Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Stephenie writes:

My husband and I purchased our first house in the wonderful state of California in the extremely overpriced Orange County 9 years ago. When we bought the house, our neighbors were great!Picture perfect… really!

A few years later, Norma (our neighbor to the right), let her 40 year old (single) son, Rocky, move back home. At first, he seemed like a pretty nice guy. He worked on cars here and there, but his mom kept him in line. Things were still good.

In December of 2006, our daughter was born… and Norma passed and life has changed as we know it.

Here is the list of Rocky challenges:

He started working on cars (all day) in the driveway with pneumatic tools and air compressors (very noisy). The police were out several times to warn him. After a year and several visits by both my husband and the authorities, he has gone back to work and the auto shop has slowed down as well as the hoodlum foot traffic.

Amazing he was able to get away with this at all. I remember from living in OC (well technically Fullerton) as a kid that there were a lot of bylaws about running a business like this from your home. I guess it all depends on the local enforcement - Ca1v1n

He has 4 bedrooms which he has rented out 3. One to his biker girlfriend with a trucker mouth, one to the tow truck driver that comes and goes at all hours of the night, and to a couple that do construction work. We try not to pay attention to any of them. The couple that are renting from him have made attempts to keep good relations with us. We are trying to be hospitable, but it is hard since we are fed up with Rocky.

Unfortunate about the renters, have you checked local bylaws? Your neighbourhood may be zoned single-family only. Its the kind of law that would only be inforced if someone complains to the municipality - Ca1v1n

With all the roommates comes all the cars (12 to count them all) which none of them sit in the driveway. So where do they park, in front of our house. For a while, they constantly had the rear end of their car hanging out in our driveway. Parking control took care of that, but our neighborly relationship has continued to diminish. The last time we tried to communicate with him, he called my husband a “wetback”, and other cheap shots (he is French/Spanish heritage).

So why don’t the cars sit in the driveway…because he has a boat that doesn’t run, half a tow truck under a blue tarp (yes…just the back half), oil barrels from doing oil changes, and a broken construction truck with a huge ladder sticking up.

Have you tried making an environmental related complaint about the oil barrels? You may be able to get somewhere with that. As well, look into local bylaws about abandoned or "eyesore" vehicles. In many places if it can't be driven, it can't be left on a driveway. - Ca1v1n

As if that isn’t enough, his room is leaking (damage control was out after the last good rain). Now there are several mint green tarps being held down by bricks on the roof.

Last, but certainly not least, trash day. Our driveways empty into the street side by side. He places his trash cans against the island between our two driveways. We put our cans out in front of our house on the other side of our driveway. As of recently (the past 3 months), he has started a new game. They park their cars in front of our house and don't leave any space so the garbagemen can reach the cans. I spoke with the couple that are renting and asked if they could relay the message to Rocky to move his truck. It just continues. My husband is fuming. The city can only chalk his tires, and he keeps moving his cars.

We are in the process of building a fence to block our view of his trash dump & hopefully to help us cool off. We are a younger couple that have worked very hard to get where we are at. We went down the avenue of selling the house from June to October last year. Ends up that was one of the worst times to move. If we do move, it is going to cost us a lot in the long run (property taxes are out of control out here). What would you do? We are doing everything in our power to avoid a physical confrontation. (My husband is a black belt in Jiu jitsu).

Your best bet is to investigate every local bylaw and start making formal (written not phone) complaints to the local bylaw inforcement office. California is a 'green' kinda place these days, so start with the oil barrels and anything else that could be considered hazardous. Then go for the abandoned vehicles. There may be something about storing the boat as well. In many neighbourhoods local bylaws require boats and RV to be out of sight of the street.

Whatever you do avoid a physical confrontation. This guy sounds like a deadbeat who would sue you for all your worth. Now is also not the time to move the way the real estate market is. You may find a bargain foreclosure but you will also likely lose money on your own sale. Tough it out. It is a shame he probably inherited the property fully paid for when his mother died.

Instead of building a fence, take a look at the Leland Cypress for a living fence (read my previous post on the subject and use Google to investigate further. You could have a wall of trees that blocks his property from view within a few short years.

As an absolute last-ditch effort... introduce him to Crystal Meth. I hear that will destroy your life in a matter of months! He will end up selling the house to pay for his new habit. Of course this could backfire and you end up living next door to a drug den. On second thought forget I even mentioned this.

Good luck,



Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Sounds like my neighborhood "mechanic". You aren't allowed to operate a mechanic's garage out of a residential home. Call by-law.

Anonymous said...

Rocky and his tenants sound like the neighbours from hell. You have my sympathy. It's a shame you are stuck with this guy; the way he neglects his property is going to have an impact on your home's value.

Calvin's meth suggestion is great!

Anonymous said...

I am happy to announce that we listed our home May 8th and had 8 offers over asking within 48 hours (before the "For Sale" sign went up). Once the sign went up, the antics began....but it was too late.

We are enjoying the last laugh!

Bye bye Rocky!