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The neighbor does not do repairs and maintenance to his attached house and it is affecting my property.

Brooklyn, NY |

His drains are clogged and my drain provides relief for his house storm water, his attached porch is crumbling and affecting my porch. The house was not maintain properly for decades: everything is falling apart. His is renting house to the single man who shares it with another younger man who sells drugs and having big parties with loud music. From garage the tenants made a laundry room, which could be a fire hazard due to gas dryer. My house losing value and it will be difficult to sell.

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Best Answer

Dear Brooklyn Home Owner:

You described a condition where your neighbor either intentionally or negligently is affecting your use of your property and causing damage to your property. You may have a cause of action against your neighbor for a private nuisance.


An action for a nuisance may be maintained in any case where such an action might have been maintained under the laws in force immediately before the taking effect of article seventh of title one of chapter fourteenth of the code of civil procedure as added thereto by chapter one hundred seventy-eight of the laws of eighteen hundred eighty. A person by whom the nuisance has been erected and a person to whom the real property has been transferred may be joined as defendants in such an action. A final judgment in favor of the plaintiff may award him damages or direct the removal of the nuisance or both. This section does not affect an action wherein the complaint demands judgment for a sum of money only. -

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Of course, you should document your claims. Photographs are important. A letter to the neighbor demanding correction may help you move this along. Hiring an attorney is a good forward step.

On your own you may report the owner to the New York City Department of Buildings by calling 311.

Good luck.

The answer provided to you is in the nature of general information. The general proposition being that you should try to avoid a bad outcome if you can.


Obviously a bad situation. Other people may have additional ideas, but here are my thoughts:
1) You can certainly call the NYPD and report the drug dealing. You are able to do this anonymously if you wish. This might get rid of this guy.
2) The kind of house we're talking about and the kind of agreement you have, if any, with your neighbor affects what you can do legally about the maintenance issues. Sometimes, if it's a duplex, you have a specific agreement that was created when the property was originally sold. If it's a typical Brooklyn brownstone or similar, however, you may need to start an action in court for waste. It depends on HOW this is affecting your property.

For example, is the wall between the buildings that is crumbling? If so, it is likely a party wall, and you may be able to sue on that basis. Similarly, if the porches are attached, the area where they meet may be considered an extension of the wall. There may be a party wall agreement on file that speaks to the responsibilities of the parties in this case. If not, you may still be able to file an action for waste regarding the damage he's causing your property. As fair warning, however, this may be an expensive proposition, and if he's not maintaining the building, there may not be a lot of money at the end of the lawsuit.

Finally, regarding all of these issues, you may want to call 311 and complain. This is a good self-help option, depending on how bad the damage to his building is. If it is a danger to other people, the Department of Buildings (DOB) may be able to require that repairs be made immediately. I've seen buildings in Manhattan threatened with this over facade issues.

The information provided herein should not be considered legal advice, and is provided for informational and discussion purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is created through this communication. You should always seek the advice of an experienced attorney and not rely on what people on the Internet, whether they are attorneys or not, tell you for informational purposes. If you're interested in retaining my services, please contact me at 516-308-2480.