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Problem Neighbor and Landlord's Right of Entry

Posted by Deborah Drucker on September 29, 1999 at 10:01:03:

I have a neighbor who is obviously mentally ill (says strange things, hostile, etc.). He used to live with a woman who was also mentally ill and screamed and cried all day.
A few months back, he was arrested and she was taken away in an ambulance -- the story I heard was that he had beaten her up. (Several neighbors had tried
calling Dept. of Human Svcs, etc., etc. and were unable to get a response.)

Since the woman left there has been a huge roach problem on my floor -- they are all over the hallways and they are coming out of this man's apartment.
My guess is that she probably took care of the place and he doesn't. I've "defogged" my apartment twice, no help, because they are coming in
under the door. There has not been a roach problem in the two years I've lived here -- you know, you'd find them once in a while. Now it's infested.

I called the landlord and told him that he needs to fumigate this man's apartment. He told me that the guy had changed the locks and that he didn't have
access. I said I thought that in a situation such as this, he had legal right to enter the apartment (with notice, of course) because this guy
is presenting a health hazard. My landlord does not want to do this, saying he "prefers to have tenant cooperation." While I commend his
hesitance to throw his authority around, something needs to be done.

My question is, am I within my legal rights to withhold rent until SOMEONE ELSE's apartment is fumigated? Generally speaking, my landlord,
although an annoying person, is pretty good about taking care of the building in comparison with some of the nightmare landlords I've heard of.

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