The friend of my customer's neighbor's car is my something-or-other
January 21, 2015 6:29 PM   Subscribe

What options does a landlord likely have when a tenant's guest/friend is slashing the neighbors' tires and threatening them and has a criminal record? Assume standard lease in Illinois and that the guest definitely did it but the police won't make an arrest yet. The tenant has done nothing wrong.
posted by michaelh to Law & Government (12 answers total)
I think they could evict the tenant if they kept allowing the threatening party back.
posted by Toddles at 6:33 PM on January 21, 2015

Is any of this happening on the landlord's property? Is this person still allowed by the tenant onto the property? The landlord's local laws will likely have something to say about the landlord's rights vs the tenant's rights regarding who is allowed in the house/apartment, so those should be consulted.
posted by rtha at 6:40 PM on January 21, 2015

Is tenant aware of the local DV resources?
posted by brujita at 6:47 PM on January 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

The landlord can choose not to renew the tenant's lease.

In the meantime, the neighbors might want to get some cameras, or motion detection lights or take turns watching the block.

The tenant HAS done something wrong. The tenant invites this horrible person over to his/her apartment and allows the guest to threaten, intimidate and vandalize in the neighborhood.

Complain to the landlord. Explain what's going on. The landlord doesn't want a vandal in his/her property and if they are aware that the tenant is making the neighbors angry, that's a deeply bad place to be for a landlord. Landlords rely on neighbors to keep an eye on their property and to inform them of undesirable behavior. If nothing else, they don't want drama from the neighbors about their property.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:52 PM on January 21, 2015 [3 favorites]

Tenants are--under your bog-standard lease in Illinois--responsible for criminal activity of their guests with regard to it being considered a breach of lease sufficient for eviction. Tenants can, generally speaking, be evicted for criminal behavior, even without some sort of arrest or conviction (the civil burden of demonstrating criminal behavior is different, and lower, than the burden of proof in a criminal court). If the lease does not state explicitly that criminal activity on the property is a breach of the lease, it's still grounds for eviction in Cook County at least--I'm not sure about the rest of Illinois. Under most standard form leases in Illinois, serious intentional damage to the property (regardless of criminal intent or effect) is sufficient to breach a lease and, again, the tenant can be held responsible for the behavior of a guest in this case.

It's actually pretty common in the US for criminal behavior to be considered breach of lease/grounds for eviction, even if it's not explicit in the lease. In part this is because most standard-clause mortgages allow the holder of the mortgage to call in the note (that is, declare the entire amount owing due in full) if criminal activity is happening on the property. Property owners can be sued for harm caused by their tenants under many civil legal theories, which is another reason a person can be evicted if they (or their guests) are engaging in criminal behavior on the property. It can be difficult to insure properties that have a bad reputation for criminal behavior, too.

In any event, even with a repeatedly violent guest, eviction proceedings take time. Breach of lease has a 10-day notice requirement in Illinois. After summons, it will be anywhere from 7 to 40 days until the first court date. Then the person being evicted usually gets 7-30 days to vacate. Then the Sheriff has to be scheduled. Then eviction happens. If your question is because you are the neighbor being threatened, relying on the landlord's option to evict is not your best option. If your question is because you're the tenant, eviction is likely the least of your worries.

This is, of course, not legal advice or the only possible outcome. There are free excellent landlord-tenant resources all over Illinois. Start with Illinois Legal Aid online and go from there.
posted by crush-onastick at 7:00 PM on January 21, 2015 [7 favorites]

I'm not sure what your goal is. Are you the landlord? Are you the guest? Is the neighbor parked on a public street? I think if it's a private lot versus a public street, it may be different, but I don't know a thing about parking law in Illinois.

IANAL, and this isn't legal advice.

OMG, you actually told us where you were from, so crush-onastick could dispense some fantastic advice. Do that.
posted by Sphinx at 7:05 PM on January 21, 2015

Wireless security cameras are amazingly cheap these days. Some require a power connection so are not truly wireless but there are quite a lot of outdoor security cameras which are powered by batteries, some powered by a standard 9 volt battery.

A very visible wireless camera might be a good solution [if I'm reading between the lines correctly] that will not put the tenant or yourself in jeopardy [she or he didn't call the cops, and neither did you, it's just a camera that the insurance company requested we install or they were going to increase our rates] with the tire slasher. I would also notify local law enforcement.
posted by vapidave at 7:27 PM on January 21, 2015

Security cameras are a good idea, but don't make them too visible: I could easily see a vandal (who is already known to have a criminal record!) vandalizing the cameras too, as well as having them focus his future vandalizing on that home/property. Not saying 'no camera', just don't make them too obvious unless you can divorce them from a specific residence. (Also consider motion-activated still cameras, like the ones for capturing shots of wildlife.)

And why haven't the police arrested this guy? Or are they trying to get more proof that it is indeed him?
posted by easily confused at 5:05 AM on January 22, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks to everyone so far - and I should point out I'm none of the involved parties, thankfully - just am interested in a good outcome and in showing the landlord how they might not be powerless in the situation.
posted by michaelh at 5:33 AM on January 22, 2015

Someone with more knowledge than I can probably go further with this, but is a restraining order an option?
posted by TedW at 7:05 AM on January 22, 2015

I doubt it, TedW: I think you have to specify who the restraining order is supposed to protect from whom, not just a general "we don't want this jerk in our neighborhood".

And remember, this vandal is being invited there as the guest of a legal resident.... would it do any good for someone (president/board of the HOA? The landlord?) to discuss this with that resident: tell them that their guest is damaging other residents' property, and ask that the vandal not be invited around?
posted by easily confused at 1:09 PM on January 24, 2015

I was thinking the residents who were threatened and/or vandalized might have cause for a restraining order, but I also know that sort of thing varies a lot between jurisdictions.
posted by TedW at 3:23 PM on January 24, 2015

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