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Recording roommate with my phone in communal areas

So -- my crazy roommate called the cops on me and police wer dalocummelioribus12/02/18
This has less to do with one party consent than it does with onehell12/03/18
180 midlaw12/04/18
If I were you, I'd do what I can to get the roommate out whe jd4hire12/03/18
OP doesn't realize that they seem to deserve each other triplesix12/03/18
Ergo, they're roommates. Sounds like a love affair gone bad jeffm12/03/18
Fun times. Reminds me of the time we had to evict my wife's finklebots12/03/18
Jd4hire: yes, my attorney has already filed eviction papers dalocummelioribus12/03/18
onehell: I dont eavesdrop. I simply record it whenever i dalocummelioribus12/03/18
Eviction is time consuming and expensive. Just offer him mo dingbat12/04/18
I wish I could do that! He absolutely refuses to leave or di dalocummelioribus12/04/18
Can you not get a TRO for a bit? Has he made any threats or jd4hire12/05/18
If I changed the locks, all he has to do is call the police dalocummelioribus12/05/18
I was about to give a different response, but if I recall co dingbat12/05/18
He has a JD, but had planned to take the Bar Exam in Februar dalocummelioribus12/06/18
for C&F you have to disclose any legal proceeding to which y dingbat12/06/18
I'm not a lawyer though - I studied law but don't work as a dalocummelioribus12/06/18
for a very different take on the same issue, have you consid dingbat12/06/18
I have not even considered this -- my rent deal is too good dalocummelioribus12/06/18
Good luck, bro. Hope you dont end up being attacked while superttthero12/06/18
Ha! Thanks -- I lock my bedroom door at night always, just i dalocummelioribus12/06/18
But an affordable NY apartment is worth the risk dingbat12/06/18
Definitely! I got it for dirt cheap (for NYC standards), its dalocummelioribus12/06/18

dalocummelioribus (Dec 2, 2018 - 7:25 pm)

So -- my crazy roommate called the cops on me and police were very angry at him for wasting their time. They took my side when they saw just how insane he is. His claim is that (this is NY State) I am not allowed to video record him in my house -- I record him in the kitchen and living room, which are communal areas. My understanding is that in NY State this is legal. I record him with my phone because he is belligerent and to protect myself. He comes from California, where I think this is not quite legal...but NY is a one party consent state when it comes to recording in public or communal areas. Any knowledge on this? Police told me to not talk to him since he is obviously crazy...but there is also not much they can do since he has not physically threatened me or threatened me with specific harm. A lawsuit is filed against him now for holdover eviction (he's not on the lease).

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onehell (Dec 3, 2018 - 1:07 pm)

This has less to do with one party consent than it does with eavesdropping.

I'm not in NY, but usually one-party consent means you can secretly tape conversations to which you are a party, but that doesn't mean you can record conversations in which you are not a participant.

In other words, there's a big difference between secretly taping your own conversations and "bugging" a room, which is usually a crime under the wiretapping statutes even in a one-party consent state. This comes up most frequently with "nanny cams" where most states hold that it is legal to have the visual recording so long as it is only in common areas and, this is the big one, so long as it doesn't include audio.

Bottom line: In a one-party consent state you are usually fine if you are in common areas (no bathrooms as you obviously already know) and taping either (a) conversations to which you are a party or (b) recording visual only. But if you "bug" your living room and secretly tape the audio of conversations to which you are not a party, wiretapping statutes typically make this a crime even in a one-party consent state. Doesn't sound like you've crossed that line, but I usually like to mention that one-party consent means just what it says: Consent of one party or the other to a conversation. It's not carte-blanche to bug a room, even if it is your own living room.

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midlaw (Dec 4, 2018 - 10:09 pm)

180

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jd4hire (Dec 3, 2018 - 1:32 pm)

If I were you, I'd do what I can to get the roommate out whether through eviction or friendly negotiation and move on.

I would try and avoid escalating the situation. I wasn't there, so I have no clue, but recording someone for no reason could escalate a situation.

I'd wait to record until they start acting belligerent. If they act belligerent 24/7 go get a TRO.

Recording someone beat you up won't protect you. You might get a video worthy of a Tosh.O appearance and some evidence, but I don't see the point. It seems more like childish antagonism as opposed to mature behavior. The pettiness is consistent with taking your roommate's cover letter (presumably taken from his/her personal property, i.e. a laptop) and posting on the internet for validation that your roommate sucks. At best, you took it from a communal computer (given your descriptions on here, I doubt you two share communal property of that nature). Again, I wasn't there, but if in law school my roommate just randomly recorded me in common areas, I'd get pretty annoyed pretty quickly. I could see myself breaking their phone or engaging in other tactics to get back at them. It certainly would not cause me to be calm as a cucumber.

If my wife recorded me randomly, I'd probs try and put the moves on her.

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triplesix (Dec 3, 2018 - 1:44 pm)

OP doesn't realize that they seem to deserve each other

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jeffm (Dec 3, 2018 - 4:01 pm)

Ergo, they're roommates. Sounds like a love affair gone bad, followed by a huge waste of many lawyer's time.

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finklebots (Dec 3, 2018 - 3:47 pm)

Fun times. Reminds me of the time we had to evict my wife's roommate after she became suicidal over a break up, drove her car off a cliff, discharged to our care, (mom wouldn't take her in likely due to prior suicide attempt) and proceeded to bring random dudes home from the bar every night.

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dalocummelioribus (Dec 3, 2018 - 4:29 pm)

Jd4hire: yes, my attorney has already filed eviction papers so all that is in the works.

As for the cover letter, NO. He sent me the cover letter long ago when he was looking for a job. There is no "communal" computer in my house.

All you guys are saying one thing, but there's a reason police did nothing to me and threatened him with arrest instead.

I record him in the living room and kitchen only when he speaks to me.

There is no "love affair" here, trust me.

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dalocummelioribus (Dec 3, 2018 - 4:32 pm)

onehell:

I dont eavesdrop. I simply record it whenever it addresses me in either the living room or kitchen. I don't record conversations he has with others in his room.

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dingbat (Dec 4, 2018 - 4:38 pm)

Eviction is time consuming and expensive. Just offer him money to get out (and renege when it cover time to pay)

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dalocummelioribus (Dec 4, 2018 - 8:15 pm)

I wish I could do that! He absolutely refuses to leave or discuss anything...so I have no choice but to go through this expensive hell. He called the cops on me yet again yesterday, again with no results for him. I filed a police report for harrassment.

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jd4hire (Dec 5, 2018 - 9:37 am)

Can you not get a TRO for a bit? Has he made any threats or do you fear for your safety?

You could also engage in some old-fashioned self-help and just change the locks and deal with whatever follows. That would push the burden on him to go through an annoying, time-consuming process. Although that could backfire if he did actually go through a process of pursuing something against you.

Last, are you annoyed enough to leave? That might be the easiest possibility.

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dalocummelioribus (Dec 5, 2018 - 8:06 pm)

If I changed the locks, all he has to do is call the police and they would force me to open the door for him again. He can then bring a claim against me and there would be legal consequences. I'm very much disgusted and disturbed at this point, but the only possibility is to move forward with this eviction holdover process. Thankfully I already have a court date. There is no way in hell I'd move out of my ideal apartment because of him.

TRO: He has not made any verbal threats against me nor has he assaulted me yet, so it would be very difficult to get a TRO. He is much bigger than me though...but for now, I wouldn't have a case against him on that end.

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dingbat (Dec 5, 2018 - 10:19 pm)

I was about to give a different response, but if I recall correctly, he's a law student who has not yet been admitted, correct?

Calmly explain to him that you're about to start eviction proceedings, and that C&F will require a copy of the final judgment. Then explain to him that it could cause problems for him to get admitted.

Basically, you can royally screw over his future, and you should make him aware of that fact. Maybe that can expedite matters.

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dalocummelioribus (Dec 6, 2018 - 1:49 pm)

He has a JD, but had planned to take the Bar Exam in February 2019 (or so he told me back a few months ago when he was at least semi-normal).

We are not on speaking terms at this point and so, I will definitely mention this to my attorney. I was not aware that could be an issue for C&F, so I appreciate the info. Thank you.

I definitely think he's gone insane -- even the police officer spoke with me privately and told me it seems he clearly has mental issues. I think his transition to NYC messed him up in the mind. He was always a bit "off", but at least he was working. Court date is set for 12/21. He may adjourn, but we'll see what happens. I have a camera in the kitchen for my own safety and he hates that...but if I catch him doing any vandalism, etc, police will be called. The good thing is that I mostly work from home, so I am here a lot to check whatever he does.

I also know that NY State is very strict about debt background and mental issues/substance abuse. This POS has 2 DUI convictions while he was in Law School - Whittier, California. He is a walking disaster, gets very angry easily etc. He yelled at police telling them "you are taking his side, STEP AWAY FROM MEEEE!"...it was a circus to watch.

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dingbat (Dec 6, 2018 - 2:50 pm)

for C&F you have to disclose any legal proceeding to which you were a party (note that this includes you). NY is, in my experience, the easiest state for C&F (but mental health and debt are, in every state, the two biggest issues).

I don't recall about NY's take on legal matters, but every other state I'm familiar with will want a copy of the final ruling as well as a written explanation.

Note: you want to be careful to make sure it doesn't case you in a bad light either.

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dalocummelioribus (Dec 6, 2018 - 5:11 pm)

I'm not a lawyer though - I studied law but don't work as an attorney.

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dingbat (Dec 6, 2018 - 2:51 pm)

for a very different take on the same issue, have you considered moving out?

I know a good new york apartment is invaluable and worth holding on to, but, perhaps it might be better for you to exit

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dalocummelioribus (Dec 6, 2018 - 5:13 pm)

I have not even considered this -- my rent deal is too good here for me to move out. If I should lose this case (which I seriously seriously doubt it considering I am legally in the right in every respect both evidence and lease wise), then I may consider it and the landlady would have to deal with it. Under NY Law he is considered a licensee, not a tenant - he has no written lease with me or the landlady, so this is why this is a licensee holdover case. His options are running out, but he is very deluded and thinks this is a win for him.

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superttthero (Dec 6, 2018 - 5:49 pm)

Good luck, bro.

Hope you dont end up being attacked while you sleep. Crazy people are unpredictable.

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dalocummelioribus (Dec 6, 2018 - 6:09 pm)

Ha! Thanks -- I lock my bedroom door at night always, just in case. This guy is truly unpredictable. One day I hear him laughing and talking normally on the phone as if nothing is happening, the next day he'll come and call cops on me for say, "not letting me use the fridge" -- he actually called 911 for that. There ought to be a law against wasting time like that on a vital resource like 911.

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dingbat (Dec 6, 2018 - 6:41 pm)

But an affordable NY apartment is worth the risk

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dalocummelioribus (Dec 6, 2018 - 6:52 pm)

Definitely! I got it for dirt cheap (for NYC standards), its a great location (for me) and it's huge. Very old school walkup, only 3 families...very much in need of TLC but I like it like that. The stairs creak on the way up. The only "good" thing about this apt in terms of the roommmate is that his room is actually outside the apartment in the hall - meaning, he has to enter the actual apt to use the bathroom which is in the kitchen. So for the most part, his room is isolated and away from me.

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