How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Jim Reilly Your Own Question

Jim Reilly
Jim Reilly, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 1801
Experience:  California lawyer since 1976.
11056146
Type Your Legal Question Here...
Jim Reilly is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

We live in a townhome association with all the grounds called

Resolved Question:

We live in a townhome association with all the grounds called common ground as it is all mowed and maintained by the association. We have one of the neighbors who walkes around the backs of all the homes looking at our homes. He claims that since it is "Commom ground" he can do this all he wants. Is this legal?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Jim Reilly replied 5 years ago.
Hello spaniel 47 and welcome to JustAnswer.

Can you clarify the situation please? I take it that this is an open, common area, with no fencing and that it is contiguous to all of the homes (or at least those which back up to this particular common area). Furthermore, it is essentially open for anyone to walk anywhere within the common area.

If that's the case, is there nevertheless any differentiation in the community plot map or the association documents by which any portion of this common area is designated as being for the use of the adjoining townhome unit? Such as, do you have patios or private gardens in the rear of the units?

And how close to the backs of your homes does this neighbor come when he is walking around? Is he close enough to look in your windows? Or is he far enough away that he is simply looking at the backs walls of the units?

Finally, do your association documents in any way address -- and in particular, limit -- access by anyone to this area?

If you can provide this additional information, I can give you a better answer to your question.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

the yards are continous one next to the other, on both sides of the street, no fences but we do have a street and a sidewalk. This person lives accross the street, and has no real business walking behind any of the houses and yes he is close enough to look in windows. He is within a couple of feet of the windows. We all have either a patio of deck in the back.

The bi-laws do not really address this issue, however the state of Minnesota says we own "lot 29, block 1,WildRidge NorthPointe, Common Interest Community No.29". According to the platt map, this includes our front and back yards.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
will I still get an answer to my question or what do I have to do next
Expert:  Jim Reilly replied 5 years ago.
My apologies, Spaniel, I was away for awhile.

Under the circumstances you have described and in the absence of any specific restriction in the community by-laws, there would appear to be no reason that this person cannot walk anywhere in the common area grounds of the community.

However, there are two considerations that may be of some assistance to you. Regardless of the common area status, the patios or decks would be considered private and he would be trespassing if he went onto either of those. Trespass is both a civil wrong and a misdemeanor crime under Minnesota Criminal Code section 609.605. You can see this code section at:

https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/statutes/?id=609.605

Furthermore, if he is actually looking in the windows, that would be considered interference with privacy ("peeping Tom"), which is also a crime under Minnesota Criminal Code section 609.746. You can see this code section at:

https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/statutes/?id=609.746

Therefore, if he does either of these things, you can file a complaint with the local police department.

You might also consider asking the association board to modify the by-laws to clarify the privacy rights of the community's residents with respect to the property immediately appurtenant to each unit, including the decks and patios.

Thanks for asking your question here on JustAnswer. If you have any other questions, please let me know.
Jim Reilly, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 1801
Experience: California lawyer since 1976.
Jim Reilly and 6 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Last | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Not only did he answer my Michigan divorce question but was also able to help me out with it, too. I have since won my legal case on this matter and thank you so much for it. Lee Michigan
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    8436
    JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MU/multistatelaw/2011-11-27_173951_Tinaglamourshotworkglow102011.64x64.jpg Tina's Avatar

    Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    8436
    JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RA/ratioscripta/2012-6-13_2955_foto3.64x64.jpg Ely's Avatar

    Ely

    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    19941
    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/FL/FLAandNYLawyer/2012-1-27_14349_3Fotolia25855429M.64x64.jpg FiveStarLaw's Avatar

    FiveStarLaw

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    8189
    25 years of experience helping people like you.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/jespoag/2008-12-17_222355_jessepic.jpg JPEsq's Avatar

    JPEsq

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    2132
    Experience as general attorney, in house counsel, SSDI, Family Law attorney, and law professor
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/gsenmartin/2008-04-22_214950_me1.jpg Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.'s Avatar

    Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    110
    7+ years of experience handling various legal matters.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PA/PaulmoJD/2013-10-10_195858_JAImage.64x64.jpg Law Educator, Esq.'s Avatar

    Law Educator, Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    31621
    JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/dkaplun/2009-05-17_173121_headshot_1_2.jpg Dimitry K., Esq.'s Avatar

    Dimitry K., Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    15975
    Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
 
 
 

Related Legal Questions

Chat Now With A Lawyer
Jim Reilly
Jim Reilly
Private Practice Attorney
665 Satisfied Customers
California lawyer since 1976.