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Can I sue my landlord for allowing a hostile living environment?

Asked by user in Connecticut.

I rent an apartment in a two-family house. My downstairs neighbor has a family stay for weeks at a time. The family that stays smokes drugs on the property, makes it hard for me and my children to sleep at night, threatens me, and blocks the driveway. I informed my landlord of the situation and nothing is being done. What can I do?

Answered by Enjuris Editors:

Connecticut law (specifically, Title 47 of the General Statutes of Connecticut) provides that landlords have certain duties. One of these duties is to keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition.

Connecticut courts have acknowledged that, under certain circumstances, this duty to keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition includes the duty to protect tenants from the criminal conduct of others. The landlord only has this duty if the landlord (a) has knowledge of the criminal conduct, and (b) has complete control over the area.

In your case, it sounds like your landlord has knowledge of the criminal conduct. However, if you haven't already done so, I would send your landlord a letter (with return receipt requested) describing the criminal conduct so you have proof of your landlord's knowledge.

It also sounds like your landlord has complete control over the area. Accordingly, you may be able to force your landlord to evict the problematic tenant. To do this, I would recommend hiring a Connecticut attorney if you can afford it. If you cant afford an attorney, I would consider seeking help from your local legal aid organization or taking your landlord to small claims court.

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