My Neighbor Moved My Trashcan! What Can I Do?

Tiffany Nichols
by Tiffany Nichols

Nobody wants to bicker about petty things. But your neighbor keeps moving your trashcan without permission. And your house can’t function correctly if the daily details constantly change. So, what can you do to stop them? And is fussing about it even worth your time?

Letting someone tamper with your garbage can is a bad idea. So, politely ask your neighbor to leave the trash bins alone. Or consult the landlord if you rent. In most states, it’s illegal to mess with someone else’s property without consent. That means your neighbors can face fines, penalties, or prosecution if they don’t quit.

Who Owns the Trash Cans?

Although you pay for trashcans and garbage pickup services, you are not the owner of the bins. The waste disposal company owns them. So, you’re only renting it temporarily. And you have to give it back eventually.

Usually, waste disposal companies provide trashcans when you sign up for their services. But that’s not always the case. In some cities, you must provide your own containers. So, you own the bin if you bought it. Otherwise, you have to return it to the rightful owner when you cancel services or move.

Can Someone Touch My Trashcans?

The neighbors can’t touch your trashcan without consent. And that’s the rule even though the resident doesn’t own the bins. The reason for the law is simple. It’s because tampering with someone else’s property causes unnecessary drama. Plus, the police depend on a level of separation when solving neighborhood crimes.

People who touch or move your garbage cans are trespassing. So, you can file a complaint or call the cops if they keep doing it. However, the neighbors are allowed to scoot your bin out of the road or away from the sidewalk. And if your can causes a problem or damage, they can take you to court instead.

It’s your responsibility to drag bins back up to the house unless otherwise stated in your lease. But landlords can’t go through your trash even if you keep containers on their property. And property owners can come into your yard without notice. However, friendly landlords usually don’t.

Can a Neighbor Move My Trash Bin?

While trespassing and vandalism are illegal, moving your neighbor’s trashcan is not. However, it depends on the situation. If someone damages your bin when they move it, you can sue them for repairs. But if they push the dumpster to prevent injuries or accidents, they can turn the complaint around on you.

Can Neighbors Put Their Trash in My Bin?

Technically, you’re not allowed to use someone else’s trash receptacle without their permission. That’s defined as illegal dumping or theft of services, depending on the state. Meanwhile, each state has unique laws regarding waste disposal and civil disputes. So, research your local mandates for more information.

You usually can’t dump trash in a neighbor’s can. And they can’t leave their trash in yours either. That’s because most cities prefer residents to keep their refuse separated. There are multiple reasons for that. But the most crucial one is crime prevention.

DID YOU KNOW: You can be arrested for illegal items in your bin, even if you didn’t put them there.

How Do I Stop Someone From Using My Dumpster?

Stop the neighbors from taking advantage of your garbage bins. And don’t worry about getting into a heated argument in the process. Here are a few ways to address the situation politely:

  • Talk to the People Next Door. Ask them if they’ve been using or moving your dumpster. Don’t assume anything. Then, request that they stop doing it immediately.
  • Speak to the Landowner. See if they can discuss options with the neighbors on your behalf. Or ask them to send a certified letter to the people next door.
  • File a Formal Complaint. If the people next door don’t listen, put your problems in writing. Then, use your notes to file a complaint at the local code enforcement agency.
  • Hide the Bin Somewhere. Put your cans behind a privacy fence or build a small enclosure to hide them from the neighbors.
  • Put Up a No Trespassing Sign. Warn the neighbors to stay out of your yard, or you’ll call the police.
  • Call the Police. If all else fails, contact the local law enforcement for help. Your landlord can’t kick you out for calling unless it becomes a nuisance.

Remember, waste disposal companies might not pick up bins that are too full. And the homeowner could get charged extra money for heavier loads. So, be courteous of the neighbors while insisting on the same thing in return. Don’t use each other’s bins without consent.

What Happens If Someone Steals My Trashcan?

If someone steals your trashcan, you have several options. First, you can contact the police to report a theft. You can also talk to the landlord or the neighbors to find out if anyone saw the culprit. Either way, you’ll have to replacer the bin if you want trash removed from your property. And in most cases, dumpster replacements cost money.

TIP: Prove that your container was stolen, and you might get a free replacement from the city.

How Much Is It for an Extra Trash Bin?

You can request an additional bin if you have too much trash or someone steals your dumpster. In those instances, you might not have to pay for it. However, expect to pay about $15 per trashcan just in case. The price usually includes monthly refuse collection, even in rural areas. But each city is different. So, reach out to the local waste disposal companies for more details.

Clever Ways to Hide Your Trashcan from Neighbors

Your neighbors can’t mess with your trashcan if they can’t find it. So, find a place to hide the bun and never worry about people moving your stuff again. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Put It Behind the Bushes. Plant shrubs around your garbage pickup zone to camouflage the bin.
  • Park It By the Garage. Always bring your trashcan up from the road before someone tampers with it.
  • Build an Enclosure Around It. Enclose the bin with wood or vinyl fencing. But don’t build it too close to the road.

Reasonable neighbors should stop moving your trashcans if you ask them to. So, it’s a good sign that you’ll need help if people don’t heed your requests. You may rent your bins, but they’re private property. And that means you have every right to sue neighbors who ignore the law.

Related Questions

What Happens If You Leave Bins Out?

You could get into trouble if you leave your dumpsters out for too long. That’s because many cities prohibit bins on or near the road. Neglected canisters can cause property damage or become a nuisance. So, you shouldn’t leave cans out for longer than 24 hours.

Can You Leave Trash Cans on the Street?

In most cities, it’s illegal to leave your trashcans on the road. Abandoned bins can roll out into oncoming traffic, causing accidents or injuries. If that happens, you’ll be held responsible for the damages. And if you don’t have homeowner’s insurance, your legal fees will break the bank. Plus, your neighbors probably won’t appreciate living next to someone who puts them in danger.Trash bins on the street also make it difficult for people to park their cars. But parking problems can be dangerous for people with disabilities. They need access to their wheelchairs, crutches, walkers, and other equipment. So, your neighbors might move your bins if they get in the way.

Is It Illegal to Steal Trashcans?

Stealing trashcans is illegal in all 50 states. That’s because dumpsters are considered private property. And homeowners pay for them when they sign up for trash removal services. So, homeowners have a right to use their bins however they choose. But neighbors can’t help themselves to your private property even if they think you abandoned it.The person who steals a trash bin can face criminal charges. If the homeowner files a formal complaint or calls the police, the culprit could go to jail. In some cases, thieves only get fined for stealing trashcans. But regardless, they don’t get away with it.

Why Would Someone Steal a Trashcan?

People have many reasons for doing the things they do. So it’s hard to tell why someone would steal a neighbor’s trashcan. However, some folks take bins because they lost theirs and can’t afford a new one. But other people might steal dumpsters as a prank or a way to snoop on a neighbor. Either way, stealing bins is illegal. So, keep your hands to yourself.

Create a Peaceful Neighborhood

A peaceful neighborhood starts with neighbors who respect each other’s property. And while moving a trashcan isn’t a big deal, it’s still inappropriate. So, ask the people next door to stop. Then, call for help if they don’t.

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Tiffany Nichols
Tiffany Nichols

Tiffany Nichols specializes in aesthetics, design, marketing, and manufacturing. She's a copywriter and editor for several home renovation companies in the U.S. and works alongside some of the biggest names in the industry. Her hobbies include architecture, art, mental health, and fashion.

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