In a perfect world, you have great neighbors who you not only like and respect but who are also willing to step up and lend a hand whenever needed. The problem is that we don’t live in a perfect world. While some of us are blessed with fantastic neighbors, others have neighbors who seem determined to make life as miserable as possible.
If you are someone who is cursed with horrible neighbors, it’s perfectly natural to wonder if you can sue your neighbor for harassment.
The simple answer is yes. California law does permit you to sue your neighbor for harassment, but it’s something you should carefully consider before you take action.
The first thing you have to consider is whether you’ve been harassed. California law doesn’t permit you to sue your neighbor for harassment if they simply park their car in your spot or refuse to mow their lawn when you think they should.
According to California’s Code of Civil Procedure 527.6, you can only sue your neighbor for harassment if there has been a credible and provable threat of violence and acts of unlawful violence. In order for a threat to be credible, something must have been said or done in a manner that makes you fear for your safety.
The challenge is that you have to prove the credible threat was made and that isn’t always easy to do. If you and the neighbor were the only ones present when the incident occurred, it comes down to who has the more believable story. In many cases, neither side can make a strong case and the judge ultimately dismisses the entire case.
If you are being harassed by your neighbor, it’s in your best interest to start documenting the situation. This could mean taking photos, making sure there is another person present whenever you encounter your neighbor or filing police reports. The better your documentation, the stronger your case will be.
Another thing to consider when deciding if you should sue your neighbor for harassment is your quality of life following the lawsuit. Unless you or your neighbor plan on moving, you could potentially be neighbors for several years. Considering how stressed the relationship currently is between the pair of you, how much more complicated will your home life become after you’ve filed harassment charges.