A friend of mine is having problems with another tenant harassing her, what legal action can she take?
The tenant who lives above her will shut off her power, heat, and water when ever he feels like she has been smoking in her home, which she does not because the lease tells her she cannot. The gentleman will also pound on her door at 2 am to complain that he smells smoke, or will call the police anytime she has a friend over or just to call the police on her. Is there anything that she can do to make this form of harassment stop? As far as what she tells me the landlord has yet to deal with anything regarding her complaint.
1) The landlord has a duty to allow tenants the right to "quiet enjoyment" of the premises they rent. This means not just not disturbing the tenant him/herself, but also not allowing other people under the landlord's control, such as other tenants, to disturb or harass. The landlord has a legal obligation to intervene when one tenant is harassing or disturbing the other, and if necessary, your friend could sue the landlord both to force him/her to take action (up to evicting the other tenant), as well as possibly for monetary damages.
2) Your friend may very well have several possible legal actions against the other tenant, such as for harassment, for tortious interference with a contractual relationship (if your friend is directly on the bill for any of the services that are cut off) and for misuse or abuse of process (making false claims to the police.)
3) If the tenant is pounding on the door at 2am, your friend could probably call the police on him: harassment, nuisance, possibly even saying that he is trying to break in or threatening her.
Your friend should speak with an attorney, who could advise her on which course of action are most likely to be most beneficial; the attorney can also start the legal ball rolling.