Out of Control Neighbor...please help!

kleidanJune 13, 2008

This just happened and im freaking out about it. My husband and i got home ( we were driving seperatley)...our apartments are built in a col de sac way with parking in the middle. I parked and got out while he went up the middle looking for a closer space. He didnt find one and started backing down the street. There was an older woman walking up right behind him while he was backing out. She was pretty close when he finally saw her and stopped. She did not try to move at all. Not left or right just straight towards his car. Once he stopped she walked up to his window and in an ugly tone said, "Didnt you see me?!" and since she was ugly about it, he said "Didnt you see ME?!" Then her son comes rushing out yelling. He's a big guy about 30 or so and had obviously been drinking. He was yelling stuff like "Hey man! You have a problem man!" My husband drove down the street and parked and we both just went into our apartment. We had to take the dog out to do her busines outside and of course that guy was out there just waiting for us. He told my husband to go there and he did. (Which i did not aprove of but anyways) He started yelling again saying "You disrespected my mom man!" So i was like "How did he disprespect your mom?" And he went off yelling and throwing his arms up and jumping around like he was just ready to hit my husband, totally ignoring me just throwing his hands up yelling at my husband who was just quiet. I told my husband to not say anything. He didnt. But this man was getting very violent yelling so all of the neighbors came out to watch the spectacle. He was saying stuff like "I dont care where your from, Mexico or Puerto Rico so come on man come on" He was totally out of control. Then his old mom comes out yelling at my husband as well. I said "Listen lady, he didnt see u walking there at first and then he did. He didnt hit you with the car or anything so whats the problem?" And she starts yelling just like her son and she says to me, "You dont know u were not there!" and i said "yes i was watching the whole time" (Which i was) and she rudley says "Your as big as a house you were not there!" I didnt say anything to her I just could not beleive that such an old woman would be so immature an uneducated as she was. Surely my family and my grandma would never act as they did. So i was pretty pissed by then. Then this guys wife comes out yelling just the same. (And just for your info...if im as big as a house then she was as big as walmart lol) and well same stuff..yelling and cussing blah blah. Finally this guys friend comes out and quiets them down and stuff.

So thats what happened. Now I really can not stand to live here anymore. I feel threatened by them. I know that every time they see my husband or I they will cause a commotion. It is just what kind of people they are. Does anyone know what i mean by what "kind" of people they are? I mean for an older women to come out yelling and all of them stinking like beer? It was totally nuts. So, in the morning im going to the office to complain. This is obviously not a peaceful place for us. In their yelling the man said his mom had lived here for 9 years. So, obviously the land lord will probably take sides with her. I understand it was my husbands fault for the car thing since pedestrians have the right of way. But these kinds of things happen all the time and no one was hurt. She was not even close to being hit by the car and was not in any way disrespected. This man was way out of line.

We just moved into these apartments not even a month ago. Does anyone know what we can do to get out of here? Do I have a case because I have no problem taking them to court. No where in the lease did it say we agreed to be harassed by the other tenants. I thought the land lord was supposed to provide us with a peaceful place to live, not one with drunk men and drunk old ladies yelling at us. Please comment.

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Hi, the first thing you need to do is cool down - being emotional and thinking about court (you watch a lot of TV?) is not going to help anything, but escalate it worse. Two things happened - one is that the woman was walking where she was walking, maybe a bit preoccupied for whatever reason and not paying attention 100% - not a crime in an older person and one to be forgiven (or do you never, ever daydream?). The second thing was that your husband, in a hurry to get home, starting backing up without maybe checking carefully behind him (coulda been a little kid on the road invisible through his rear window) and then got all tense when he realized he'd almost backed into a person. The fact is, if he had hit her, a court would find him responsible for not being ultra careful as he was the one driving a 'weapon' - big heavy mechanical beast. What if the woman had Alzheimer's or something - it's the duty of drivers to not hit people if there is any way at all to do so, which means being vigilant about where they're driving. Certainly people have a responsibility to be careful about where they walk, but in court (seeing a you think that's an answer to anything) it won't be seen that way. Now seeing as you're the new ones there, I think it would be a very smart move to just chill for a while, not be provoked by a guy who was trying to protect his mother (pretty valid, after all) and who ended up being confronted by your husband, all tense from almost hitting someone. You need to learn to get along, not run to court or anything else over such things, and it would probably be a much better idea to maybe send a little note of apology, saying you're sorry if anyone got upset over the incident, but being new to parking in cul de sacs, you intend to be very careful in future, and hope you can be friends. Don't expect a 'nice' answer or any answer, but at least you will have done your part to settle things down rather than make them worse. Not everything is a 'case'! The other guys will probably cool off too, so give them time to do that as well - after all whatever the mother was doing in the road, she may have been used to walking there (not used to your being there cuz you're new). Try to get along instead of starting new wars.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 6:01AM
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I tend to agree with the gist of what lucy is saying, just let sleeping dogs lie with this one and chalk it up to obnoxious drunk behavior. Do you have to take it again? Absolutely not.

Hopefully with the light of new day you are seeing this in a calmer perspective and not seething further.

Your landlord is not a babysitter. This involved adults who are all responsible and accountable for their own individual behavior. Going to LL/mgmt and demanding your rights would result in a few questions, no doubt. Reading what you wrote, the guy beckoned your DH and your DH complied. Knowing the guy was P.O.'d and drunk, why would your DH even approach him a second time? You say the guy was yelling violently and waving his arms in a manner that intimated he was ready to physically assault your husband. Yet you and your DH remained there long enough to not only continue tolerating the son's tirade, but then the mother (whom you exchanged words with), then the son's wife, the finally a 4th party, their friend who broke it up. And basing the time of your post with your words that "this just happened", other neighbors had time to haul their hind-ends out of bed or off the sofa to observe some of the commotion. Therefore it doesn't really sound like a situation where you were victimized and/or panic stricken.

So why did you engage so long while person after person approached? Why didn't you simply take your pup and immediately go back inside? If you say it's because your dog needed to go, that doesn't match up with what you say you were feeling at the time. Because no one truly fearful of being harmed sets their fear aside long to allow pup a chance to whiz on a tree. ;)

These are things you need to ask yourself before you go marching in and demanding your rights to LL/mgmt or taking these people to court. Because whomever you complain to is going to wonder the same things. I'm not being critical of you, just trying to get you to see all sides of the box, especially from the perspective of someone who was not there but whom you ask to mediate. (BTW, there is no reasoning with a drunk. Ever. It's futile to even try.)

No doubt your lease does say you are entitled to the right of quiet enjoyment, but so is everyone else. Other neighbors could complain about the drunk neighbor and your actions as far as that goes. At this point all the LL can do is have a talk with the neighbors since it's one party's word against another.

Meantime, if you want to inform management or your LL in a calm, mature, professional manner what happened, and that you are feeling uneasy and anxious for your safety, nothing wrong with that. But keep in mind this is not black and white, and there appears to be actions on both sides that ignited things further. You are not the only one whose right to quiet enjoyment was disrupted, and the situation was lengthier than it had to be because you two didn't remove yourself from it immediately. For your own credibility, don't get all fired up and go in making accusations and demands without first asking yourself those questions above.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 8:38AM
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What's important is to make the future friendly and calm, not prove who's right or wrong this time - or if you were to 'prove' anything, you'd still end up having a very unfriendly neighbour for years, and is that really worth it?

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 10:03AM
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Well i think there is a misunderstanding here. I didnt say I wanted to take these people to court. What I meant was that if they harass us on regular basis then I would surely want out of my lease. Im not saying that they have since last night or that they will ever again....but if they do then I would rather not live by them. Court would only come in play if the landlord would not let me out of the lease after being constantly harassed by these other tenants.
About the time we spent arguing...we were probably arguing for 5 minutes. Sure, I agree with you guys saying that we should have just stayed at home and not taken the dog out. I wish that thats what would have happened. People were out staring at us in about 1 minute though since this guy was yelling at the top of his lungs.

If you guys have lived in apartments then im sure this has happened to you before..meaning...backing out and not seeing someone right a way or having someone start backing into you while walking. These things happen and are by no means deliberate. If you ask me, it was obvious that these people like to start a big commotion every time they see a chance.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 2:54PM
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I see you just registered today. Hopefully, a few more people will post. You and your husband deserve credit for NOT responding in kind when the jerks made comments about your race or weight.

You'd think after living in the complex for NINE YEARS that the potty mouth mother would have enough sense to move out of the way when a car was coming through the parking lot. I guess being drunk excuses her from watching where she's going. Or maybe she's uptight because her 40 something year old loser son still lives at home? (!)

Do you have a camera phone or video camera? Take this with you when you walk the dog. Try to walk in the opposite direction of the troublemakers. If they bother you then call the police. File a complaint with them as well as the landlord so you have a record of the harassment. Try to make friends with the other tenants so you have witnesses.

If the harassment persists, contact your tenants union and see if you can get a mediator to help intervene. If all else fails, get an attorney to help you break your lease.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 3:43PM
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I think it would be fine to contact the landlord and say, without heat or anger, "Here's what happened, and everyone in their family was yelling at us, and we are a little concerned about them starting this again, or trying to continue it, so we want to go on record with, and to alert you."

Then maybe follow up w/ a letter to the office reminding them that you reported this incident and want it on record with them.

Then that's all; let it rest. But you'll have laid some ground work if this comes up again.

And if the landlord is the type who wants to eliminate trouble, he'll have the info in case he decides not to renew their lease, or to roll several complaints into a single eviction action, etc. He may not want to, but at least he'll know.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 11:40AM
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One other thought.

I have learned, from riding the NYC subway system, that it is just faster and easier to apologize to wackos.

It doesn't hurt me.

I had a lady back right into me once, and almost knock me over; she whipped around and nastily said, "The least you could do it apologize!" I said, "I'm sorry!"

I don't need a fight. I don't need to be right. I just need for the interaction w/ the crazy person to END AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

If I grovel, they'll go away. I grovel.

It doesn't affect the *truth*, which is that I didn't knock into her; she knocked into me.
It doesn't affect the *truth*, which is that your husband saw her well before she was in any danger.

"Gee, I'm sorry!"

It's no skin off my nose--nobody who really *matters* is going to think less of me because I apologized to a nut-job.

In fact, if my neighbors are watching, then my apology only serves to make the wacko look even more out of control--I win!

(that was the case on the subway--the other people around me raised their eyebrows and looked at the OTHER lady, then smiled at me in sympathy. And a bit of gratitude--they didn't want to get trapped ona subway car w/ a wacko having a fight w/ a stubborn bystander.)

I look at it the way I do telemarketers: what do I *really* want out of this interaction? for them to go away, as fast as possible. How do I get it? By apologizing and walking away; by saying "no thank you" and hanging up.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 11:45AM
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I dealt with the same type of thing. My neighbor was loud mouth. He yelled at everyone in the cul-de-sac. He was always looking for a fight. I am retired from the military and am a reserve police officer. He thought I was a full time cop. And when I told him I was retired he flipped out. As he said "That really pisses me off!" I was 38 years old. He would try to pick fights with me and when I would not bite he would call me a wussy and laugh. He was a druggy and alcoholic. I constantly heard and witnessed fights coming from his house. I just ignored him and it made him more mad. Long story short... he threatened to "kick my ass" So I called the police. They told him if he threatened me or harassed me again he would go to jail. After that he called me sir and left me alone.
Do not fight with your neighbors. And do not take the law into your own hands. Being outside and screaming at you is considered disorderly conduct. And if you almost back over someone, apologize no matter how ugly they are being to you. That probably would have prevented your situation.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 12:20AM
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Lucy youre nuts! For all we know this coulda been an insurance scam and no I dont watch alot of tv.Easy for you to tell someone thats been verbally assaulted by Ma Barker and her boys to calm down.Send a note of apology ?No Way.All the mgr will do is say call the cops and I would so its on record.I refuse to tolerate bullies.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 12:32PM
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