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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2018
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    Louisville, Kentucky
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    Default Can You Kill Your Landlord Under the Castle Doctrine

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Kentucky

    Back in 2013, I rented my first apartment. Initially, I loved living there, and my landlord seemed OK. He was never a particularly nice guy, but he was reasonable. This was my first time living on my own, so I had no experience and little knowledge about the renting process.

    About a year or so after I moved in, the landlord started to show his true colors. I saw glimpses of it earlier; he would occasionally snap at me or raise his voice at me for no good reason. But a year into my tenancy, it became clear that he was certifiably insane. One day, he knocked on my door and then after I opened the door he barged in without asking for permission for entry. I asked him what he wanted, but he just sort of lingered around and started screwing with me, yelling at me, insulting me, and threatening me. I eventually pushed him out, and then he left. He later called me and said he was sorry; I thought this was just a one-time fluke incident, but it eventually became clear that he was insincere about his apology.
    Another day, he knocked on the door, and when I opened the door, he physically assaulted me. I grappled with him for a few moments and then got him in an armlock and threatened to break his arm. He calmed down somewhat. I then released him, punched him in the torso a few times, then kicked him out. He called later and said he was sorry. He than proceeded to follow this same pattern for weeks. He would come to my apartment in the afternoon after I got off work and harass me, and then eventually leave, and then before I had time to fully process the situation he would call me with a calm, reasonable tone and apologize. If at any time he came by and knocked and I didn't open the door, he would use his key to open it and then barge in. He once barged in my apartment and attacked me when I was eating dinner, he once swung open the door when I was using the bathroom, he barged in another time when I was cooking in the kitchen, and another time when I was taking a nap in my bedroom. He would often bring a friend of his with him and then both of them together would enter my home and just stand there and harass me and make fun of me. I would try to physically push them out, but they would resist me and continue to harass me. One time I pushed one of the landlord's friends out of my apartment and then he would just force his way back in, and this process would occur repeatedly. On at least one occasion while this was happening, I got my cell phone out of my pocket and called 911; this caused them to run away but 911 didn't really do anything about the problem and just told me to deal with it myself.

    He would regularly pick fights with me and then I would literally have to get into an all-out fist fight with him both inside my apartment and out in the yard. Once, he and a friend dropped by and the both of them ended up ganging up on me and seriously trying to hurt me, but I fought them both off. He would do things like this, then later he would call and say he was sorry. Then, as usual, sometime later he would come by and assault me again and then later say he was sorry, and the pattern would continue. He was basically treating me like his personal plaything.

    During the period in which this was happening, I tried reasoning with him, yelling at him, threatening him, but he would still keep coming back to harass me. I sometimes brandished a kitchen knife or even jabbed him in the stomach with it to scare him. Sometimes I would stick my finger in his eye sockets. On multiple occasions, I fought him and beat him up, punching and kicking him as hard as I could, but he seemed to have an exceptional tolerance for pain and his insanity seemed to dim his instincts for self-preservation, as he appeared to have no fear of bodily injury. I felt trapped and helpless; being my landlord, he knew where I lived, therefore he could just show up anytime he wanted and abuse me, or even enter my apartment with his key if he wanted to.

    I have since moved out of that place. However, I have been pondering the events that happened. My landlord was extremely disrespectful towards me, about as disrespectful as a person can be. I was a model tenant: I never made any trouble for him and I always paid my rent in full and on time. For him to treat me the way he did was gratuitous and unforgivable. When these things were going on, I was really tempted to kill him for treating me like this. But I kept stopping myself because I didn't know what the legal ramifications would be. At the time, I didn't own any dedicated weapons, like a gun; the most I had was a sharp kitchen knife. Numerous times I considered stabbing him with it.

    I know there is a thing in the law called the "castle doctrine" that says that people have a right to use violence to defend their homes from invasion, but I'm not sure how this applies to a tenant defending himself in his apartment against his own landlord. It is expected for a landlord to be inside a tenant's apartment from time to time; because of that, I worry that I may have had difficulty defending myself in court if I had killed him while he was inside my apartment. In the absence of video evidence, I don't know whether a jury would favor the tenant or the landlord in that situation.

    Essentially, my question is: Could I have legally killed my landlord? Also, should I have killed him? I know in hindsight that I probably should have just circumvented the whole issue and moved out after the first attack, but I would like to know what my rights and options are if a landlord were to ever do something like this to me again.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    16,474

    Default Re: Could I Have Killed My Landlord

    I am sorry but I think that you are trolling us.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    19,901

    Default Re: Could I Have Killed My Landlord

    I should point out even in states with castle doctrine and SYG laws, the implications for shooting a person are extremely severe even if you are eventually exonerated. Frankly, you should not rely on these laws as a way out of your homicidal activity.

    The fact that he's a jerk or is disrespectful or invading your privacy (and let me clue you in on something, in general, there's no right to RESPECT under the law), doesn't justify lethal force (or even less than lethal force).

    To answer the specific castle doctrine law you asked, Kentucky requires that the person to have unlawfully AND forcibly enrtered the property. Note the AND. If he enters as landlord legally, or even not forcibly (using the key for instance), you're on shakey ground under the law.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Louisville, Kentucky
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Could I Have Killed My Landlord

    Quote Quoting llworking
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    I am sorry but I think that you are trolling us.
    I assume you mean I'm making the story up. I assure you that everything that I said in the OP is true.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    38,867

    Default Re: Could I Have Killed My Landlord

    Quote Quoting rmb448
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    I assume you mean I'm making the story up. I assure you that everything that I said in the OP is true.
    I suggest that if you ever experience a landlord similar in personality you move asap. It was foolish to not take further actions against the landlord and now you pondering using lethal force shows you really need to remove yourself from any similar situations before you do something really dumb.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    3,212

    Default Re: Could I Have Killed My Landlord

    If anyone assaults you. You need to report it to the police. If anything were to happen. If you have no documented proof, police reports, hospital medical records, etc. It is doubtful anyone would believe you. One of the problems with people like your previous landlord is you never know what they might do next.

    Did you ask other tenants if they had the same experience with the landlord ?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Louisville, Kentucky
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    4

    Default Re: Could I Have Killed My Landlord

    Quote Quoting Mercy&Grace
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    Did you ask other tenants if they had the same experience with the landlord ?
    I didn't ask but I don't think anyone else had this problem. The landlord seemed to just have a personal issue with me.

    Quote Quoting Mercy&Grace
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    If anyone assaults you. You need to report it to the police. If anything were to happen. If you have no documented proof, police reports, hospital medical records, etc. It is doubtful anyone would believe you.
    I actually did call 911 numerous times. However, every time I called I kept getting an operator who was uncooperative and refused to send the police. All they would do was tell me that it wasn't necessary to send the police because I could just move out, but at the time I wasn't ready to move out, I just wanted the police to intervene.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Could I Have Killed My Landlord

    This is a strange, strange scenario on so many levels. To be honest, I don't buy it and think llworking may be right that this is fake. I suppose it could theoretically be a true story, but I very much doubt that. If you called 911 multiple times, I would think that in this type of scenario, the operator WOULD send the police even if the operator's personality was "uncooperative". Sending the police in this type of scenario is the 911 operator's job. However, if this were somehow true, why didn't you contact the police directly after one of these incidents? Also, it sounds as though during these numerous fights, you consistently were able to defend yourself. So, it seems very, very strange to me why he continued to attack you over and over. The idea of someone (even a deranged person) having no fear of injury like that is bizarre beyond words. If this post is somehow true, I am very, very curious what the motive was. Also, I'm guessing that you moved since this happened in 2013, hopefully. If anything like this situation were to repeat itself, you need to contact police ASAP. If you aren't able to contact them via 911 (which is one of the strangest parts of your story), then you need to contact them directly. A deranged, violent person could suddenly show up armed, out of the blue when you're least expecting it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Can You Kill Your Landlord Under the Castle Doctrine

    It doesn't matter if he's your landlord or isn't. In order for him to enter your home he would have to have a 24hr notice and the reason why he's entering your home. My brother lived in an apartment complex with a landlord that would let him self in. One day my brother was asleep in his room and was woke up by his landlord entering his bedroom yelling at him for whatever the reason. Words were exchanged and a few push an shoves. Thw landlord had called the police to get my brother arrested on assault for putting hands on him. Police got both sides and asked why the landlord made entry to my brothers apartment without any notice and my brothers actions were justified and told the landlord not to enter his apartment again without notice.
    But in your case i don't know how it would of played out if you were to killed him. It's good it didn't come to that and moved out from there.

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