Can I sue a nursing home for neglecting a section of their property?

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Can I sue a nursing home for neglecting a section of their property?

I live behind a nursing home. The nursing home purchased a flower shop directly next door to my house with plans of expanding their property. It has been almost 2 years since the purchase of the flower shop and no ground has been broken to begin their expansion. The nursing home claims the city is giving them trouble with permits because the florist is considered a historical building. This has left the old flower shop condemned and vulnerable to squatters. There have been countless squatters, homeless people, etc. in and out of that building. We made the nursing home aware of this and they boarded up the windows and doors but the squatters still found a way in. They then put chains on the doors and stronger boarding on the windows. Since it has been vacant for almost 2 years now, squatters know this location is available to sleep in and do drugs. Today I saw a women shooting heroin on the flower shop stoop. I don’t think the squatting and drugs would be as big of a problem as it’s getting if the flower shop didn’t negelect the land. As they wait for the city to issue their permits, they leave that plot of land to over grow with weeds and be inhabited by drug users. This is posing a danger to me and negatively effecting the value and safety of the neighborhood. What can I do?

Asked on July 3, 2018 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you cannot sue them. You can only sue someone when they violate a duty owed to you under the law or a contract, but the law imposes no duty on property owners to keep up their property for the benefit of neighbors or neighbors' property values; without such a duty, there is no basis for a lawsuit. The best you can do is report them to the city housing, sanitation and health departments; if they are violating ordinances, they can be fined.


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