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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 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).


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