Can a property owner be sued for non-repair of rental property?

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Can a property owner be sued for non-repair of rental property?

Property owner next door to my home (half duplex), failing to make repairs on property. Giant hole in foundation, back porch falling apart, old oil tank in crawl space, front porch needs to be totally redone. Building inspector in town has been contacted, and I was advised that owner would be cited.

Asked on January 16, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If the problems you describe have had an actual financial impact on you--and not just a theoretical lessening of value, since unless it is a permanent condition, that lessening is not realized until/unless you sell, at which time conditions may be very different--you might have grounds for a lawsuit. So if due to the appearance, etc. of your neighbor, you lost an opportunity to sell or rent your home, lost a mortgage because it lowered the appraisal value, etc., you may have a claim. In those cases, it would be worthwhile consulting with a real estate attorney about whether you have a cause of action and what it may be worth. However, without a loss, there is nothing to sue over; the law only provides compensation for actual losses, not theoretical ones.


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