Threatened by housemate / landlord's boyfriend...

by Sharon
(Sarasota, FL)

I have been verbally attacked by my housemate's boyfriend. The housemate is also the homeowner, so in effect is my landlord. Three weeks after the threats, she gave her boyfriend a key to the dwelling. I am moving out on the 10th of October, six months before a date she and I agreed on.

I fear he will escalate his treatment of me before I can move, as he has already sent confrontational social media messages. Can she or her homeowner's insurance be sued, should he become physically violent toward me? Is there anything I can do to protect myself until I can move out? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Threatened by housemate / landlord's boyfriend...":

Sharon (Sarasota, FL):

Homeowner's insurance normally doesn't cover criminal actions resulting in injuries to third parties. If you are in fear of imminent serious bodily harm or death, it is your legal duty to move out and away from the threat.

While there is no excuse for one person to assault another, if a potential victim knows or should know they are placing themselves in danger, and ignores the danger, injuries sustained as a result of that danger may not be compensable in a civil lawsuit.

Legally, this is referred to as "mitigating your damages." You have a duty to do everything within reason to be sure you don't knowingly place yourself in danger.

You may be able to seek a restraining order against the man. To do so, you will have to submit an application to the courts. In many cases, the police department will assist a petitioner with the preparation of and filing of a restraining order.

If you are successful in obtaining a restraining order against the man, and he violates the order, he will be subject to arrest. Unfortunately, that still leaves you unprotected for any recovery of damages under the homeowner's insurance.

Your best course of action would be to leave. As difficult as it may be to do so, if you have a reasonable fear you may be assaulted, there is no reason why you should continue to put yourself in a vulnerable position.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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