Mik1960, Home Owner in Pennsylvania

i am a homeowner who needs to see if i can file a judgement against a faulty landlord

Asked by Mik1960, Pennsylvania Tue Nov 23, 2010

I am a homeowner. The two houses beside me are rental homes. The landlord does nothing with the tentants who are destructful violent drug using people the police are there constantly and we have called this landlord who will do nothing he said he cant get them to leave they havent paid rent in months. I dont think he wants to spend the money to file. We have lived here for 25 yrs and have put up with tentants like this every year. I am so sick and tired of it, And needed to know if i could file something on the landlord?

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Ron Scott,GRI, , Milton, MA
Tue Nov 23, 2010
I agree with Benny. Call the police and report everything. Here in MA after a number of calls to the police the police will track down the landlord to find out what he or she is doing about the problem Remember The old adage the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Good luck.
1 vote
Benny Smith, Agent, Pittsburgh, PA
Tue Nov 23, 2010
Sometimes we must stand up and protect our rights. I am not talking out side the law however. Before getting a lawyer you need to call the police on everything you see that my get them to respond to the address. The more times they respond the more chance for an arrest. Also make it clear they are not to disclose who you are and to not visit your home afterwards to report. This should give you some comfort. Also give them the landlords name and number if you have it. The police are busy and would rather call than continue responding. Its your home, put your taxes to work and make the bad neighbors life more of hell than they make yours. One last note. The landlord is not the real problem here. I blame it on all the spineless neighbors these people have had in the past that have let them act in a this way. I have made a difference in my neighborhoods you can too.
1 vote
Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Tue Nov 23, 2010
Good advice already. Just a few additional observations: Ron's absolutely correct. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. That applies in your dealings both with the police and with the landlord.

Regarding the police: I can't speak for those in your area, but my observation has been that sometimes they're reluctant to respond to complaints such as yours. My experience hasn't involved tenants as extreme as yours, but still--when it comes to charges like disturbing the peace--it's sometimes difficult to engage the police in a timely fashion. So you have to be very persistent. You say that the police are there constantly. That's a good start, and establishes some sort of history. Keep at that.

Regarding the landlord: Keep the pressure up there, too. Assuming his version of events is correct (and it may well be), you're still down low on his priority list. If they haven't paid rent in months, maybe the landlord doesn't have the money to evict the tenants. Or maybe he figures it's easier dealing with a periodic call from you than dealing with a really undesirable situation with tenants. You have to make your complaints with him a higher priority.

If there are other neighbors who are being affected by those rental homes, try to involve those neighbors as well. Get them to make some calls to the police and to the landlord.

If there's any sort of community or homeowners association, try to get it involved. Now, most of them don't like to get involved in such things, either. But if you become enough of a pest, you may get the community or homeowners association involved in your efforts.

There are two other possibilities to consider. The first is hiring a lawyer to assist you in your efforts. If you do, find one who's politically connected in your town. Someone like a former city councilman or former mayor. It may cost a bit more than a new law school grad, but it'll be well worth it.

The other possibility is making the landlord an offer to buy the properties. The landlord is probably highly motivated to sell, especially if the tenants aren't paying rent. So you make a very low offer. If there's still a mortgage on the properties (and it's low), you make the offer "subject to" the existing financing. Basically, he deeds the houses to you and you start making the mortgage payments. And there are plenty of services out there that specialize in evicting tenants. So you get the houses, evict the tenants, then put acceptable tenants in there instead. Or you sell the houses (for a profit) to someone who'd actually like to buy.

Hope that helps.
0 votes
Gerard Dunn, Agent, Chevy Chase, MD
Tue Nov 23, 2010
You can file a complaint with the county or town and ask that the homes be declared a public nuisance.

At that point - the local jurisdiction has the responsibility to force the landlord to comply and resolve the problem.

Good Luck!

Gerry Dunn
Associate Broker
Serving Maryland, D.C. and Northern Virginia
0 votes
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