Area of Law: Lawsuits / Civil Litigation
Answer Number: 491
Disputes with neighboursRegion: Ontario Answer Number: 491
It is not uncommon for disputes to arise between neighbours. It is generally best to try to solve the problem informally. However, if a problem persists, the person being disturbed may make a complaint to the Municipality, the Province or to the police who can lay criminal charges in serious cases. If you have suffered a loss because of your neighbour, you can sue them for compensation.
Dealing with noise problems
One of the most common problems between neighbours is noise. Noise problems can arise from a variety of causes such as machinery, people, or animals. Most municipalities have a by-law about when and how much noise is acceptable. If there is an immediate noise problem, you can call the police, or if the noise is ongoing you can call a municipal by-law enforcement officer to inspect. If the noise exceeds the levels allowed, the person or company responsible for the noise may be fined.
Dealing with untidiness or improperly maintained properties
Sometimes a neighbour may be so untidy with their lawn or garbage that it interferes with others. Most municipalities have by-laws that set how a property must be maintained. If there is a problem, you can call a by-law enforcement officer to inspect the area in question. If there has been a violation, they may lay charges or fine the person responsible.
Dealing with animal problems or animal abuse
The common problems involving animals are situations where an animal attacks a person, where an owner does not pick-up after their animal, or, if someone is abusing an animal.
First, if an animal attacks someone, it should be reported immediately to the police. The owner may be fined, or even charged for their negligence in controlling the animal. If the animal seriously hurts someone the owner may also be sued.
Second, most municipalities have by-laws requiring an owner to clean-up after their dog, and will usually levy fines against owners that do not comply.
Third, if you suspect that an animal is being abused, you should call the police or the nearest municipal animal control. The owner may be charged criminally and the animal may be removed. For more information regarding disputes over animals or animal abuse, refer to the Animals and the Law section of this website.
For more information on resolving disputes between neighbours, contact your local Municipality or the police.
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