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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Neighbor from Hell

Many small businesses are located in shared buildings. Here is a story of a neighbor you hopefully never have to experience.

This neighbor is a tenant with a lease for use of the property.  You may be either another tenant or an owner if the property is a condominium-type. The property has a number of shared utility facilities (water, drain pipes, power, cable, phone, etc. ) that pass through the units. On the infrequent occasion when a utility provider or the property management may need access to the utility facilities in this neighbor’s unit, the neighbor refuses to provide access accept at his convenience and only for a limited time. Now put this in the context of a water leak that needs repair, or a utility company that is hard to schedule it’s technicians. The only remedy here is to have the owner of the leased unit intervene and provide the needed access. Most likely there is a prior agreement with the property manager to have this access.

Now what should be done when this neighbor arrives to find the service personnel in the rented unit and screams and yells at them to: “Get out of here, I did not give you permission to enter my unit and I want you out of here now!”? The most likely result is that the service people leave, with the work not completed. Also the owner may ask the tenant to check the lease which provides for such access. The irate tenant ignores this advice. The police are engaged and they advise the tenant about the landlord-tenant laws that also provides this access. While all this is going on the service personnel leave for another assignment. And the water continues to do damage in the building or the service is not provided to the adjacent units, possibly shutting one or more businesses down.

Eventually the problem gets repaired. What about the potential or actual losses?

How would you handle this?


Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor



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