Household Head Responsible for Guests’, Members’ Actions
Facts: Following neighbors’ complaints to management and after receiving at least one letter titled “Disturbing the Peaceful Enjoyment,” a resident received a notice to vacate her unit. The management cited her unit as a meeting place for narcotics dealers and pointed to the sale of narcotics in and around the premises as its reason for the eviction. The notice further indicated that the resident was previously warned about the lease violations. The notice informed her that due to criminal activity by members of her household and others under her control, her lease was terminated.
At trial, the manager testified that the resident wasn’t evicted for engaging in criminal activity. Rather, she was evicted due to the fact that the individuals that she invited or allowed to be in her unit had participated in criminal activity while on the site. The patrol officer testified that on several occasions he set up surveillance on her unit. He stated that he always considered it a “hub...where if you visit the River Garden, that’s where you see people congregating...and you see a lot of...very suspicious people.”
The trial court found that due to criminal activity taking place at or near the resident’s unit, the health, safety, and right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises by others was affected. The resident appealed.
Ruling: A Louisiana appeals court agreed with the lower court’s judgment.
Reasoning: The resident disputed whether the management was able prove that she, her household, or her guests had engaged in criminal activity that was either drug-related or threatened the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the other residents. The court pointed out that the management contended that her household or her guests engaged in criminal activity that led to her eviction and where the lease refers to “a guest or other person under the tenant’s control,” the resident controls who has access to the premises and is responsible for their activities.
Although the resident wasn’t personally involved in the criminal activity alleged, members of her household, guests, and others persons under her control participated in the complained-of activities. Members of her household allowed or invited guests and other persons to the property and, therefore, fell under the resident’s control. The household members, guests, and other persons allowed on the property participated in the complained-of activity that resulted in the eviction.
- River Garden Apartments v. Robinson, January 2013