What can I do about vandalism to my property due to the condition of a neighboring properties?

I own a condo in a complex of 8 condos. My condo is next door to a empty apartment complex and the owner isn’t taking care of the place; we get squatters. The same owner has 3 separate apartment complexes on the same street all in a row and all empty. I want to know my rights because I’m next door and I’ve had my condo broke into. I lost took everything I own. My gargage broken into, as well as my car and there was a fire on the side of my condo where my fence was torn down. I want to know can I take this owner to court for my losses? He is well known for having a lot of money, so I don’t understand why the apartments are the way they are.

Asked on March 28, 2016 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you can prove by a "preponderance of the evidence", such as security camera footage, police & arrest reports, the disposition of any criminal cases, etc. that the damage was done by the other owner's squatters, you can likely recover your losses from him in a lawsuit, since it would be negligent, or unreasonably careless, for a building owner to not maintain his property and allow it to be used by squatters and criminals. The issue is showing with some evidence that the problems came from his units; it's not enough that it's logical that was the source, but rather you have to have proof.


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