SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — Neighbors fed up with a landlord at a San Jose apartment complex are celebrating a legal victory this weekend.

A judge ruled that landlord William Robertson was responsible for the routine partying, public drinking, and drug dealing that’s been a longstanding complaint of homeowners who live near his apartment complex.

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“There were drug dealers on the corner. There was a chop shop. It was not a place where you’d want to raise your children,” homeowner Susan Rice-Jang told KPIX 5.

Price-Jang spearheaded the effort to hold Robertson and other absentee landlords accountable for the conditions in the apartments they own.

She claims that crime had taken root, and plagued the apartments ever since Robertson bought part of the complex.

After years of emails and phone calls that went unreturned, Price-Jang convinced her neighbors to pursue a unique legal strategy, suing Robertson in small claims court for damaging their property values and quality of life.

“We argued that the problems are caused by your tenants and their friends. Therefore, you should be held accountable for that. And, the judge agreed with us,” Price-Jang said.

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In court documents, Robertson claimed he wasn’t aware of the problems, and even if he was, had no control over them.

The judge sided with neighbors, and in a potentially precedent-setting decision, ordered him to pay each plaintiff nearly $1,100.

“Bad landlords have an impact on neighborhoods,” Price-Jang said.

We tried to contact the landlord and property management company for comment, but did not hear back.

 

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