Can you bring legal action against bad neighbors?
05/05/2009 - Category:Real Property - Neighbor Relations - State: CA #16571
My friend's neighbors in the apartment upstairs are constantly calling the parking enforcement officer on him for parking in the driveway of the apartment for which he pays rent. Both parties utilize this driveway at different times due to the cramped parking situations in the area. These tickets are getting costly. Are his neighbors therefore harassing him and does he have a good case to bring legal actions against them or perhaps sue them?
Traffic violations can be loosely defined as any acts that violate a state or municipalities traffic laws. Most laws are local, though the federal government does regulate some traffic aspects, and it can deny federal money in order to coerce states to pass particular traffic laws. Traffic laws vary by state, city, highway, and region. The most minor type of traffic violations are parking violations, which are not counted against a driving record, though a person can be arrested for unpaid violations. The effect of a traffic violation depends on the nature of the offense and on the record of the person receiving the traffic violation. Beyond the possibilities of fines and/or jail, other consequences of traffic violations can include traffic school, higher insurance premiums, and the suspension of driving privileges. Fines for traffic violations depend on the violation. Typically, states will have standard fines for a specific group of moving violations, with the fines increasing with the seriousness of the violation. Some states will also increase the fine if violators have other violations on their record. Courts will occasionally reduce fines on violations while still recording the violation as part of the violator's record.
Parking is governed by local laws and ordinances and typically enforced by the local municipality. If a car is parking in a no-parking zone, fire lane, or parked unlawfully in any manner, a citizen can simply call the local parking enforcement authorities and have the vehicle ticketed and/or towed. A car parking on private property without permission can be considered abandoned and can be towed away by order of the property owner; however, unless the property owner has some arrangement with the towing company, a charge will likely be assessed at the time of the tow. Broken cars or unsightly recreational vehicles parked on any property may violate a provision of the zoning code or perhaps Homeowner's Association rules. There must be a written agreement to enforce any agreement for sharing maintenance and/or towing expenses for a shared driveway.
Legal disputes in the area of neighbor relations can be unreasonably costly as disputes are typically about rights rather than monetary damages. Attorneys fees can run higher than any potential damage award by a court, and this fact can lead to both parties coming away dissatisfied and financially and emotionally drained. Increasingly widespread in recent years, alternative dispute resolution may be more helpful in resolving neighborhood disputes. In lieu of costly litigation, parties involved in a dispute may settle their differences through a mediation or arbitration. Essentially, arbitration differs from mediation in that arbitration uses a neutral third person who makes a decision after hearing from all sides. A mediator is also a neutral third party, but a mediator assists the parties in reaching an agreement rather than making the decision for the parties involved. Mediation, and arbitration to a degree, give the parties greater control in the outcome of the situation. The parties can also agree upon a framework in which any future disputes may be resolved. Mediation is an attempt by the parties to resolve a dispute with the aid of a neutral third party known as a mediator. The mediator is often an attorney or retired judge, but the parties may use any mediator. The mediator may offer advice or creative resolutions, but mediation is a non-binding process in which the parties must agree in order to reach some type of resolution. If the mediator is a licensed attorney, mediation proceedings can be fully confidential. In mediation, the parties are not bound to award only monetary damages as a court might be but instead can fashion a process and a solution especially well suited to the dispute between them.
The responsibilities of tenants are typically spelled out in a lease or rental agreement, including the tenant’s basic responsibility to reasonably use and care for the premises, including any common areas such as shared driveways. If such information is not included in the lease or rental agreement, an apartment management company or landlord should be able to provide specific requirements relating to tenant parking.
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05/05/2009 - Category: Neighbor Relations - State: CA #16571
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