Hoboken Legal Beagle – 3/25/2008
[note: If you want your questions answered, send email to Hoboken411@gmail.com (you MUST put this in the subject, or it may get overlooked: “Hoboken411 Legal Question“), and each week I’ll pick one (or maybe two – depending on the simplicity) question(s) that will be responded to by Hoboken411’s legal mastermind.]
Another week of Q&A!
Question of the week:
I am president of a Condo Association here in Hoboken. We have a rental building as a neighbor. They have all their garbage cans uncovered on their side of our adjoining property. However, this open garbage attracts raccoons if you can believe it as well as rats. Of course, the landlord doesn’t live there so he doesn’t care about the state of the building’s surroundings. What is the appropriate legal step to take? Do we send a nice letter to the landlord giving him time to rectify the situation by purchasing animal proof cans or do we contact some sort of local Health Department? Please advise at your convenience if you know. Thank you.
411 Legal Beagle says: As you will see, as this column progresses, the most important part of winning most disputes is presenting your facts and nothing but your facts in the best possible manner. The more documentary evidence you can get the better. So take a series of digital pictures, not video (video is hard to pass around via email and mail and is a burdensome media in court), time stamped and with closeups and wide views showing a consistent pattern of neglect. Once you have a series of pictures, print them out and create a set of exhibits that show in a chronological fashion the problem. Don’t be shy, make it into a little brochure and then name it something like “Rats vs Raccoons. Nightmare on 123 Acorn Street”.
Then take that brochure and mail it to everyone you can think of that could help. The Health department (and in Hoboken the Health department will jump on this situation), your councilperson (helping a building full of residents is a win win situation), since the other landlord can’t vote and your whole building is full of voters, the mayor’s office (again, any mayor would love to assist in such a situation), the sanitation department and of course the offending landlord. The more residents that sign off on the letter the better.
Send everything UPS with signed receipt option and I guarantee your next door neighbor will be hit with enough fines and court appearances that the situation will be remedied.
But let me add one real life caveat, every now and then in life we run into people that for lack of a better term are just a-holes. They just find it impossible to do the right thing, like the landlord Esmat Zaklama, who a reporter outed after he simply refused to fix a problem on his property that was destroying his neighbors property. See this link. In such a situation, you might have to get a lawyer. OR figure out a way to solve the problem on your own, such as your original thought to just buy the garbage cans and work with the tenants of the other building to remedy the situation.
In life we all have to pay taxes, income tax, sales tax, liquor tax, property tax and every now and again we are forced to pay an a-hole tax, for situations like this in which it may be easier to just pay some money and forget about it.
Send your questions in for next week’s Q&A session!
And remember, these answers are coming from a flying beagle, and should not be used as in place of competent advise from a human attorney. This feature is intended to give you legal information, not legal advice and is for general guidance only. Use at your own risk, and it’s recommended that you retain counsel on your own. Hoboken 411 is not liable for any loss, injury, claim, liability, or damage related to your use of the site, whether from errors or omissions in the content of our site or any other linked sites, from the site being down or from any other use of the site. In short, your use of the site is at your own risk.