Public Nuisance Abatement
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Public Nuisance Abatement: How to Fix Issues With Problem Neighborhood Properties
Is there a house causing problems on your block? There are number of issues that can arise with local properties that can become a nuisance. These issues can include:
- Domestic Violence
- Trash Accumulation
- House Dilapidation
Although a call to the police can temporarily resolve an issue, sometimes a more permanent fix is necessary. Fortunately, the law offers many different tools you can use to fix public nuisance issues in your neighborhood.
Often the most effective way of permanently resolving a public nuisance issue is through the voluntary compliance of the individual responsible for the problem. Here, although diplomatic efforts may have been attempted in the past, a letter from an experienced attorney can help add the appropriate motivation to get the individual(s) responsible for the problem to remedy the situation. An experienced attorney will be able to identify your rights as a neighbor and inform the individual responsible for the problem what legal consequences they may face if they fail to comply.
In some instances, the owner of the property may be unaware of the nuisance being caused by tenants or unauthorized squatters. In these situations, an owner is likely to appreciate the notification and quickly take measures to protect their property.
If voluntary compliance is unsuccessful, there are a number of other public and private remedies that can be used to permanently fix the issue.
Private Nuisance Lawsuit
If a neighboring property is interfering with your use and enjoyment of your home, then you may be able to bring a private nuisance lawsuit. If successful, the court may order for the nuisance to cease and you may be entitled to money damages.
Public Nuisance Lawsuit
If a property is threatening the health, safety, convenience, or welfare of the community generally, a public nuisance lawsuit may be appropriate. In these instances, private individuals may not be able to bring a suit on their own, however, they may reach out to city officials and request the city take appropriate legal action.
Inspection and Abatement Warrants
If there is a specific issue on a property that needs attention (e.g. a trash pile-up, unmaintained yard), the city can petition the court to obtain an inspection or abatement warrant to enter the property for the purpose of fixing the specific issue. This is good for quick-fixes, but certain problems need more permanent solutions.
Drug Abatement and Red Light Litigation
There are specific laws that provide remedies for properties being unlawfully used for drug or prostitution purposes. Here, occupants using a house for unlawful purposes can be evicted and the property can be court-protected from further misuse. However, in order to use these laws to resolve a public nuisance issue of this type, attorneys will need documented evidence of the drug or prostitution activity.
If you suspect there is ongoing drug or prostitution activity occurring at a neighboring property, you should contact the police as they can investigate the issue and provide important facts to help attorneys take legal action.
Receiverships for Abandoned Property
Sometimes a property is left unattended by the death of an owner or abandonment. Here, it may be difficult to fix an issue if there is no one available to take responsibility for the problem. Fortunately, in these situations a city may petition the court to hand the property over to a qualified receiver to remedy the situation.
A receiver is an individual or entity willing to take-on abandoned properties, fix them, and sell them to a new owner.
In some instances, where a property has been abandoned and is dilapidated beyond repair, the best solution is to have the property demolished. Here, you can contact local city authorities to report such a property and the city can take action to have it removed if necessary.
Contacting an Attorney
If you are having a nuisance issue with a neighboring property, you should contact an attorney to help you identify and pursue the remedies that are available to you.
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Last Modified: 01-19-2015 02:22 PM PST
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