Neighbor's Rundown House

pkockJuly 25, 2004

This isn't MY home disaster, but I can't figure out any other forum to post this plea for advice. If there is one, please let me know.

I am a tolerant person. I'm not the type to complain about minor annoyances neighbors do, and I appreciate the same treatment from them. This is why we do not live in a HOA-type neighborhood. We're outside city limits, in a township - 25-year old houses on 1/3 acre lots. Generally speaking, it's a great place.

The neighbor across the street is a problem, though, that's gone on far too long. It's a long story involving divorce. We knew he would let the place run down, but weren't expecting this degree. He hasn't cut the backyard all summer and has only cut the front once. There is an above ground pool which is falling down and the cover has been left to sit against a decaying swingset. He piles garbage bags on his back deck for weeks at a time. The pile of garbage in his driveway has been steadily growing and also includes various construction equipment and scraps. He leaves his house windows open all of the time, even if he's not there for several days. There is no glass in the garage windows. Weeds have overtaken the cracks in the driveway. It's hideous. And I promise I am not exaggerating - don't have to.

A lady from the mortgage company comes by now and then to ask me and other neighbors if it's still occupied. We want to be kind, so we tell her we do see him now and then, though less and less. He does not live there anymore, as far as I can tell. He stops by sometimes for a few minutes to drop off junk or pick it up. Since we do see him sometimes, she puts down "occupied" on her report.

We heard a rumor that they were going to foreclose, but then he declared bankruptcy (the neighbor rumor mill...) so they couldn't.

Evidently there is nothing our township can do about it. I've e-mailed, but got no response. Another neighbor has called and sent letters, but nothing has happened either.

The guy a few houses down had his house on the market a couple months ago, and the run-down house was a big problem. Frankly, I'm surprised it sold! I cannot STAND having this dump across the street from me, in an area when every other home is kept so nice and neat. It's not good for the kids too - I'm afraid his trash will bring rats and other nasties. Don't know what to do!


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I know you said you contacted the town, but did you try your local Board of Health? All that garbage piled up and overgrown grass must be attracing the kind of creatures you don't want near your house. Maybe if you mentioned the potential public health hazards of this neglected house that would get someone's attention.. (and I apoligize in advance if you already did this)


    Bookmark   July 26, 2004 at 1:25PM
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Ah, the double-edged sword...

You don't want the hassles of an HOA, but don't want the hassles of the neighbor's slumshack devaluing your property.

Quite frankly, there's very likely little to nothing tangible that you can do if your township doesn't have building maintenance standards.

Now you know what I personally am kind of fond of HOA. I can exert a lot more control over my HOA by being on the board than I can on my neighbors in an unregulated community.

Sorry this is a problem.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2004 at 2:03PM
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I would make sure that if the mortgage lady comes back, you tell her that it is not occupied. Stopping by occasionally is not living there, and the rules of the mortgage may be that it has to be occipied. Or more likely it must be insured, and it is VERY difficult to get insurance for a house which is not actually lived in, even if someone "stops by" every single day. We had to pay an exhorbitant rate to insure our beautiful and well-maintained home during the time it sat empty before the new owners closed on it. And we kept the grass mown, etc.

Definitely complain to the dept of heatlh--- you do NOT want rats. Not to mention the mosquito-breeding facility (old pool)..... If you see the guy, maybe you should ask him what's up with the palce. Do you know anyone who would buy it?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2004 at 10:44AM
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the department of health is your next course of action...

and definately rat him out to the mortgage company!

at least he's not gone and burned it down...that's happened around us before.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2004 at 12:38PM
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Another course of action would be to contact your fire marshall. Abandoned house with overgrowth, missing garage windows and trash equals a tremendous fire hazzard. So there are no code enforcements in your town at all? Anyway, try the fire dept.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2004 at 8:01PM
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I made another call, and a lady from the zoning board came out to take photos and assure us (next door neighbor and me, standing in the yard watching the kids play) that they could "get him" on a couple things - noxious weeds, board of health involvement for the un-drained pool and garbage piling up. The next day, the lady next door circulated a petition on our street so neighbors could sign their agreement about how awful his property is getting.

It's all been submitted to the township trustees, and we're informed they're "developing a case file" and preparing to act, which involves sending a certified letter instructing him on what he has to do. But we were told he doesn't have to sign for the letter, and since our township only follows the state laws, there isn't much they can do, practically speaking, beyond bluffing and intimidation.

We'll see. :-(

    Bookmark   August 3, 2004 at 1:57AM
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also, if it's not his primary residence, he can't protect is through bankruptcy.

If he doesn't live there any more, let someone know.

this is exactly the sort of thing that creates HMOs.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2004 at 6:22PM
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He mowed his front yard! This, after two notices from the board of health on his doorknob. (I can see them from my house - they're bright orange.) Some, but not most, of the trash is gone. He spent most of the afternoon today fixing his daughter's bike in the driveway (I know not why - she wasn't even there...) but also spent some time walking around with a clipboard. His alleged girlfriend also showed up at one point, albeit in a dress, not work clothes. Dare I hope that he's addressing the problem? Nah.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2004 at 1:57AM
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He mowed! Both front and back! He cleaned up the trash in the driveway! The house looks SO much better now!

Guess those notices from the board of health helped. Don't know.

Of course, I don't know about the pool - it's probably the same, a foot or so of green water in it; I haven't looked. The glass is still broken out of the garage doors, and he still leaves all his windows open all the time. Shingles are still missing on the roof.

Well, progress is progress! :p

    Bookmark   August 23, 2004 at 2:23AM
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Have you or any of your neighbors had a conversation with this guy? You might feel better if you just knew what his plans were for the future. We had a neighbor in a similar situation - ugly divorce, house rundown. I caught her outside once and told her I heard the house was going to be put on the market. She gave me lots of information (more than I really wanted) which gave me hope. Other neighbors did the same thing and we compared notes and kept each other updated. The house has since sold & new neighbors have greatly improved the property.

You probably don't want to get involved in this guy's personal life, but you could tactfully inquire as to his plans and express concern.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2004 at 9:29AM
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Check your county codes. Grass that is overgrown is a health hazard because it could attract vermin.
I am almost positive that the county health codes cover this. The garbage building up is also a violation of county health codes. The broken windows are definitely! Your best recourse is the county health board. Contact them and you will remain anonymous.
We had problems like this in our neighborhood. Still do in fact....don't get me started. What is WITH some people...actually in our case, we have found that most people with homes like this usually have bad substance abuse problems. OR severe mental problems so be cautious and try not to deal with them directly. Go through a third party.
Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2004 at 1:43PM
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tall grass is not a health or fire hazard...most weed laws that limit your lawn to 10" or less are unenforceable...

however garbage and broken windows do attrack rats and pigeons...both are disease carrying undesirable vermin -
the pool with standing water in it is a mosquito breeding ground - and with the west nile virus scare around my area right now - they would be on that guy in a minute ...
it does sound like he may be slowly making improvements - perhaps he did go throw some kind of mental breakdown after his divorce and now he is on his way to recovery - good luck

    Bookmark   September 20, 2004 at 12:28PM
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Per our county website: these are considered a public nuisance:

Manure And Garbage : Accumulations of manure, rubbish, garbage, refuse, junk vehicles, human and industrial, noxious or offensive waste, except the normal storage on a farm of manure for agricultural purposes.

Offensive Privies, Vaults Or Garbage Cans : Privies, vaults or garbage cans which are offensive and which are not flytight, vermin and rodent proof, or do not comply with the requirements of this chapter.

Insects, Rodents And Other Pests : Every owner of a dwelling shall be responsible for the extermination of any insects, rodents, or other pests therein or on the premises whenever infestation is caused by failure of the owner to maintain the dwelling in rodentproof or reasonable insectproof condition. Furthermore, whenever infestation exists in the shared or public parts of any dwelling, extermination shall be the responsibility of the owner. However, every occupant of a dwelling unit shall be responsible for extermination within the dwelling unit when such occupant shall be responsible for infestation.

Refuse Storage And Disposal : No person shall place, leave, dump or accumulate any garbage, rubbish or other refuse in any dwelling, dwelling unit or multiple-dwelling.

Noxious Weeds : Every owner, lessee, renter or tenant being in charge of or being in possession of lands shall control the spread of and eradicate noxious weeds on such lands, using such methods for that purpose and at such times as are approved and adopted by the director of the Illinois department of agriculture. (Ord. 99-260, 10-12-1999) (I SURE HOPE THE WEED-POLICE DON'T SEE MY GARDEN!!!)

And what is done about it:

Service Of Notice : Whenever a nuisance is found to exist within the county, the health officer shall give written notice to the owner or occupant of the property upon which such nuisance exists or upon the person causing or maintaining the nuisance.

He may come under one of these. Although this is a long and dragged out process. There was a case in our county where one individual had "an obsessive compulsive hoarding disorder" I think. And he had all kinds of old scrap and old appliances on his property and it took years to get him to abate. Once he was even thrown in jail for a while when he assaulted the people sent by the county to clean up. Once it was clean, he would just start right back up collecting his junk...

Although this does not sound like it has gone that far and is not a health hazard yet, you may have an uphill battle....Good luck. Depends upon your town/county.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2004 at 12:08PM
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skatiero may be on to something. We all know what it takes to get government moving, and none of us have a lever that large.

However, the 'mortgage lady' may be able to get the neighbor's insurance company involved. Once they get wind of stuff, especially the pool situation which is an accident or death waiting to happen, I bet things may go a lot quicker. Sounds like its nice to have the lawn mowed, but there are still dangerous elements present.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2004 at 2:09PM
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I came back here out of curiosity, and was surprised to find my post still on page one. So I thought I'd post an update.

A few months ago, the house finally went into foreclosure. A property management co. bought it from the county, boarded up the garage door with missing windows, emptied all the trash from the house and garage, and took away the pool sides and liner. Then someone else bought it.

For a bit over a month now we've watched them work on the place - new furnace/AC, new floors (and I mean FLOORS, not just flooring!), paint, roof, rails, yard work. The garage doors were replaced just this afternoon. The front yard's trimmed and sports a new verdigris birdbath and a porch swing on the big tree. It is BEAUTIFUL over there.

They're a nice couple in their fifties, evidently hard workers, with many relatives nearby and grandkids that visit. Awesome news.

Now if we can just get the guy next door to cut his grass more than once a month and get rid of the junk car that's been sitting in his driveway for 3 years...sigh.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2005 at 2:34AM
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Glad to hear everything turned out well. Foreclosure is such a sad thing to see happen. There was just an eviction up the street from me - I am sure there will be an auction soon. Also the one across the street from me went into foreclosure, it is on the market and no one is buying. The house has some unusual problems - although it looks nice on the outside... I don't think it would do well in an inspection. Personally I think it should be torn down and someone should start over... but I don't think the property around here warrants that yet.
Glad you checked back!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2005 at 10:11AM
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i am happy to see that your situation turned out positively. however, i can't believe you said you wanted your other neighbor to now mow more than 1/month and move a car. i think you are crossing the line there. you said you were not exaggerating about the first complaint and i believed that. unless you want someone to tell you what to do with your property i woudln't suggest telling others what they should do. if you dont like what it looks like, then you should buy it and make it look the way you want. if it becomes a health risk or takes away your rights, then that is a different story.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 8:06PM
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So, may I ask why you were poking around in your neighbors back yard? For someone who doesn't want to live in an HOA neighborhood, you strike me as pretty nosy...

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 4:43PM
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If only we had that luck neighbors house is a disgrace to the neighborhood. Fire Dept. knows about it, board of health know about it, building inspector knows about it. It's falling apart and is surrounded by piles of junk and cars. "It's their civil right," is the answer the town gave us.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 2:40PM
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You know what's sad? Everyone apparently knew it was a 'divorce' situation, saw things going downhill, but no one went over to the guy, asked if he needed help (or just started taking away some of the obvious trash or mowed the lawn), or found out if he did have serious depression or who knows what. You're all so eager to see him punished, but where were you when he could have used a friend?

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 6:27AM
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We had a home here.. younger girl bought it, seldom stayed in it. Think she was afraid of living alone. Seemed that way anyhow.
Her probably granddad, quite an elderly gent, would come take his mower out of his car trunk,, mow & leave.
I guess he grew tired of, or was unable to continue, up-keeping the yard so all us neighbors would occasionally mow or trim bushes when we saw it in dire need. No big deal.. just being neighborly helping the lady & grandpaw out.

But that was for a female. If it was a male's home .. would his lawn been taken care of ? Doubtful!
Surely neglect would have created a network of the same friendly neighborhood complainers. The would have called code enforcement, taken petitions, gossiped.
Ahh .. life in suburbia.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 10:45AM
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The health inspector told me NOT to go to the house next door and clean up. He said they could sue us for trespassing. As a matter of fact, he said they could sue us for harassment if we complained any more.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 8:09PM
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Harassment is unwanted, unwarranted, repeated acts against person or property.

You should never go into another property owners yard unless you ask first. It is trespassing.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2007 at 2:55PM
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Read all this with interest; a dear friend is going through the same mess. Man next door inherited house from his mother, heats house with fireplaces and kerosene, yard covered in dog poop and junk, rats leave his yard and go into my friend's, the smoke billowing from his chimneys sets off her smoke alarms all night so that they have to run their ceiling fans and open their windows. House has peeling paint, broken windows poorly patched and part of fence knocked down and patched with chicken wire. It's an historic downtown where the nice homes are now each worth a million dollars.

She and her husband have talked to him, but he's a bit dysfunctional (doesn't have a job) and can't really carry on a conversation.

The city says there's not much they can do. My friend has written building and zoning dept., health dept., fire and police. They all kind of shrug their shoulders and don't offer much support.

Worst of all, she's trying to sell her home and the realtor says no one wants to move next door to the mess.

Does anyone have any ideas about any recourse?
Big TIA.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 9:25PM
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How about the Fire Department? Or the state DEP? That is just awful. I just don't understand in this case why the town can't be bothered to get involved. How about contacting social services. This isn't healthy for your friend or for her neighbor. Are there any other family members around you can talk to?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 10:36PM
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Could your friend call HER insurance agent to say how it's effecting her home. Her insurance co. should be able to contact the neighbor's insurance co. Then they'd cancel their insurance and the bank would take back the house (if it isn't owned outright). I do think though that it would be a long drawn-out process.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2007 at 10:33AM
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The rats and junk and dog poop are definitely a concern for the health department. She should call the health department. Although I do know that dealing with mentally unstable people is not a piece of cake. Took years for them to get a man to court here to get him to clean up his property where he hoarded old appliances. the yard looked like a junkyard. He would physically attack the people the court hired to clean up the appliances.

Call the health department. They may be able to condemn the house. it has happened several times in my neighborhood and every time it was health concerns.


    Bookmark   March 6, 2007 at 6:32PM
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Thank you all. I am forwarding on these responses to my friend who says they are helping her. She has got the building code enforcement officer coming over to "walk around." Maybe she'll get some support here. Please don't stop posting your ideas and perspectives.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2007 at 8:44PM
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I have a next-door neighbor with a run-down house. They have holes in the side of their house where birds fly in and out, and the health dept. says the holes are the building inspector's dept. and the building inspector says the health dept. should be the ones to call because of the birds. Their yard is a junkyard and the health dept. said technically it's not a junkyard unless he starts selling things from the yard. He said in order to do something about it we would have to prove it was a "public" health hazard. So then the guy plopped a bath tub on our side of his property. When I told our health agent he said he'd talk to the guy and make sure he doesn't have a plug in it. Can you even believe it?

What I was getting at was....mosquitos. You could complain to the health dept. about the abundance of mosquitos from all the standing water, debris, etc. THAT is a public health hazard. Or any fumes as well. Rotten meat, dead animals, etc. They just can't ignore it (although our health dept. did). Does the neighbor dump garbage scraps outside? It may attract wild animals. If your friend has small children, that certainly is a concern.

I am in the same exact boat.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2007 at 9:06PM
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This is for anyone. First of all the statement about civil rights is b.s. Any homeowner must be in compliance with Federal Law, State Law, County ordinances, and City laws and ordinances. You need to find out what your city or county codes are and if your neighbor is in violation. Go to your City Hall or county office and get a copy in person, don't as some clerk on the phone. If you find they are in violation, call your city councilman or your county supervisor. They will probably put you off by saying they will look into it. Don't wait. Go to your city council meeting with as many people as you can and state your problem, and the pertinent code, and ask your councilman to explain to the public what he has done about it. If nothing is immediatly done, write a letter to the editor of your newspaper mentioning the councilmans name and the applicable code. Have your neighbors write a letter to the editor. If nothing is still done, you will have to get someone to run for city council against your councilman or county supervisor and about a week before election write another letter to the editor explaining what your councilman or supervisor failed to do. The problem is most government workers are lazy and don't want to bother with complainers that take up job time they could better spend sleeping, eating, chasing girls, or taking care of personal business on the work phone or computer. If you don't believe this, read the newspapers about some to the Emails that the big guys in government get caught sending. The only thing they respond to is money. If you can tie this into some way where the city of county can make a sizable chunk of change by enforcing the code, then you will have a good chance they will act.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2007 at 8:11PM
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Well the neighbors with the house that is not kept up are putting it on the market. She told DH a few days ago. Of course DH did not ask for how much! They are trying a fsbo I guess because I have seen people through the house and there is no realtor sign and it is not on mls.
I don't think we could afford to buy it, because I think they do know what property in this area is worth even with a dumpy house.
But I am wondering what is going to move in there. With the house in such bad condition, what kind of loan could someone get to buy it?
Wish us luck, hopefully nice neighbors will buy it and finally fix it up. OR better yet, tear it down. I will have to move if bad neighbors are in there. Then I will have bad neighbors on both sides of us. I don't know if I could handle that.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 2:22PM
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If they sell it, then the new owners will have to fix it up to the bank's acceptance. Probably an investor will but. The homeowners' insurance company will take a drive-by and cancel the insurance if the roof isn't fixed, or if it's rundown. I wish I were that lucky for my neighbors to move.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 7:36PM
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The man is your neighbor and should be treated like one. At the very least, he is a human being, not a stray dog. Stop perpetuating the rumors and gossip right now; you should have confronted him to his face about any issues before it got to this point.

Anonymous notes and threats of calling beurocratic agents foster hostility and resentment, not proactive responses. You could have spoken with him -- as a neighbor -- BEFORE you were informed about possible lawsuits by various dep'ts. As a neighbor, it is your responsibility to be a neighbor! Protect your neighborhood -- weeds are easier to kill than gossip, and besides, rumors spread faster and are much nastier than any weed I've ever seen.

The next time it happens with a neighbor, stand up in the right way. Talk to the neighbor. Be nice. Offer to help if it seems like a tough time, or if they are incapable. Don't leave anonymous notes or threaten to call the health department. You will get a much better response, and your neighbor will love you for it. Offer to lend a ladder or mower, or bring over some flower clippings from your own yard.

Love your health and family that help to keep you where you are, and realize that not everyone has these beautiful things. If you can't help those who aren't as blessed, at the very least do not get excited about thier punishment. One day, you will experience life-shattering depression or the physical inability to maintain your home. It is part of life. Would you want someone to treat your father the way you treated that poor man? Would you want to be treated that way if you lost your family? Imagine, when you are old, grey, and alone...

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 3:12PM
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In some cases it is a threat to a person's personal safety (in my case) to directly confront your neighbor. Nice thought, but if you suspect your neighbor is an alcoholic or is a drug addict, it is definitely risky. And people that have issues with their yards, often have substance abuse problems (exc. elderly). In the cases of the elderly, you should be in contact with THEIR RELATIVES who may not know their relative is living in squalor. You read about this in the paper all the time.

BTW: we are good neighbors, we regularly help our older neighbors remove their snow when we know they are sick with colds, etc. Because we know their immediately relatives (whom we also know and are on good terms with) live an hour away.

But we have other neighbors that choose not to be good neighbors to us, so they lose...

Anonymous notes, is wrong, I agree.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 9:54AM
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A mess in and outside a house is not always a sign of drug abuse or alcoholism and the quickness with which you make such distinctions is unfortunate. Not all people are able to manage as well as others, especially if they come on hard times, which can happen to anyone, even wonderful, loving, law abiding citizens. Our society seems hellbent on persisting in the age old belief that only bad people have bad times. Taint so.

Also, a two person knock on the front door in the broad daylight is very unlikely to put you at risk, regardless of the possible questionable behavior going on when you aren't around.

Mental health issues, sudden onset of depression due to financial/family problems, long term depression or even other disabilities that prevent mobility are common ailments that happen to good people.

The elderly are oftentimes easy to categorize as the 'deserving' class when it comes to assistance by virtue their ease in identification. But please consider the hypocrisy of your statements as being elderly does not wipe a lifetime of horrid behavior, nor beget one with pristine virtuousness.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 12:22AM
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Sorry, just speaking for the experiences I have had in my neighborhood and I have not been wrong around here.

And there are things that are "untidy" which most people can deal with. And there is "health hazard" category in which rats and snakes are attracted to the rundown property which should never be acceptable.

And there was a person in our neighborhood who was a mentally ill hoarder who hoarded old appliances in his yard for years. And everytime someone tried to come into his yard to discuss it with him, he became violent. And when they finally got a court injunction to clean up his yard which has hundreds of appliances in it, he attacked the clean up crew.

Depends on your neighborhood, but I live with a bunch of rednecks who like their pitbulls, No way am I going anywhere near their yards. I carry pepper spray when I go on walks around my neighborhood. They may be nice people but their dogs might not be.

Again, depends on your experience and your neighborhood.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 10:43AM
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Maybe talking to the guy would help? Sounds like maybe he's suffering from depression and may need medical attention, or good friends to help guide him along...

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 7:32PM
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Hi, I am new here, but I think I have found the right place to get advice for my problem neighbors....

I own a hous ein a neighborhood that is gentrifying, albeit slowly. The houses are mostly about 100 years old, small cottages built very, very close together- in some cases the roofs touch & my bedroom window is the property line. Most of the people on my street are either fixing up their houses or at least maintaining them- but immediately next door is a rent-to-own nightmare that has been a constant source of trouble for years.

Currently there are 6 adults and 4 children (I think) living in what I know to be a one-bedroom house. There are an assortment of dogs as well, some chained, some loose, and the yard, front & back is full of garbage, dog poop, toys, seats from cars and just junk. There is a constant smell and constant screaming, usually obscenities at the kids who run around naked and play in the dog poop...

They have poison ivy in their back yard which spills over the fence into mine. No matter what I do in my yard to combat it, they won't deal with it on their side so it keeps coming back.

The house looks like it is falling into it's self- the roof is sagging, the walls appear to be caving in. The last time it was vacant, about 18 months ago, I looked inside and the ceiling was drooping down about 12 inches in the middle and the floor was all wavy.... And since there are kids in there, I worry about their safety.

I'm wondering if any of you know what you would have to do to get a house condemned or if trying to do so is even a good idea... I've called the Health Department, Child Protective Services, the ASPCA and Code Compliance, but nothing seems to get done;. I'm at my wits end- and the rest of the block is too. If we could get the lot condemned, I might be willing to shell out the cash to have the house torn down- but I'd have to get it condemned first.

Do any of you know anything about what makes a house condemnable and if it's able to be condemned while people are living in it? Once it's condemned, can it be un-condemned?

A huge thank you!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2007 at 2:58PM
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Ok, if it was me, and I'd called all the necessary officials and nothing was being done (we had a rental like this next to me 10 yrs ago) start leaving anonymous tips at the local newspaper office, every time you hear yelling or sceaming call the cops, call everyday to the humane society (once they're really involved - punishment for animal cruelty can be faster and heftier), call codes officer everyday. The tenants never knew which neighbor was calling, the landlord never knew either - but enough calls finally got the officials to move it to the top of their priority list, got it investigated and it was fixed. Thankfully, the new landlord has had pretty good luck with tenants since then.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 8:40AM
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This is very interesting. I would not poke around anyones property by trespassing on it. I only see my neighbors homes when I drive into my driveway, work outside, mow the yard, or either sit on the deck or sit or lie in the hammock out back. I do know how discouraging it can be to have a neighbor with 36" plus high grass, 30-40 bags of trash/garbage laying exposed for weeks on end, plus I cannot even look at one humming bird feeder from our kitchen window without seeing the missing boards and cracked and rotted clapboard on the neighbors detached garage. Yes, the major county and city I live in has very specific minimum property standards,very strict codes and ordinances, plus a health department that will enforce any health hazards like the trash and the extremely high grass.

I wish that the city would enforce the minimum property standards,too,but; those minimum standards are so strict that someone could complain if you had a chip or knicks in your paint anywhere on your exterior to include marks from keys or keychains on any exterior door opening. Even a small crack in the glass in a garage window is a violation.

The point I am making is there are options like HOA's.I wish we had an HOA for a variety of reasons. Most importantly HOA's generally prevent blighted property from ever being an issue, and they prevent outrageous structures, shoddy or non complying building materials,ets.

The house and detached garage next to me have been severely neglected for many years and I am sure if I tried to sell my home that property would detract most buyers, as well as lower the selling price.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2007 at 8:20AM
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lumper20, you are correct; your neighbors property condition does effect your ability to sell. Case in point:
I am a single woman, and I went looking to purchase my home I made a joke with the realtor: I refused to live next to a house with either a bus parked in the yard or where there were cars up on blocks and teens working on them daily.
Well, he takes me to look at this one well kept and adorable house. It would have been perfect. I go upstairs, open the blinds, and look next door. There in the backyard, I see a yellow school bus parked. I left immediately.
Another house he took me to see was owned by an elderly lady and it was in meticulous condition. But next door was a falling ino the ground house. There was a broken down old station wagon in the back yard with weeds growing up above the car windows. And, an old dishwasher, hot water heater, and a/c unit just sitting out in the yard. 2 more broken down cars in the driveway.
Nothing would make me remotely consider living in a house where such conditions existed that close.
My town is one of the nicest in our area. But strangely, there are not laws that enforce certain minimun standards of property upkeep. Just recently, it has become a topic of conversation due to several situations in town where conditions such as the one you describe have become issues.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2007 at 9:13AM
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With the high turnover of homes, I wouldn't invest much money in an area without some form of strict zoning, blight laws, deed restrictions (and enforcement). You could have a great neighbor this year, and next year it could look like a trailer park & junkyard exploded. I've flipped a lot of investment properties, and built sold & developed for years, but I've stayed away some of the areas with little regulation. Some people think they're protected because they live in a nice neighborhood, but I've seen wealthy people, people that inherited homes, or people lucky enough to barely get a loan that lived like slobs.

Several years ago we built a McMansion for a customer that soon after had a mini trailer park/junkyard near their home. I believe they even had a school bus, but the view was somewhat blocked by overgrown grass, brush and trees. One of the neighbors built a homemade tripod out of timbers to change engines in their junk vehicles. The McMansion owner eventually bought the property, but it took weeks of labor just to clear out the trailers, junk vehicles, boats, campers, metal, garbage and brush.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2007 at 10:18AM
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Yay - my neighbor with the dumpy house next door is finally siding it and painting it. Supposedly he is also renovating the inside, because he has is FSBO currently. for too much $$ everyone thinks.

I really don't think this person even got an appraisal, he just put it out there for what he thought it was worth.

Hopefully if he does manage to sell it, someone normal will buy it. Having 2 ignorant neighbors will push me over the edge. I am already dealing with a psychopath on the other side of my fence.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2007 at 10:39AM
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