Nasty Neighbor - Need Input

wtaylorAugust 23, 2004

I have had an ongoing "feud" with the woman next door for about 5 years now. I have kept up a nice "ignore she exists" campaign for about 14 months now, but she will not let up. Today she verbally attacked the Lowe's delivery guy because he blocked her driveway for a couple of minutes. She even claimed that we paid him to block it purposely. Rather than let her verbally assault the poor guy, I stepped in and got into it with her. We exchanged the usual insults long enough for the delivery man to unload everything and leave, then I assumed the "ignore her existence" campaign again. She, however, will yell ugly things to my husband, myself and all others who visit for the next few weeks. She used to throw things at my cat, tease my dogs, throw animal feces on my house, etc. We have spent hundreds of dollars on fencing and installed a camera system and the physical attacks have stopped, but the verbal have not. I try my best not to stoop to her immature level, but every once in a while I find myself in a stupid name-calling & cursing episode with her because, let's face it, there's only so much one can take. I live in Tennesse. Does anyone know of anything legally I can do to stop her, besides going to an attorney and spending more money? We used to have such nice neighbors before she moved in. I thought about calling the Fire Marshall and seeing if I could have her welding shop that she has in the back yard shut down. I don't think we are zoned for that type of home business. I figure it would minimize her time spent at home if she had to go elswhere to work. (She's a metal "artist"). I also figure, however, that it might escalate the situation and I would never forgive myslef if she tried to hurt my family or my pets. I hope someone out that has some great ideas because I'm at my wit's end.

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Can either of you remember what started this "feud"?

Do you live in a place that has neighborhood mediation? It's for defusing situations like this.

As for calling the zoning about the studio, you might get rid of the welding shop, although artists studios are usually exempt, but she's be able to guess and it would make her more aggreessive.

I suggest meditation (for you) because you can't change her - you can only change your reactions to her.

I'm surprised a third neighbor hasn't called the cops on the both of you for the "name-calling & cursing episodes" in public.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2004 at 9:52AM
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Collect evidence i.e. tapes of her calling you names,video tapes of her going off etc then go to court and ask for a restraing order.Then if she talks or attempts to make any kind of contact with you,she goes to jail. Unless she is so ill that she can't comprehend "going to jail" she will behave better. My neighbor had to do this with another neighbor whom they had fought with for 3 years. Much more quiet around here now.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2004 at 10:43AM
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I remember exactly what started the feud. She asked my husband to help her with some work on her studio (framing, putting up sheetrock, etc). He said no problem - he would be happy to help. On the day he had promised to help, he came down with the flu and I ended up taking him to the emergency room because he was so sick. Well, she was furious that we did not call her because she "wasted her whole day waiting around". I explained the situation to no avail. My husband was only trying to help - wasn't charging her or anything, just being neighborly. We have tried to be pleasant since then only to have her throw cat turds on our newly painted house. We have no problem with the woman except that she will not leave us or our visitors alone. The camera system has audio along with it but she is always on her property so her rantings aren't clear on tape. I was trying to avoid a court situation, but the more input from people I get, the more it appears to be the only solution. Thanks for the suggestions, though.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2004 at 4:58PM
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I am sorry but you are very possibly in a no-win situation. Even taking legal action, which would be very expensive and difficult, might not rectify the problem. Often people are advised just to move. I will very shortly be in your situation with the people who have bought and just started to remodel the house next door. I also have pets - the only way to get to me is through trying to hurt them. They have already tried intimidation with me - that didn't work - I grew up with worse than them - but escaped the environment. The police have a mediator but he can't really enforce the by-laws and works 9 - 5 Monday to Friday. The remodelling is going to go on for a year and will involve taking over of our laneway - and that is just the beginning - and we don't have street parking. I never lose my temper - I just get quiet. Can't say the same for these people. I was just recently referred to in the most unflattering way - words I have thought in my mind but never said. I did report the incident to the police. My husband was in shock. I had told him the goings on that took place last week, but always wanting to be the "nice guy" thought that I was embellishing things. He has now seen and heard it first hand. If you do end up in court, I wouldn't count on support from your neighbours. People protect themselves. I on the other hand, have been a witness for neighbours with respect to domestic disputes and reported break-ins. I think that I might soon be getting over that feeling of needing to do the right thing - I come forward when an innocent party needs back-up. I wish you the best of luck and keep your pets away from her - the welding would scare me to death.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2004 at 5:49PM
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wtaylor -
She's nuts! Get some evidence and get a restraining order (they are cheap) and if she violates it, call the cops.

It may sink in to her that she needs help.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2004 at 10:04PM
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I would try a restraining order as well. Go to your district courthouse to get the paperwork filled out. You might try talking with her, but she sounds unreasonable and somewhat unstable!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2004 at 8:09PM
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Just a follow up on everyone's suggestions. Eccentric had posted that the welding shop would scare the hell out of him/her. To tell the truth, it scares the bajesus out of me as well. So I began there. I called the local Fire Marshall and requested an investigation. Apparently, I had reason to be concerned because the Fire Marshall has returned twice since his initial visit, so I am assuming there was some sort of hazard they were checking and rechecking. I have also installed two more video cameras and I now walk around with a handheld recorder with me at all times. Hopefully, all of this will deter her from bothering us again. I guess only time will tell. Thank you for all the suggestions.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2004 at 11:24AM
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I just read your post. I had neighbors that hated kiddos. Nasty group bought into a town home community that the builder said was for 'adults'. Well, you cannot discrimintate. I had children. Boy, they hated having kiddos. Nasty group of people in the DC /northern VA viper pit area.

I moved. On my last drive through the neighborhood before I kicked the dust off my feet to never look back, the one guy that griped the most about children and wrote about my kiddos in the community news letter...had a little squirt outside playing in the culdesac. His new young wife had a "little cuss" as he called my children.

Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

How's your situation?

    Bookmark   June 27, 2005 at 1:26AM
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Wow, that sounds like a horrible situation. Hopefully the fire marshall's visits will not make the situation worse.

We had a neighbor who used to 'forget' her keys in her doorlock. We returned the keys to her at least 3 times. They would wake up at 4:30am to get ready for work and walk around above our bedroom for 2-3 hours. We finally couldn't take it and things got nasty. Later on, she lost her keys. She blamed us for stealing them from her front doorlock. We had nothing to do with it, and we had even helped her avoid having someone else break into her house, yet she still took her anger out on us. During every encounter she would mention how we stole her keys on purpose.

It's a lot of effor on your part, so I hope something positive comes about from the fire marshall visit, the restaining order, and the camera and voice recorder. On the other hand, 'maybe' that effort should be put into finding a new place?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2005 at 9:34PM
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Maybe you can help us. We don't have screaming kids,
barking dogs, loud music or other disturbing noise. I live in a 55+ community.
Have been living here for past four years. Our community deals with a different kind of nasty neighbors. There is a small group of people who are malicious, defame characters and cost our community a small fortune. The leader of this group is a woman who is a control freak and power hungry. She preys on the old and sick. In the past two years we spent nearly $10,000.00 in attorney's fee. She is a malicious instigator and starts false rumors. When she ran for the Board she did not disclose all of her past. Yet she insisted on running a background check on our current President with the hope to find dirt on him. We are a small community. Most of us are on a limited budget. This woman and her followers are snowbirds, and own houses up North. Money does not matter to them or they would stop their unsuccessful crusades. Last year they tried to recall our president. Spread nasty rumors about him that he is harassing and stalking women. The recall was unsuccessful because the majority of homeowners voted for our president. Because of the nasty rumors and other despicable actions against our president he was left with no choice but to get legal advise from our condo attorney. When this group started this recall they passed out a letter that there will be no charges to the homeowners. Currently we are looking at an attorney bill of $4000.00 which they refuse to pay. Our president and board has done the best for this community. We are paying lower maintenance then last year. We had such a happy and quiet summer. As soon as they came the harmony of this community has been disrupted. This has to stop. Want to get a gag order against her and her followers. God, I love to find a solution. The senior years should be the best.
This is worse then barking dogs and screaming kids.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2008 at 9:40AM
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Check out this website (and no, I am not spamming)
I found a link to that site via the Home Disasters forum here (someone was having nasty issues with a neighbor). Curious, I checked it out. Those folks have been through every kind of situation imaginable, and from what I've read of some of the posts there, many of them know the ins and outs and legalities of situations like these.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 9:22PM
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