Can a bank be legally pressured to deal with a rodent infestation in their foreclosed property?

UPDATED: Aug 24, 2011

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Can a bank be legally pressured to deal with a rodent infestation in their foreclosed property?

We are renting a townhome and the unit next door is an end unit and has been abandoned for a year. It has just recently officially become bank owned. During the past year the basement in that unit has flooded twice – it was never been cleaned up. We are now experiencing a mouse/cockroach infestation that we suspect is coming from the empty house next door. How can we (or our landlords) get the bank concerned (Fannie Mae) to take care of the situation next door before it gets worse?

Asked on August 24, 2011 Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

A bank has the same obligations as any other property owner. In your case, the bank has to abate any nuisances or health hazards its property creates. You have two routes to get the bank moving on this:

First, try contacting your local department of health and/or the building's department--if the bank is violating any local health laws, ordinances, etc., your town government should cite  them and pressure them to clean it up.

Second, you could sue the bank for the nuisance--e.g. for the cost to get rid of the pests on your land, and for a court order (injunction) requiring them to take care of the problem on their own. For cost reasons, it'd be better if the town intervenes, so you might try that route first, then contact a private attorney if nothing is happening (or is not happening fast enough).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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