Hoboken Legal Beagle – 7/17/2008
A bonus Hoboken Legal Beagle entry for today!
What’s up with abandoned buildings?
“I have a question about abandoned buildings.
I live next door to a boarded up brownstone, which is the storage and sometime dwelling of some of Hoboken’s homeless. I’ve had the police remove such person, and chased them away myself after finding some destruction to my property. I’m wondering what is the law concerning these unkept, dilapidated dwellings? Is there an owner? Wouldn’t taxes need to be paid? If not, what should the town do?
The backyard is severely overgrown and it grosses me out to think about what is growing or living inside.
Any idea what can be done here?”
411 Legal Beagle says:
I answered a similar question a while ago where the next door building’s garbage was causing a nuisance. You can refer to that answer for a detailed and for most people, an unrealistic way of bringing in all city agencies and sending certified mails and getting your council person involved to try and help.
But this is an even worse situation, since it is very hard to enforce the laws if the person you are enforcing them against just doesn’t care. And with an abandoned building in Hoboken you have to figure that something is wrong. If I were to take this on as a attorney client matter my initial retainer would be at least $750 to just investigate the matter and then, depending on who owns and is ultimately responsible for the property, could possibly file a lawsuit to compel the upkeep of the property. But then the cost would be at least $2,500 for instituting a lawsuit that may not solve your problem. (and then or course your legal bills become an even a bigger problem! )
I do know the health department will get involved, if they can find the owner. But with abandoned buildings it is never easy to find an owner. This is how neighborhoods deteriorate, one building after another. It happened in Hoboken during the 60’s and 70’s and it was not a pretty site.