termination
It is also possible to try other options when harassed by a neighbor. As explained above one of the most obvious is to seek a protection order from your local courts. This option is mostly a win situation since the court can punish the person for continued harassment against a court order.
Secondly you may opt to sublet your house in case you have a grudge with your harassing neighbor. This however requires permission from your landlord. Some landlord may agree with you to sublet but others will not allow you.
Thirdly if you have been a victim of your neighbor’s harassment, you may just leave even when the lease still active. This option is most suitable when the lease is almost to its end and you can pay the remaining months without any problem usually for not more than two months. For lease periods that are still active for quite some time this option may be costly and will result in you incurring excessive costs.
Harassment should be reported and perpetrators brought to face the law. Anyone facing harassment should know how to properly handle harassment. Everyone has a right to a harassment free society and therefore should one encounters harassment, termination of lease should be given upon provision of evidence and land or property owners should respect this right.