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Neighbor's False Accusations: What To Do

Even if they never become friends, many people create and maintain stable relationships with their neighbors. But some neighbors are less interested in sharing a space with their fellow tenants. They may be more interested in creating disputes with their neighbors. They might even make false accusations about their neighbors.

What options do you have if your neighbors accuse you of things you never did? Continue reading to learn more. After reading this article, if you need more help, contact a licensed attorney.

Be Proactive

If a neighbor has wrongly accused you of breaking the rules of your apartment complex, it's in your best interest to be as proactive as possible. It's always a good idea to refute your neighbor's claims if they arise. You can do this in many ways. For example, if you were accused of smoking in your apartment when you did not, you could:

  • Request the property manager inspect your apartment for evidence of smoking
  • Ask other neighbors to act as references to counter the claims
  • Request any proof your neighbors may have to support their accusations
  • Have references sign a statement verifying that you follow the apartment's rules

Collect Records

It's almost always in your best interest to do the following:

  • Keep up-to-date records of any complaints against you
  • Have inspections of your living space conducted when needed

If a property manager attempts to take legal action against you because of a neighbor's statements, your records can be a valuable resource for refuting inaccurate claims.

The neighbor's statements may even be a form of defamation, depending on the circumstances. If this is the case, you may be able to take legal action against your neighbor in civil court. In this case, it's important to get legal advice. In filing a civil suit, working with an attorney is always a good idea.

What To Expect in a Civil Suit

You may obtain the relief you need by filing a civil suit. It could be court orders that your neighbor stop engaging in defamation. It could involve monetary damages. But a court wouldn't necessarily be involved in evictions. Of course, you might wonder if you can get your neighbor evicted. In a case where an eviction would be a possibility, your landlord would need to be involved. They would need to handle the eviction.

If a neighbor harasses you enough, your landlord might take action, too. False reports from neighbors, particularly if they unnecessarily file police reports, can be a crime. If the neighbor makes too many phone calls to the police department or makes false police reports, they could face serious criminal legal problems. A landlord definitely wouldn't want a criminal to occupy their space.

On the other hand, if you succeed in a defamation case, you may receive damages to cover any injuries you might have experienced. Perhaps you've experienced emotional distress. Maybe your family members have suffered some kind of injury, too. Injuries can take many forms, including those that are emotional.

Know Your Rights as a Tenant

Even if you are guilty of the offenses of which you have been accused, a landlord must follow certain steps to evict you. The defamation may cause your landlord to think you're an undesirable tenant living in violation of various parts of your lease agreement. It might not just be that you're hoping the harassing neighbor will be evicted. If a landlord fails to follow the necessary legal steps, you also may have grounds for legal action against the landlord. You might have more rights than just legal action against your neighbor. Regardless, as a tenant, you have rights. It's also important to consult with your homeowners association (HOA). An HOA can help with defamation problems.

Other Rights

If the harassment rises to a certain level, you may have rights to seek an order of protection. In some places, these can be called restraining orders. This area can intersect with family law. So, you might want to contact a family law attorney. An order of protection can help you by stopping your harasser from engaging in harassment.

You should never have to deal with high stress and trauma anywhere, including your own home. Call the police department, 911, or the local police precinct if you're being harassed. If the harassment gets to be too much, a police officer might respond to the scene. If you need to contact the police department or the local police precinct, it's important to know that they will have phone numbers that differ from 911. You may need to search online for these phone numbers. Also, speak with a family law attorney if necessary.

Get Legal Help

Apartment neighbors complain about each other. But when it goes too far, you may have legal options. If your neighbor has falsely accused you of something, and your landlord is treating you unfairly as a result, contact an attorney experienced in landlord/tenant law. Legal issues related to defamation can be very difficult to shoulder alone. Speak with a licensed attorney.

Remember that if the harassment is causing you to feel threatened, you can always call law enforcement. But even if it's just loud noise and loud music you've been accused of, you may also have legal recourse against your accuser. Even if it's just false noise complaints that have become overly frequent, it's important to know you may still have legal recourse. You may indeed have legal recourse if they accuse you often enough and with enough malice.

Protect yourself—harassment can have severe consequences for a person's health and mental health. Contact a lawyer today if you need help with any threats that may be living next door. It might be necessary to contact a family law attorney or a real estate attorney. If you need help, it can be much better to work with an attorney. Whether it's a new neighbor or an old one that's harassing you, harassment is never something you should have to deal with.

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