Criminology and Forensic Psychology/Harassed and threatened
Iím being harassed and threatened. I need some creative solutions. The police say they canít help.
A nutcase bought the adjacent townhouse and has harassed me from the outset. My husband and I arenít home much; so she informed me that my property is vacant so she now owns it. She says that I just use the property for storage and thatís illegal and so itís illegal for me to enter my own home or be on my property. She reported my property to L&I as being abandoned. Twice I had to have my mail service reinstated as she directed the carrier to stop mail delivery.
When I come home she charges out her door screaming and filming me with her iphone, which she shoves in my face, while trespassing on my property. One time she had scissors in hand and has made anti-Semitic remarks as she believes Iím Jewish.
I put my trash at the curb for pickup and she pulled the bags back to my yard and dumped the trash all over and then sent photos of the mess to L&I for ďenforcementĒ. Next time we put the trash out, she screamed that she was having my husband arrested for illegal dumping. She grabbed the trash bags at the curb and threw them up the sidewalk while charging at my husband with her iphone camera. She then contacted the police, who declined to arrest my husband, but who insisted that we put the trash across our driveway to accommodate her and avoid a problem. Accommodating her has only made matters worse.
She has threatened to burn my house down. She turns around every threat and tells the police that my husband or I made that exact threat against her. There are many people in and out of her house but none get involved and so she calls her mother who lives some distance away. Her mother arrives; jumps out of the car with her iphone in hand and starts filming.
Her and her mother must have done this before, as it seems to be a routine for them. I wonder if they are nuts or are con artists seeking to provoke my husband to physically respond so they can sue. We live in fear for our lives. We have no privacy. The police canít help until after there is a crime with evidence. I donít have thousands to spend on an attorney and Iím not sure an attorney could help. The neighbor is nuts and will not engage in a rational conversation and appeasement doesnít work. I need some creative solutions. What can I do?
It sounds like your neighbor is mentally ill or trying to execute on a scam to dispossess your house. A person can claim unused property and land under the legal concept of adverse possession. Adverse possession generally represents a way to obtain ownership of someone else's land without paying for it. While each state has specific rules that must be followed, most aspects involve claiming the land openly, notoriously, hostilely, exclusively and continuously. Here are the steps in brief:
1. Maintain open and notorious possession of the property. The public usually must be aware that you are claiming the land. One way to take open possession is by residing on the property so that people visibly can notice your claim. If you are living in a separate city, your claims will not have merit.
2. Possess the necessary intent, which usually refers to claiming the land under hostility. You cannot claim that land as unused if the property owner on record (e.g., title holder) gave you permission or knows that you are on the property. For instance, a tenant cannot prove that an apartment is unused by the landlord since the rental agreement establishes that the property is being rented.
3. Reside on the land exclusively without anyone else who might make a claim. For example, you could satisfy the exclusive element by living on the property with your immediate family, such as your minor children. You would not be residing exclusively if your siblings and their families lived on the property with you.
4. Maintain a continuous and uninterrupted residence on the unused land. If you live on the property for one year and subsequently leave, your previous claim is lost or nonexistent.
5. Review the state's statute of limitations for adverse possession claims. The statute of limitations provides a time frame that property owners have to dispute any claims. Some states recognise claims of unused land after seven years. In New York, for example, the statutory period is 10 years, which means that you must openly, notoriously, hostilely, exclusively and continuously claim the property for at least 10 years.
There are a tremendous amount of scams being perpetrated today in our Society and the cultures of many immigrants, for example, actually promote and support their use under their moral and religious practices.
My recommendation is to spend some money posting your property as "Private Property." The use of "No Trespassing" signs should be used as well. File a report with your local police and County District Attorney's Office that you suspect your neighbor as having a mental illness and/or trying to perpetrate fraud through Adverse Possession, etc. This will serve as the foundation to show that you are trying to protect your property and privacy rights. Have your neighbor served with a no trespassing warning for your property by the police. Consider privately prosecuting your neighbor at your local level. Contact your court system to see how that is accomplished. You will have to pay the filing fees but it is very effective. Last, I would invest in a closed circuit camera/television system that records your front and rear doors. They are very reasonable in cost and are very effective. There are other tips and techniques but use common sense. If you are threatened with a weapon like scissors please contact the police and have a report generated and push to have an arrest effected. Good luck and be safe.