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I live in a condo and my neighbor with a shared wall has violent and profane outbursts. We believe he has a mental problem and has episodes of loud yelling and slamming doors/throwing furniture. It happens all hours of the day and occasionally wakes us up at night. We know he's not well and he probably cannot control his outbursts, but it's disturbing for us and at times scary. He has never made a direct threat towards us, so do we have any rights here? We just purchased our unit so selling and moving is not an option right now. Also, not sure what my first action would be, police or HOA board? Any advice is appreciated.

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    Sounds the same as any other noise nuisance, so the resolution should be the same in your jurisdiction? – Moo Apr 19 at 23:31
  • Thanks. It seemed like it would be different since he can't really control it? – jcar1986 Apr 19 at 23:41
  • Then he needs professional care and attention, and raising this to the appropriate authorities should be one way for him to get that. – Moo Apr 20 at 0:10
  • Good question. Like many neighbor problems, not one with an easy answer as the answer provided indicates. – ohwilleke May 20 at 22:07
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The police can take him in for an evaluation. However, to permanently commit him requires you demonstrate he is likely to harm himself or others to a burden of "clear and convincing evidence", which is difficult. It's feasible he's having what are called Autistic Meltdowns. If those outbursts are emergent from a mental health issue the Fair Housing Act will likely prevent the HOA from enforcing anything related to noise. I have read multiple cases in which judges have allowed persons with mental illness to get away with unbelievably obscene and outrageous behavior because of the FHA. I would call the police the next time it happens to do a welfare check. It's unlikely the HOA will be able to do anything. If they determine he may be dangerous they'll take him to the hospital for an evaluation.

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  • I would be reluctant to put a name on the condition, since it doesn't really affect the outcome ... – Azor Ahai -him- Apr 20 at 17:11
  • @AzorAhai I said "its feasible". Truthfully that's the only condition that comes to mind that causes somebody to have outbursts like that. Whether or not those outbursts are related to underlying mental illness is extremely relevant to the outcome. – David Reed Apr 20 at 17:15
  • I'm just saying whether it's specifically an autistic meltdown or something else isn't relevant. Typically we wouldn't want non-psychologists diagnosing things, especially not over a text description. – Azor Ahai -him- Apr 20 at 17:33
  • @AzorAhai I agree with you. I would never presume to diagnose somebody with a condition with such little information. I don't really feel like that's what I did though. I listed that as a possible explanation for that behavior. To say "its possible that someone has condition X" is different than saying "He has condition X" or "Sounds like he has condition X". – David Reed Apr 20 at 17:38
  • Thanks for your feedback! I'm sure he has already been evaluated, so I doubt there police can do anything further. And based on what you said regarding the FHA, it seems like nothing can be done at all. Honestly, I feel really bad for him and I'm sure his home is the best place for him to be... but I also gave 3 small children and the yelling and violence on the other side of paper thin walls is just frightening for all of us. – jcar1986 Apr 22 at 23:53

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