I live in the city limits of a small town in a residential zone.My neighbor on the corner has turned his property into a junk yard(literally). The city/county has no intentions of making him clean it up. It is unsightly and I think dangerous.It brings my properties worth way down. Can I sue the neighbor and city/county in order to recover damages?
3 Answers from Attorneys
You fail to state what law or ordinance the neighbor has violated, or the basis for any lawsuit. A mere opinion about how it looks or whether it is dangerous is largely irrelevant. Further, even if there are violations, the remedy is to push the city or county to enforce the laws, and not for neighbors to sue for damages. Keep pushing the city or county if there are violations, or see a qualified real estate litigation lawyer to build a better case to push them. Attend council/commission meetings.
Yes. A cause of action for nuisance arises from an unreasonable, unwarranted or unlwaful use by a person of his own property, which works some obstruction or injury to the right of another's use and enjoyment of their property. Nuisances are classifeid as public or private. A public nuisance affects an indefintie number of persons, or all the residents of a particular locality. Maintaining a public nuisance genrally involves some act or failure ot act that allows a condition to to exist which injures or endangers the public health, safety or welfare.
An invasion of a person's interst in the private use and enjoyment of land through any type of liability forming conduct is a private nuisance. This is a tort against a private person and is actionable as such.
If your neighbor's junkyard is infested with rodents, etc, it might be a public nuisance. You can recover damages for the loss of the use and enjoyment of your property, but what you really want is for him to clean it up, right? You could possibly compel him to do that in a lawsuit.
This type of a case would be handled by an attorney at an hourly rate. Your best option might be to get some neighbors together who are also affected and pool your resources. A case like this could easily cost $5-10K or more in attorney's fees and costs. You would need an expert to testify as to the dimunition in value of your property due to its proximity to the neighbor.
Check your local ordinances to see what violations are occuring. Also, if there is evidence of rodents on the property, the health department may be able to do something about it.
Thank you for contactng me. If you would like to discuss further, please call me.
Before I would even consider a lawsuit I would contact my local city or county representative to see if they could be of any assistance in seeing if any of the local ordinances have been violated. You may even be able to get on the agenda of the next city or county council meeting to discuss you concerns and see what remedies are available through the local government.