WHAT'S THE LAW?
Seems like neighbors need mediation
I would like to ask a question regarding a neighbor who is filing FALSE complaints to the Department of Health and Humane Society. We would like to know our rights in this situation as he is filing "anonymous" reports and the departments are unable to confirm that it is this particular neighbor.
We recently received a three-page letter from the Planning Department regarding running a catering business from our residence, which is totally FALSE. An inspector was sent to our residence to check the property. Also, the Humane Society has been called twice and served us with two complaints. How can we file a rebuttal to these charges? Do we have the right to file a harassment charge with HPD against this neighbor to end all these false accusations?
We have been good neighbors for years!
Answer: You can go to District Court and apply for a Temporary Restraining Order. However, without proof the neighbor is reporting false information, it is unlikely that the court will grant the TRO. The court will probably refer you to the Mediation Center of the Pacific (521-6767).
The Mediation Center provides low-cost mediation for problems between neighbors. It handles quite a few complaints about barking dogs. Many times the dog barks when the owner is absent, so what is a non-issue for the owner is a big issue for neighbors.
A barking dog can be a violation of the Revised Ordinance of Honolulu Section 7.22. A dog owner whose dog barks intermittently for 30 minutes or constantly for 10 minutes to the disturbance of others is in violation of the ordinance. When a violation is reported, the Humane Society writes the owner a letter and sends information regarding dog training. If there are more complaints, the Humane Society may send out an investigator. For a case to go to court, the person making the complaint cannot remain anonymous. The complainant must fill out a statement form and agree to appear in court as a witness. Then you will know who is complaining.
Hopefully, you will work things out with your neighbor before it becomes a court issue.
This question was answered by Kathryn Xian. Legal Aid Society of Hawaii operates statewide. Practice areas include housing, public benefits, consumer and family law, but not criminal law. Call 536-4302. Submit questions by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
or by mail to Legal Aid Q&A, 924 Bethel St., Honolulu, HI 96813.