Sue Thy Neighbor: Homeowner Spats Get Nastier
Some attorneys see a downside to people spending more time at home during the pandemic, saying they’ve seen a lawsuit increase over fences, trees, borders and more.
NEW YORK – Although legal disputes over fences, hedges, additions and property borders are commonplace, some attorneys say that spending an extended period of time at home during the pandemic caused tensions to flare.
Disputes of late have focused on flying dirt, flowerpot placement and stray balls entering neighbor’s yards.
“It’s not about money,” says lawyer Simon Offord, who is representing a couple in a turbulent California dispute over driveway boundaries. “Their emotions dictate how they deal with the cases, instead of dollars and cents like in business decisions.”
Attorney and mediator Emily Doskow says trees, fences, parking and noise are the top reasons for clashes between neighbors, “probably in that order.”
The nonprofit New York Peace Institute reported receiving more neighbor-dispute calls during the pandemic, and program manager Jessica Lopez says the caseload has not abated in the last two years. “It’s a new normal,” she observed.
Source: Wall Street Journal (01/22/23) Ramey, Corinne
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