S.D. from Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Here is a strange one for you. For 10 years, I have owned a unit which is located above another unit which was bought by an ‘investor’ and rented for the last 2 years. The previous owner was lovely & there were no problems, no noise. I could not hear any water usage & there were no strange smells. The new owner is mostly absent & appears to be running some sort of operation that involves running the washer/dryer 24/7. They run a cycle every 40 minutes (it’s not a laundry business). I also smell a lot of gasses & fumes coming from the unit. The biggest problem is that they are tapping into my water supply. Mainly my outgoing hot water line which is attached to my HW Heater. They switch on & off every 3 hours. I have audio of them doing this. It also creates a lot of noise. This is a problem because I have a heat pump & cannot use my heat or A/C while they are on it, it’s too much stress on my system. I also have to listen to washer noise & water rushing through my unit while they are on it, which is virtually all day & night. I literally have to lock down my HW Heater in order to have water to use for showers, etc. and time those activities for when they are off my water. I am not sure what the purpose of this is. Per the water company, the units are not individually metered. It’s INSANE and very odd that 2 sets of tenants have/are doing the same exact operation the same exact way. The association told me to go to the police & the police tell me to go to the association, as is a ‘civil matter’ and private property. I have spoken to each tenant several times & the Landlord is unreachable & does not respond to letters. He is aware of the activity there. I am not able to rent my unit & doubt it would sell under these conditions, so moving is not an option. I have spoken to police, zoning & Fire Marshall. The board is a big one that runs the state and town Section 8 programs and is ‘in’ with all the town officials. I have sent hundreds of emails, gone to meetings & they will do absolutely nothing. I consider this a serious situation and feel I need to go over their heads at this point. At the very least these people are destroying the plumbing & hampering quiet enjoyment of my unit & amenities. I am forced to freeze in the winter & can’t use my AC or open windows in summer. I am also afraid of fire or worse. And it appears that that’s what going to need to happen to get this to end. I’m at a loss & cannot take living this way any longer. I feel like a hostage in my own home. I’m not sure an attorney can help here either. I would like to return to living like a normal person asap and I want my home back. Under the circumstances it would be a little hard to keep this anonymous & I am beyond that point anyway. WHAT are my rights and WHAT do I need to end this bizarre situation as quickly as possible & at the least cost to me? ANY suggestions would be helpful.
Mister Condo replies:
S.D., I am sorry for your problems. It sure sounds like you have some type of questionable activity happening beneath your unit, perhaps even illegal. Gasses, fumes, and strange behavior as you have described certainly don’t sound more like an episode of “Breaking Bad” than anything a simple renter would be engaged in. I am surprised you haven’t gone down the attorney path yet. I realize that it may cost money if you decide to take legal action against the association for failing to secure your right to peaceable enjoyment of your unit but I don’t see what other option you have other than to move out. You don’t think you could sell but maybe you should at least try. If what you think is happening in that downstairs unit is happening and the police have no interest in investigating, you really only have the option of moving out or suing the association. I wish I had friendlier advice for you, but, given the circumstances, I really think you’d be happier and safer living somewhere else. All the best!