Harassed by my schizphrenic neighbor
June 17, 2009 10:50 AM Subscribe
My downstairs neighbor, who is most likely schizophrenic, has been harassing my wife and me. Our landlord seems unenthusiastic about evicting her, and we are unenthusiastic about moving ourselves. What legal options can I pursue? Does anyone in Chicago have personal experience with a (cheap!) lawyer they might recommend?
posted by ztdavis to law & government (47 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
As far as I can tell there are two options:
1. Get her evicted somehow.
2. Force her to get on her medication.
Any insight on pursuing either option (or other options!) is greatly appreciated. Living peacefully with her below us is the ideal, but I'm not sure that is any longer an option.
Do you need a lawyer to get a restraining order? Can you get a restraining order against a neighbor in Illinois?
Here's the summary of our interactions with her:
August 2008: We move into this apartment
October 2008: She confronts me in our stairwell and accuses me of attacking her, causing hairs to grow places on her body, and black specks to show up and flake off of her. She tells me she wants to "live in peace" and that we need to move out.
We tell the landlord that she has confronted us and are told she is "mostly harmless.
March 2009: On a few occasions we hear intense screaming through the floor at night. We assume she is fighting with her boyfriend, but after deliberately listening through the floor we here yelling things like "you are trash", "move out", "this has been happening since August; why are you doing this to me?", "if you don't move out I will kill you", "I will have you killed", "you are the lowest of the low".
We call the police, who tell her if she does not stop yelling and they have to come back that night that they will take her to a hospital. She stays quiet through the night, but yells at us the next day through the door. Our landlord says they will contact her ex-husband to see if he can help her get back on medication.
Three nights ago: Starting around 11:00 at night, she comes up to our door and yells at us to stop attacking her, etc. We called the police, who came up to our apartment to discuss what was going on. While they were there, she came up and again yelled at us. They confronted her, on our doorstep, and told her to get back on her medication. She told them that we need to stop using our ray gun to attack her through the floor. They told us there was nothing they could do because "[their] hands were tied". We contact our landlord again, who says he will send her a "ten day notice", saying that she needs to correct her behaviour or there will be consequences, perhaps even eviction. The landlord asks us if we want to move to another unit "whenever one becomes available."
Two nights ago: She leaves a note by the apartment mailboxes saying that we have "beared [sic] false witness against a neighbor" by lying to the police and that "there are penalties for your actions". We notify our landlord that things aren't getting better and email them a scanned copy.
Last night: Sometime between 10:30 and 11:30 PM she came up and taped another note to our door. Same tone as before. We send our landlord a copy of this note as well and are told that they are "drafting a letter right now" to send to her about the ten days notice.
I am trying to be straightforward in my descriptions here, but my wife and I are creeped the fuck out (especially after the death threats in March) and hate going to and from our apartment because we have to walk past her door and never know when we might run into her. This is three nights in a row that she has done something, and we are afraid that things are going to get worse, and not better.
The landlord doesn't seem to want to evict her and would rather move us into another unit in the building, which I personally don't see helping the situation; she'll still be able to walk up to our front door. Evicting her might make her even more aggressive, but even knowing where we live it would be far more difficult for her to get to our doorstep and confront us in our building. The police seems to be in a "well, she's not acting violent so we can't take her in to a hospital" situation, although medication seems to be the best (although perhaps temporary) fix, as no one has to move.
Thanks for any help.