You are here

Can landlord evict because neighbors don't approve of my lifestyle?

I am under a 1 year lease that began in December 2009.

I live in a townhouse. There are 4 units and 1 owner per side of the townhouse.

My landlord called and left me a voicemail message on Saturday stating that I needed to find a new place to live. According to him my neighbors do not approve of my lifestyle. He went on to say that they are retired and just not wanting to deal with a younger couple (we are in our mid/late 20s). We don't have parties—occasionally a get together of at most 4-5 people (except for one party in which 10 people came over to watch the Superbowl and left by 10pm). I'd like to be free to have similar gatherings/cookouts—we pay as much as a decent mortgage to rent this place. I do play guitar but never past 10pm and there is always an entire room and multiple doors buffering between the units (which are pretty well insulated). I don't play loud music—this is folk/clean music. Sometimes there is violin.

I had received complaints in the form of text messages from my downstairs neighbor but she throws plates at the wall and screams at her fiancee all day—I would always get more complaints when she finished up one of these fights. I figured I don't have to stop playing my acoustic guitar because my neighbor has a personality disorder. She called the police on us when we first moved in. Two cruisers came by and asked where the party was. My girlfriend let them know that she was sorry, she was learning to play bass but didn't realize it was disturbing the neighbors (which was completely true). The police laughed and rolled their eyes and told us to have a good night.

In any case, I would expect any disagreements between neighbors to be resolved in a reasonable manner—it's as easy as just asking us to be quiet during certain hours.

Back to my landlord asking us to leave.
I had not received any letters stating that there was a problem—just this out of the blue voicemail message saying they had made their decision. When I returned his call, he said he didn't want police up there and that could happen again. He kept going on about our "lifestyle differences" because of our age. I almost got the feeling it was because we're not engaged, our car is in the driveway when they get back from church on Sundays—something very odd. We're good, hardworking people in a town usually known for its heroine habit and teen pregnancy. Since those people own their half of the townhouse my landlord insisted they had a right to 'enjoy their retirement' etc.. As if I want to hinder their retirement. He said that if it was another young couple this wouldn't be a problem.

So my question is. Can he kick us out for ANY reason here? Perhaps there is a loophole out there that he could use? I don't have any intent on leaving until i'm a tenant at will. There is nothing in our lease that we have violated (we did paint the walls in one room which the landlord verbally expressed was fine as long as we painted it back before leaving).
We haven't done anything illegal. I fix things on my own when I can. I pay my rent early. We're really easy to deal with.

If he can't kick us out—from what i've read, he can't—am I going to be afraid to make a sound ever? Can I not have my violin player over on a saturday afternoon to play a little acoustic music in my bedroom (that has a full room buffer from other units)? Do I have to live in fear of them catching me having a cigarette on my porch that I pay for? Can I simply abide by the town ordinances on noise (get a decibel meter) and let the police show up if the neighbors want to try and cause a probleml? I'm at a loss here.

I really would appreciate your help! Thank you

Share this with your friends

Short answer to a very long question:  If you have a tenancy at will agreement, your landlord can evict you for any non-discriminatory reason.  If you have a lease, the landlord will have to show that you have violated some term of the lease, such as a prohibition against disturbing your neighbor's quiet enjoyment of their unit.  In either case, you do not have to go anywhere until and unless a court tells you to move.  I would sit tight and try to work it out with the landlord.  If the landlord goes to court, you will have ample opportunity to tell your side of the story.

the only thing in the lease that says anything about quiet enjoyment

"3. Quiet Enjoyment. Lessor covenants that on paying the rent and performing the covenants herein contained, Lessee shall peacefully and quietly have, hold, and enjoy the demised premises for the agreed term."

That appears to be a protection for me from being disturbed by my landlord—not anything to do with the neighbors. I'm sure that I can find a way to work things out with the neighbors as far as the noise. I just want to make sure the landlord has no basis for eviction if it comes to that. Wouldn't he have had to send a Notice to Quit with an opportunity then to correct the issue?

As I said before, j1234 (if that really is your name), only a court can order you to move.  That means the landlord will have to go through the process of evicting you (notice to quit, etc.)

Thank you for the prompt responses. While I understand the court must make the order, I am just trying to make sure that there is nothing that the court could possibly find that would constitute a lease violation. I am under the assumption that if I do not violate my lease, the landlord cannot evict me for ANY reason. Certainly not because he doesn't approve of my "lifestyle".

He can't evict you because of your 'lifestyle.'  But if he can demonstrate to a housing court judge that your lifestyle is depriving another tenant of the quiet enjoyment of her unit, then you may have a problem.

Talk to a Landlord and Tenant Lawyer Today
Most offer FREE Consultations
Connect with The Forum
facebook google twitter linkedin