Self-help nuisance abatement and community gardening.

Many cities, including Baltimore City, have created systems by which city residents can “green” an empty city-owned lot in their neighborhoods.

But what can residents do about privately-owned lots that are covered with weeds, trash, or worse?

Self-help nuisance abatement is a procedure by which a neighbor may enter such a privately-owned space and clean it up. To read more, see this previous post: http://urbanagriculturelawproject.org/?p=285

Can neighbors do anything else on the lot besides clean it? Maryland law isn’t altogether clear on this issue.

The community may choose to make improvements to the property, such as creating garden beds or adding a fence or benches, ONLY IF:

1. They informed the property owner in their detailed letter regarding the nuisance that they were planning to make those improvements, and

2. The community understands that the owner may return to his property at any time and remove the improvements without notice or compensation.

Self-help nuisance abatement does not give the community permanent legal access to the property. The owner of the property could come back at any time and rightfully demand use of the property.

Any questions about the self-help nuisance abatement process?

See this self-help nuisance abatement handout on the procedure that your community should follow, or contact CLC for more information.

Posted on by Becky Witt

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