Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Andrew writes:

I bought a nice condo back in 1999. The place had a nice mix of retirees, college students, starter families, etc. Moved in, had some nice upstairs neighbors, who were pretty quiet, had rugs throughout the entire facility, and side neighbors, mother & daughter, that I got along with quite well.

Two years ago, the lady above me sold her condo to a non-english speaking Russian. He doesn't understand a word of english, doesn't seem to be able to read english, and somehow has managed to obtain a decent car and hold down a job. The first issue with him is that he completely tore up all the rugs in his house, and then tossed them outside, in our dumpster, filling it up with his furniture. He claimed that it wasn't his despite the fact that the underside of the carpet had his condo # on it. He paid the fine, and moved on.

He decided that it was okay to run power tools between the hours of 7am-11pm, since that's what the official laws are, despite the fact that the condo association refuses to allow power tools to be used in the home save between 8am-8pm. He claimed he couldn't read the rules, so he didn't have to follow them. For the next fifteen weeks, he ripped up his floorboards, and did major construction, despite repeated requests to knock it off. Finally, he finished, and then refused to lay down new carpet to cover his floors. Apparently, he missed the part of the agreement stating all condos required carpet, so I hear his footsteps from one room to another.

He invited some of his friends over, who promptly parked in not only my numbered space, but every other visitor space near my condo, and I had to walk a good quarter mile in the pouring rain. Once again, doesn't speak English, so he doesn't understand when I try to talk to him.

The worst of it came when he took his dishwasher and kitchen cabinets and placed them 'temporarily' in front of my condo walkway, intending to move them. They weren't moved for two weeks, and anytime he got a letter or a fine, he'd pay it, and then ignore the rest. He still doesn't apparently understand English too well, or knows how to drive, since he apparently came home drunk last night, parked half-way through both his parking space and mine, and then left his car for two days. I've done just about everything I can do here with him, written letters of complaint, gotten him fined, but he still stays and continues to do whatever the hell he wants.

I'm running out of options.

Ca1v1n Replies: Personally it sounds like your condo board is completely useless. Your best bet would be to start with formal letters of complaint to the condo board. It won't be good enough to just complain in person or at meetings, you will need a registered letter sent to the board, the associations lawyers, and a copy to your lawyer if you have one. They won't be able to stop bad parking habits or stupidity in general but if they can definately force him to install carpets. Personally I'll bet he speaks perfect english, most immigrants do, they just have a habit of reverting to "no speaka da common" when they are caught violating rules and regulations.

Then there's the neighbors across the way. (Oh Great! There is more?)

Three years ago, the lady and her daughter moved out, and an East Indian family moved in. For a two bedroom condo, the maximum capacity is five total. The guy appears to have four wives, and six children who all lives with them. (East Indian culture is not known to be generally polygamous, the other women are likely sisters or cousins. Either way, condo rules are condo rules and 11 people in a 2 bedroom condo is just plain wrong)

When they first moved in, the first thing they did was stick their satellite dish out in front of the building (which was a violation) and hooked up the hose under my window to their permanent fountain. That got fixed thankfully. Besides violating the maximum capacity for people in one location, the family has decided that because the 'male' in the household doesn't like being bothered by trivial things such as children crying, that they are to be removed outside the condo, where they are spanked, left alone, or punished, directly outside my door.

I contacted Children Services and they states that they can't do anything, since he's quoting religious freedom anytime they show up. (Thats bullshit. The government flunky is either stupid, not good with conflict, or is trying to avoid paperwork. Crying children in the hallway has nothing to do with religious freedom).

So I get to listen to the daily activities of their lives while attempting to be private in my own. Three months ago, things got considerably worse. The guy decided that he didn't like the new placement of his satellite dish. So while there were painters, all dressed in white, walking around painting our condos, he decided that to do something about it. He dressed himself all up in white, politely asked to borrow a ladder, and proceeded to cut some bushes without asking and without permission.

I found out what was going on, walked outside, asked him what was up, and he said that he had the permission of the board to remove them. I called my BOD up and not only was he lying through his teeth, the landscapers and the BOD had a notice to 'never touch the bushes'.

I told him to get down and knock it off. Two days later, he put his satellite dish BACK in front of his condo. When you look at the direction/angle, you notice that the hedges/bushes I had carefully grown to block sunlight had been cut back in a L shape, and that the angle of satellite was pointed directly in the space. Apparently his plan was to cut back the bushes in order to improve his reception. Now I've got an ugly L on the top of the bushes (which took 3 years to grow), and I've got to prune them back down because someone decided he wasn't getting good satellite reception.

The satellite dish was out front for two weeks, until he was fined $100 by the BOD, and moved the dish around back where it had been.

It seems that if someone doesn't speak English, or quotes religion, they get treated differently than everybody else.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

M writes:

I live in a house that I bought 9 years ago. My husband, step-son, and 3 year old daughter have a quiet lifestyle. I have a beautiful black lab that is 8 years old, and up until recently, has never caused me any problems. I used to be able to leave him for 3-4 days at a time. He has a self-feeder, self-waterer, pet door, and a fully fenced, doubled locked on each side yard to play in. Life was good.

Almost 2 years ago, my fantastic next-door-neighbors moved to another town, and sold their house to a young nurse. Nurse seems like a pretty nice gal except for her dogs. Nurse works nights. Nurse started out with one dog, now has two, and sometimes has her mother's bassett hound staying over for a few days at a time. These dogs all bark and never stop! Well that is they never stop when she isn't home; if she is home, then all is quiet. The problem is that she isn't home much.

My dog has begun exhibiting all sorts of anxiety related behavior that begins when the incessent barking starts. He shakes; he trys to paw at doors and hide in rooms; he eats huge holes that go all the way through bedroom doors when we are at work; he eats fence boards on the side of the house opposite the dogs; I even have him on prozac to try to deal with the anxiety.

The dogs bark all night. They wake up my dog, which causes absolute chaos from his anxiety over the barking. They wake up my toddler. They wake up my husband. They wake up me. Even my stepson on the opposite end of the house is unable to sleep.

There have been a couple of occasions when I have run in to her as she is pulling out of her driveway. She seems embarassed as the dogs are barking as she leaves the driveway. I actually told her that I had my dog on prozac and it seems to help for separation anxiety (hint, hint).

About a month ago, I finally said to hell with it and start calling the police on a regular basis. My husband is in law enforcement, and I'm an attorney/former prosecutor. We are all too familiar with the system. I had great expectations that one visit from the police would resolve the issue.

The first visit from Police Officer #1 should have done the trick. He went to the hospital where she works. Came back by the house, and told me that he warned her she would be getting a noise citation if she didn't take care of it. We were so optimistic!

The second, third and fourth visits were from Police Officer #2. He managed to hunt down someone at the house, who told him that he was only dog watching for her, that he bartended nights, and that he didn't think he should have to make sure they didn't bark at night. Police Officer #2 told him the dogs better stop or he'd be getting a noise citation. Officer #2 even stopped by last weekend to see how things were going and if the situation had improved. I wish we had better news to report.

There was another call to dispatch, but there weren't any officers available to help that night.

The icing on the cake was this morning. At about 4:00 AM, the insane barking began, waking up the whole house. It kept going until I left at 7:00 AM. Police Officer #3 came out and was appalled at the loudness of the barking. He told me he would cite her if it didn't stop. Only problem is that she is never home when the barking happens.

I got home tonight around 6:00 PM. The barking continued until 9:30 PM. Police Officer #4 wasn't so helpful. Was concerned about the crazy barking at first, but then returned to my house after hunting Nurse down, and reported that he knew her, she was a really nice person, and that she would be home soon to stop the barking.

He tried to persuade me that the dogs were barking because of other dogs in heat, my response was, "For 2 years?" Actually suggested that I should talk to her about the other dogs but that only one he heard was her mother's basset hound and that she promised it would be gone in the morning. I smiled, and let him know that she isn't home to talk to when the dogs bark and that I would be relying on law enforcement to take care of this issue for me. And by then I let him know who my husband is, and then he made the connection that I am an attorney. I don't usually play that trump card but at this point, things are really desparate.

So practically speaking, I am at a loss as to what to do. My pet is miserable and destroying our home, my husband is miserable, my toddler can't sleep, and I am at my wit's end. I bought a bark-stop device and mounted it the side of my house; it didn't work. I bought dog repellant and put it on my fence; it didn't work. She has these dogs corraled in a 10' long by 5' wide strip that runs along my fence directly across from my bedroom and living room windows, and two sets of sliding doors. Nurse won't move them to the other side of her yard because a) they would ruin it; and b) they would be by her bedrooms.

I assume the noise citations will start soon--at $500 a pop maybe that will take care of it but what if it doesn't? We used to be so happy in our peaceful little house and now we can't even sleep. I'm just about ready to move!

Thanks for letting me vent.

Ca1v1n replies: You may have already tried this but perhaps contacting the local Humane Society will get you some more immediate action then the Police. Especially if the animals have any evidence at all of abuse.

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Elizabeth writes:

One upon a time, there was a man who could not get a long with his neighbors no matter where he lived. He moved and he moved but no neighborhood would have him. Finally, to save daughter and grand-child from this continued disruption, the man’s father-in-law split a small lot from his farm and gave it to them so that they could live with no neighbors. Several years past, and the man was happy to live with his family in solitude and was thrilled to have fallow farmland around him. He frolicked in the fields with his golf cart and Yorkiepoo. He drank his beer and screamed at the top of his lungs outside, in the middle of the night for no apparent reason whenever he wished.

Then one day things changed for the man. Someone bought the farmland on one side of him and the farmland on the other side was for sale! But that was not all! The people who ended up buying the two farms were actually farmers and outdoorsmen!!! What was the man to do!? He would be confined to his small little lot while his neighbors might build homes, or farm, or even worse, hunt! No, no, no, this would just not do!

The man sprung into action. He could only deal with one neighbor at a time. First he became friendly with the newest property owner so he could bad-mouth the other before the two got to know each other. Then he called planning, zoning, and the tax office whenever he could to halt the 1st neighbor home building and refute is agricultural tax base. When he had done all he could to the 1st neighbor, he turned on the second one.

Now this second neighbor was a tough nut to crack. They had no home in place yet, but were there all the time. They cut, and plowed, trimmed trees, and had wildlife management practices in place. He knew they were not rich, and he could not figure out how they got access to all this equipment or buy that valuable piece of property. This incensed him! It also angered him that this new neighbor seemed to be rising from the ashes of what had been a very problematic life caused by substance abuse and combat post-traumatic stress. This new neighbor was getting happier by the day working on his land. The man did not think this new neighbor deserved to have such good fortune.

First, the man thought they he should offer alcohol to the neighbor and that would send him down the tubes. It hurt him a couple times, but didn’t quite do the job. Then the man decided that he would make it impossible for the neighbor to hunt, so he honked his horn, and banged pots and pans, and screamed at the top of his lungs during the hunts. Well, that’s when the new neighbor did something unbelievable! He got really mad and yelled at the man!! How could this be! Why would this combat vet think he could yell at the man without reprisal!

So it went. The man decides he will call the police every time the neighbor goes to the property. The neighbor piles his farm equipment and building materials near the main’s house to spoil the man’s view of this neighbor’s property. The man yells nasty things at the neighbor and the neighbor returns the favor. The neighbor takes the man to court for harassment during the hunts. The judge sides with the man after he describes himself, his wife, and his teenage daughter, and Yorkipoos being terrorized to the point of hiding in the bathroom when the neighbor comes to the property. This makes the man happy, but it is not enough! The man calls in planning and zoning complaints to no avail. For now the man is content calling the cops whenever the neighbor is on the property and making up stories to convince them that the neighbor is some crazed lunatic with a weapon and a flashlight bent on his destruction.

The moral of the story is that some people are envious of the happiness of others. They do not like to see others succeed or enjoy the blessings that come into their lives. These people often have no friends or help offered to them because they are mean. They often do not realize that this is the reason they have no friends.

Now the man continues to do his misdeeds, but the caring father-in-law that gave the land for peaceful living is selling the rest of the surrounding acreage. He doesn’t want to be his neighbor either!!!!

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Snark writes:

I was so relieved to find your blog on hating neighbors, because I hate the ones that live next to me. Here's the story:

I moved here two years ago, it is an old neighborhood and my house was built in 1930. As you can imagine, it was in severe disrepair and in need of paint, total rehab inside and out plus modern conveniences such as plumbing lines and new electrical. The neighborhood is great, at least I thought it was before I moved here, and there are people that come thru on weekends househunting like crazy. I have had several inquiries about selling my house, but with all the work that I did I am way in debt and cant sell it for enough to recover the cost of repairs.

The neighbours have come into my home uninvited and given themselves a tour, parked in my parking area and refused to move while leaving the front of their home free of vehicles. They have told their guests to park in front of my driveway instead of around the corner on the side street and been generally rude, inconsiderate and unpleasant. They try to tell me what color to paint the house, what plants to use in landscaping, seriously nagging on small stuff. I thought they were jealous of something, but I couldn't figure out what. Things got worse from the time we couldn't come to an agreement that they shouldn't park in front of my house. Apparently the old lady (now dead) that lived here before me didn't drive told them it was ok. She is dead, I'm here. There is a new sheriff in town and everything changes.

In a nutshell, my neighbors filed for divorce, dragged the whole neighborhood into it, like "pick a side" and then decided that everyone else was the problem. These two should work it out because they totally deserve their psycho selves. They are a middle age (43-45?) couple with a tween (11-13?) daughter and two other teenage girls (19-21?) that they took in to live with them plus an idiot dog that constantly shits on my lawn. Both are educators and I don't know how or why they took these two former students in, but they did. These girls are part of the problem as well as the family in general.

The big story is that I saw the hubby kiss the eldest teen girl in the driveway in front of god and everyone. Not a hello kiss, but an open-mouth kiss. Then the wife comes over and tells my old man that her hubby filed for divorce and had her served on her birthday. Nice guy. So after she tells me that her old man left her, I told her what I saw. She tells me that the teen girl has been knocked up 3 times so far and has no idea who could be impregnating the girl. Whatever, I leave it to her to put that together. She claims to be trained as a human lie detector, but insists on asking her husband if it was true or not. Of course he denies it as does the young girl that he was making out with.

Now I am the enemy. Great! I knew I shouldn't have said anything, because they would come together to turn on me, but when she was pressing me for any suspicious activity, I screwed up and told her the truth. Naturally he denies it and comes up to me, threatening to sue me for ruining his marriage (but he had already filed for divorce and moved out at that point) and demanding an apology. I didnt give him any apology. He filed for divorce and was mad that his wife found out why he left her to screw the chick living in the guest house? Whatever. He ordered me off the property (their driveway and my lawn are connected) but wouldn't let me leave. I finally go home and realize that it was a total set up, that she came out and started talking to me and kept up the conversation until Mr. Wonderful could come home and go off on me.

So weeks turn into months and this creep is no where to be seen. Two weeks ago he comes up to my old man who was mowing our grass and tells him they need to "talk" because he is moving back home, but my old man tells him to pound it. I was so proud! He got to say what I didn't get to say when that jerk threatened and went off on me. So now, we act like we don't see each other, except when the husband tries to stare me down, that is so funny I cant help but bust out in laughter. But I feel so uncomfortable about all that happened and wish I could undo it. I apologized to her but I wont even talk with him. If I say anything it will probably make him cry as I am that angry. I am hoping that they will move soon, to get away from the "glare" of the neighborhood knowing their business because as social climbers, they cant really advance any further now that everyone knows their dirty secrets. Yet in the event that they don't I have already started house hunting and will dump this place when the market ticks upward.

Moral to the story: before you buy, investigate the neighborhood. Park your car on the street for a few minutes (15-20) at various times of day and you can get a real feel of what is happening and decide if you want to live in those surroundings or not.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Buying A House? 10 Things To Check BEFORE You Purchase
There are lots of things to consider before purchasing your first home. Smart buyers will be looking at electrical, plumbing, roof, furnace, etc. You can hire a professional home inspector but you can't hire a neighbour inspector. There are however a few easy things you can do to reduce the chance of ending up with bad neighbours.
  1. Check the lawns. I know it is shallow and not exactly fitting with the new "green" sensibilities of many folks but this is really a no-brainer. You are not looking for neighbours with golf-course perfect lawns, but for simple signs that they are well cared for. Have they been edged (should be done twice a year in spring and fall) recently? Flowers and bushes trimmed and maintained and relatively free of weeds? If there are mature trees check on their overall health. Have dead branches been removed?
  2. Seasonal Decor. If it is Fall are there displays of pumpkins, hay bales, corn stalks, etc? Hanging baskets of flowers in the summer? During the holiday season look for simple and not overdone light displays.
  3. Children. How old are your kids and how will they relate/play with their new neighbours? If you have a 10 year old and a 14 year old then you will likely get along better with neighbours with children in the same general age range. Having older kids surrounded by children still in grade school could be a recipe for conflict. Kids will be kids, so don't get turned off by some clutter. In fact, bikes scattered on a driveway and chalk drawings of hopscotch on the sidewalk are things you WANT to see (if you have kids of course).
  4. General State of Repair. Sure you will look at the condition of the roof, gutters, siding, bricks, etc. of the home you are thinking of buying but you should also review the state of repair on all neighbouring properties. A street of well maintained homes indicates not only pride of ownership but shared interests and also likely will result in rising property values (great for your investment).
  5. Traffic patterns. Its all about location location location. Observe the street during different times of the day, especially during the morning rush hour and mid-afternoon (the hour after school is out for the day).
  6. Driveways. Avoid shared driveways at all costs. They are far more common in urban areas with semi-detatched homes then in the suburbs. I've been told by more then a few Real Estate agents that shared driveways are the #1 cause of friction between neighbours. This one relates to #7... just what is parked on the driveway?
  7. Vehicles. Check for "eye sore" vehicles. Broken down or pseudo-abandoned cars on blocks are obvious but you should also be on the lookout for large cube vans or other business vehicles that neighbours may regularly park out front. Also large RV and campers. Staring at the side of a giant cube van that is blocking your view can get pretty irritating over the long term.
  8. Local Businesses. Get to know them. The idea of living in a centrally located ethnic downtown neighbourhood sounds great until you realize the quaint little Italian coffee shop on the corner morphs into a full-fledged bar on Friday nights where every Gino and Gina for 20 blocks in each direction converges to drink, talk really loud, and watch UEFA soccer.
  9. Garbage Day. Garbage should only be on the curb the night before pickup. It should also be neat and tidy. Yes it is garbage, but that is not excuse to not use a solid and sturdy container to prevent animals from dumping and creating a huge mess. On a side note. Just what is it with old mattresses? How come you never see a mattress on the curb that is just "old" and slightly worn out. People buy new mattresses every day, but the ones you see thrown out always look like they have spent the last 10 years in a Mexican bordello. Was someone really sleeping on that horrible thing the night before? Is that stain blood or sperm or both?
  10. Pets. I love dogs. I have one myself. However, you should be wary of neighbours with outdoor dogs. An outdoor dog usually means nightly barking. If a neighbour does have an outdoor dog at least look for one that looks healthy and loved and with a shelter that appears to be well maintained and clean. If there are outdoor cats in the neighbourhood be prepared to find suprises buried in your garden on occassion.

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Jaak writes:

Our neighbor has problems. In his head.

He's had issues to the point where other neighbours have moved out of their houses. We decided to stand our ground. My father was a concentration campsurvivor, so pfft to my neighbor.

In 2005 he punctured our central air conditioning unit. Our househeated up to 40 C. The windows aren't built for a window airconditioning unit. We hired a contractor. The hose for the freon ran along the property line. Our neighbor chased him off.

Now we also have a son, who was 6 months old at the time. The police get involved, as the necessities of life are within their jurisdiction (remember that kid who died of heatstroke when it was 40 C? If not, rest assured the police do). The repair was finally taken care of while the police restrained him.

Now my neighbor stalks me while I drop off my son to daycare. He and his wife have done this 6 times in the past year. The police say they need more than this. In the meantime, he's paved over 1/4 of our front lawn for his car. The police say that is a civil matter. I hired a surveyor to make sure of our property and the related rights. When they attempted to take the measurements he physically threatened one of them. The police were called but they didn't fine or charge him for interfering. Some people thinks it is because he's a retired cop.

Now he likes to point his finger like it's a gun and then say "pow". I hate this. I can't get a fence until I get a survey, and I can't get a survey because he threatens physical interference and no one will doanything. Advice is appreciated.

Ca1v1n Replies:

First sorry it took me a month to get this posted, I was attempted to organize my inbox and well nevermind... got lost in the shuffle. Your best bet for getting a survey in my opinion would be to have it done while he is on vacation or out of the house. Now, this may be difficult to arrange, however if you have read the Harry Potter series of books you may be familiar with a particular trick. Harry's uncle and aunt were sent a letter saying they had won the "Best Lawn" competition and to come to a certain place at a certain time to pick up their prize. This of course was a trick, but it allowed Harry to get snuck out of the house by his friends from Hogwarts. Something as simple as this may work. Perhaps two phony tickets to a "Fraternal Order of Policemans Dinner" at City Hall or something of that nature. Get the survey done and the fence built ASAP after that (same day if possible). I also recommend you get some video footage of the violent hand gestures.

This reminds me of something that happened to my father-in-law. He had a 10 year battle with his neighbour over a property line. Every year the survey was done and the property line marked. Every year the survey confirmed what my father-in-law believed to be the accurate properly line (which the neighbour contested). Once the markers were put in the ground the neighbour promptly moved them 2 feet to the right... every year for 10 years.

Finally two years ago (by some strange coincidence) the person doing the survey turned out to be a "golf-buddy" of the neighbour. Suddenly after 10 years the survey indicated the property line was 2 feet to the right of where it had been. THE SAME DAY the survey was done my father-in-law arrived home to find a fence had been built. They had literally put it up in a matter of a couple hours.

Turns out the neighbour had everything planned. Had all the materials sitting in his garage ready to go. Now the lawyer said my father-in-law would probably win if it went to court, but all things considered, why not just forget about the whole thing. This isn't a city lot, but a large rural lot (we are talking 200' in size) so 2 feet one way or another does not really matter. He got a free (and very nice) fence out of the deal and would have many thousands of $ in legal fees even if he did win. So he washed his hands of the whole thing.

This would never work in a urban area, where lot sizes are small and 2 feet can make a huge difference.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Jazzman writes:

A year ago my new neighbors bought the house right next door. They have a mixed bag of people in their marriage and their house. The mother is a quiet, keep to herself, "I don't hear anything or see anything" kind of parent. In other words the teenage kids can do whatever they want to whoever they want and its OK. She works nights and so does her husband.

Since they have moved in we have had "accidental" paintballs hit our car. Our house was also egged. Now as of this morning...

It was about 10 AM. I went out to my car to go take my daughter to go shopping. When I get to my car I find toothepaste on and under my door handles. Instantly pissed I went looking for the teenage kids. Well the 2 girls were in their front yard talking. I asked the one girl if I could talk to her. She instantly said "Why?" in a really snotty tone. I said I need to ask her a question. I told her about the toothepaste (because thats all I had noticed so far). She claimed innocence, "We didn't do anything..leave us alone! Quit talking to me, etc." I went in the house and got my husband.

He came out and said a few things to them while I took pictures of my car. Then I noticed some other things. Like toothepaste on my lawn chairs, my mailbox had dog poop on it and a waterpump I have for decoration on front was wearing a Depends diaper. (That actually sounds pretty funny, wish I could see a picture - Ca1v1n)

My daughter left her boom box outside and someone had poured soda in it. We also found empty soda cans and cigarettes all over my front yard. Then I noticed they had egged my husbands car. I was ready to choke them.

I cleaned my car off and went to the police station and reported it. By the time I got home the parents were home and talking to my husband. They all believed it was the 2 or possibly 3 of the teenage girls visiting there last night. We also found a notebook my daughters had left outside and these girls wrote all sorts of disgusting and nasty things in it. When the police arrived I showed him my pictures and the notebook so it would all be on record.

I just wish they would move and leave us the hell alone!