I receive these types of cases where people are being harassed by their neighbors. Since I am a private investigator I am able to help you gather evidence of the harassment. This documentation may be helpful if you are going to sue your neighbor for harassment or obtain a civil harassment restraining order. I can also help you serve your civil harassment restraining order.
Here are some examples of neighbor harassment
Boundary disputes, Animal Issues, Noise, Property Damage, Nuisance, Threats, Violence and Physical Contact. Before you can take legal action to stop neighbor harassment, you must first be sure that what you are experiencing fits the legal definition of civil harassment.
What Is Civil Harassment?
In general, civil harassment is abuse, threats of abuse, stalking, sexual assault, or serious harassment by someone you have not dated and do NOT have a close relationship with, like a neighbor, a roommate, or a friend (that you have never dated). It is also civil harassment if the abuse is from a family member that is not included in the list under domestic violence. So, for example, if the abuse is from an uncle or aunt, a niece or nephew, or a cousin, it is considered civil harassment and NOT domestic violence.
The civil harassment laws say “harassment” is:
- Unlawful violence, like assault or battery or stalking, OR
- A credible (real) threat of violence, AND
- The violence or threats seriously scare, annoy, or harass someone and there is no valid reason for it.
“Credible threat of violence” means intentionally saying something or acting in a way that would make a reasonable person afraid for his or her safety or the safety of his or her family. A “credible threat of violence” includes following or stalking someone, making harassing calls, or sending harassing messages, by phone, mail, or e-mail, over a period of time (even if it is a short time).
Read about the law in Code of Civil Procedure section 527.6.
Are you being harassed by a neighbor? Here are some reasonable steps for you to take to put an end to the problem.
- Discuss the issue with your neighbor.
- Document the issue.
- Litigation and Civil Harassment Restraining Orders.
Discuss the issue with your neighbor.
This may not be your best option. Your neighbor may become angry and the harassment gets worse. I had a client who hired me to film her neighbors behavior. The client eventually obtained a civil harassment restraining order. I served the civil harassment restraining order to the neighbors.
Document the issue.
How to document your neighbors harassment?
- Keep a log of the date and time of the behavior.
- Follow the rules and obtain their harassment on video. I have had many clients who have purchased and installed a surveillance system.
- Hire a private investigator to conduct surveillance of your neighbors harassment.
Litigation and Civil Harassment Restraining Orders.
I get calls from people in Sacramento who are getting harassed by their neighbors. I had a call from a man who’s neighbor was harassing him and his wife. He even had an expensive surveillance system installed which filmed the exterior of his yard. The client had obtained a civil harassment restraining order in Sacramento county and hired the sheriff’s department to serve. The sheriff’s department had been unsuccessful in serving the documents. The neighbor would never come to the door or his wife and kids would say that he was not home. He was avoiding service.
How to serve a restraining order?
The client hired me to serve the restraining order. I waited inside my car a few houses away from the neighbors house. After about an hour, the front door opened and male came outside. He picked up something on the front porch and went back inside the house. I didn’t serve him on this attempt.
My client told me that he watched his surveillance system video and saw me parked in my car on the street. He also said that another neighbor had called him and said that a man had been sitting in his car in front of her house for a few hours.
I attempted again the next day (Saturday). Their were lots of people walking around the neighborhood and I was unable to find a suitable surveillance location. I parked my car down the street at a local park, put the civil harassment restraining order paperwork in my pocket and proceeded to walk to the area of the neighbors house.
The client called me and said that he saw the neighbor on his surveillance camera standing in front of his house talking to someone. I was a short distance away and I could see two men standing on the sidewalk. The client said “he is the one wearing the blue shirt”.
I was still on the phone with the client as I approached the two men. I contacted the man with the blue shirt and after he confirmed his name, I handed him the civil harassment restraining papers. “Here are some legal papers for you” is what I said to the man wearing the blue shirt.
Some people care able to avoid service of process by not opening their door or having their relatives tell the process server that he is not home. Sometimes process servers have to try a different approach to serving a restraining order. Our firm specializes in serving those who avoid process service.