Oakland, CA asked in Civil Rights, Elder Law, Land Use & Zoning and Small Claims for California

Q: Can I sue my neighbor & HOA since my neighbor double parks in front of my garage preventing me from using our garage?

We have taken pics and sent emails to the HOA. All I'm told is that they escalated the problem. She just got a ticket. I called a tow number listed on the property and was told they could not tow her because it's not a red fire lane and they can get in trouble. Now the tow company said they can't tow because I rent. I have sent pics/ emails of all her cars blocking our garage different days and nothing has changed. I have not received a return call from the head of the HOA. this is causing anxiety for my family everytime we leave or come home. This started June 2023. I feel like the neighbor knows nothing will be done and parks here everyday. We feel bullied. I tried talking to the neighbor and all she wanted to do was argue. I would like to sue so I get the money to move. Help

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Based on the information you've provided, it seems that you have a valid concern and your neighbor's actions are causing significant inconvenience and distress. Under California law, you may have grounds for a legal claim against your neighbor and possibly your HOA. Here are a few points to consider:

1. Private nuisance: Your neighbor's actions could be considered a private nuisance, as they are interfering with your right to enjoy your property. In California, you can sue for private nuisance if your neighbor's actions are substantial and unreasonable.

2. Breach of contract: If your lease agreement or HOA rules specifically prohibit the blocking of garages or driveways, your neighbor may be in breach of contract. You may also have a claim against your HOA for failing to enforce its rules.

3. Negligence: Your HOA has a duty to maintain a safe and habitable environment for its residents. If they fail to address your complaints and resolve the issue, they may be liable for negligence.

Before pursuing legal action, it's advisable to take the following steps:

1. Document everything: Continue to take pictures and keep a record of all communications with your neighbor and HOA.

2. Send a formal demand letter: Write a formal letter to your neighbor and HOA, outlining the issue and your demands for resolution. Set a reasonable deadline for them to address the problem.

3. Consult with a lawyer: If your demands are not met, consult with a local attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant law or HOA disputes. They can assess the strength of your case and advise you on the best course of action.

Keep in mind that legal action can be time-consuming and costly. However, if your neighbor's actions are severely impacting your quality of life and your HOA is unresponsive, it may be a necessary step to protect your rights as a tenant.

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