Hoarding Neighbors from H-E double-ell
What can a neighborhood do when everyone keeps their premises clean and attractive but one? There's one home that has the appearance of a junkyard. The place is an eyesore and brings the property values down. This neighboring house which is not sided has tyvek paper flapping in the breeze (for years now with duct tape everywhere and all sorts of misc. patches), has holes with birds flying in and out all day, an unsightly barn filled to the brim and trash everywhere.
We've planted trees along the edge, but they just won't grow tall enough (or thick enough). Rotting twisted pieces of metal in the yard, mice, skunks during the day, an absolutely huge pile of compost, boats down the back of the driveway, a storage container (yes, they actually brought more junk in to store in the container!), a delapitated barn that is full of junk, old cars, piles of wood, and the list goes on.
There is no zoning code under which the city can do something. We've already tried the "neighborly" route. Offered to help side the house, offered to pay to have it sided, then offered a free week-long vacation at our Cape Cod cottage if they'd side it (they go away very frequently on vacations - to run from their problems I suppose). No go. His wife told me that once someone says he has to do something then he really won't. Catch him if you can (these are 40-something people with two young children).
I've been to see the building inspector, I've talked to the health agent. I've even called their mortgage company to see if they could do something. No go. It's their constitutional right to live in those conditions says the town.
Now here's the kicker -- their home insurance agent called them about two years ago and said they had to finish up the siding (which is about 10 years old, unfinished addition) by the end of the summer. And then the agent disappeared (she told me she thinks he moved to FL). Never heard from the insurance company again.
We've been on friendly terms with these neighbors for 6 years but I've had it and let them know. I won't even let their kids play here anymore because she just naps while I watch them.
Now I'm afraid of the husband. He's added to the mess, bringing an old tub into my view and plopping it down. Health agent told me he'll "talk to the guy and make sure the plug is out of the tub so there's no mosquitos" He's added all kinds of stuff - ladders, upside down chairs, buckets, etc. He told my husband he was thinking of parking his flatbed truck and Caterpilar so I could see them out my kitchen window (which is my side yard, right where we were hoping to create a patio). He has a landscaping/plowing business that I can't find a listing for anywhere, so I'm sure it's fly-by-night.
He also said he thought about adding grafitti to the side of the house I complained about. Afraid? Yes. I think he's psychotic.
Their house is a monstrosity that towers over mine. I'd need a 30' tall fence to completely block it out. I'm not sure if trees will grow tall enough but we are going to see to it. I'd like to sell but for two problems: I love my house and we'd never get what it should be worth due to our neighbor's property. I feel trapped. We'd like to add on, but can't because we'd never recoup the money.
The neighbors all agree with me, but they don't have the view I have, and though they all say yes, yes YOU go to the town hall and complain, I don't believe they are courageous enough to sign anything. I've done all but put something in writing and sign it. I'm afraid to.
It must sound like I'm in a slum in the city but I'm not. I live in a beautiful little town on the North Shore of MA.
Whew! Any suggestions?