What can we do if we own our home and live in a half double and our neighbor is an old lady with cats who does not take care of their litter boxes?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What can we do if we own our home and live in a half double and our neighbor is an old lady with cats who does not take care of their litter boxes?

It’s to the point where our house reeks of cat urine. We have a 3 year old and a newborn. The oder is so strong it makes us sick on hot/warm days. I already spoke with her and she hasn’t done anything about the smell. We spend a lot of money a month on candles and carpet powder to get rid of the smell but by the end of the day the Oder comes back. Is there anything legally that we can do since we’ve been suffering for 3 years and no one will do anything. We’ve already tried talking to the city officials and no one will help.

Asked on January 11, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You can try filing a "nuisance" lawsuit against her: a nuisance is whether someone engages in behavior that is inappropriate for the property and its location, so as to disturb neighbors. While having cats is normal and acceptable, not keeping them clean can create a nuisance. Because of the strong element of subjectivity in whether a given condition is a nuisance or not, nuisance suits--which must be filed in regular county court, not small claims--are not certain or clear cut, but such a suit probably represents your best chance to force her (via  court order, if you win) to change her behavior.

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