Neighbor Problems Part 2

musicgalJuly 17, 2014

I was just reading an old thread- new to neighborhood, neighbor problems- that reached its 150 post limit. I wanted to share a story from our old neighborhood that was in line with the OPs story, so this is a continuation of that thread.

We moved into a brand new neighborhood in 1999. We were the first family to move in on our street with two junior high school aged kids. It was a small town and people were friendly. As our new neighbors started to move in, we met them and noted how we would relate to them. Yards were nicely kept and there were basically no problems. Early on though, I realized that since we had no curbs or sidewalks on our lots, they would eventually become a tempting area for cars to be parked on our grass and sprinkler heads. And let me just clear up the rules of our HOA... overnight parking on streets was strictly prohibited. But, I figured when the newness of the neighborhood wore off, we might start having problems with street parking- and we eventually did. I was very happy we planted a row of dwarf yaupons next to the street. They met the HOA height requirement and they provided a detterent to those who parked across our front yard. There were several times someone tried to mow them down... a yaupon is pretty much indestructible. Running over one will scratch your paint. Parking up against them on a consistent basis is also not good. And all that would do, and did absolutely no harm to anyone who was the occasional overflow parker.

One of the last families to move in on our street was a couple who were about to have their first baby. The husband was about 15 years older than the wife, and she harangued him loudly in front of everyone, but they seemed nice enough. We noticed they were different when we saw ambulances coming to the house on a regular basis. At first, the nearby neighbors were concerned for the new mother, but we quickly learned that the ambulances were called on a regular basis for a variety of reasons that had nothing to do with the couple, but their visiting parents. It became rather bizarre that we became accustomed to blinking lights in front of the house every few weeks because the woman's father had an "attack" frequently when he came to visit. Oh, well.

Years passed. They had two boys. She continued to nag him in front of us all, but everybody began to like him on account of his good nature. He was "that" guy, the one you leave your key with when you go on vacation. But, there was just something a little off...

We were right across the street from him and our driveways ran pretty much straight in a line. He would, as routine, back his truck out of his drive completely into ours, to turn onto the street. The street was plenty wide and this was not a necessary maneuver. Oh well.

Then, one year, he decided he was going to landscape. So he employed some DIY and attached a chain to his car bumper to pull a large pine tree down. A really large tree.
I think his brother was living there at the time, and he took to parking his truck overnight in front of our house. Oh well.

As the boys grew up, the guy would play catch with them in our driveway. Mind now, that our teens had just become of driving age. We had a very long driveway and usually it was fine, but many times he seemed oblivious to our needing to get out to go somewhere. Always a friendly smile and wave. Oh well.

We learned through all the ambulance business that they were the close relatives of a fireman. That was really cool when the fire engine would show up in front of the house for a visit... and I am serious here. We really liked that. What was a little disturbing however, was when he shot roman candles in the street towards our house in violation of both city law and HOA rules. Everybody loved him though... free spirit he was.

Somebody reported him though. He always suspected it was us, but it wasn't. At this point I suspected something was amiss, and although his behavior was increasingly strange, our lots were big and we just wrote it off.

We first tried to sell our house in 2006, just at the beginning of the downturn in our area. Our neighbor lamented the loss of such good neighbors as ourselves, and promptly got a trailer full of mulch which he permanently parked in his driveway for the duration of our first sales attempt. By the time our listing had expired, there was vegetation growing out of the stuff on that trailer. The most bizarre thing about that 6 months was that they befriended some new " down the street" neighbors who for some reason, gave US the stink-eye whenever they saw us. Maybe cookouts in the backyard were passe' that summer we first tried to sell the house... but he would entertain the new friends on a picnic table perched in front of the mulch trailer. Now, keep in mind, this is a very nice, new upscale neighborhood. That was the only time I was moved to call the city to ask if what he was doing was against city ordinances and they said it was a gray area because it was landscaping materials. Nothing says "buy my house" like an eyesore right across the street. And the accompanying mess of cars parked on the street because they can' t use their garage due to the permanent pile of rot in the driveway. Oh well.

6 years pass. The house has been up for sale at least 3 times. The market is depressed now. The mulch pile is gone. She is still yelling at him in the front yard. The new neighbor buddies are now avoiding them like the plague, and the wife finds out that he has gotten them in debt up to their eyeballs. All of a sudden, there is a FOR SALE sign in front of their house because they are divorcing. She moves back home to mother. He frequents the house late at night where a process server finds him and blocks him in the driveway. Not a man to be impeded in that fashion, he just shifts gear and makes a beeline across his next door neighbor's nicely cared for lawn.

It takes everyone a few days to realize that had been a really screwed up situation for a very long time. Our house sold BTW, right after he rolled out.

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I thought you were going to announce that he was a serial killer or something.
That was a long story to say that the nice guy turned out to be bad at managing money. :)

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 10:09AM
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Greg- maybe I could change the plotline a little and sell the story to Lifetime Movies ;-) No, really- this guy and his wife were always doing something a little bit off. I was having coffee in my breakfast area with a friend from the university one afternoon, when her naked toddler came walking down my long driveway. My kitchen was towards the back of my house and the drive could hold about 8 cars end to end, so he' d come a long way. My friend asked if that was the norm in our neighborhood, and I quickly excused myself and walked the little fellow back to his napping mom. He had escaped from the back door while she was sleeping. I'm just glad he didn't get lost as we were close to a creek and deep woods.

For some reason, his mailbox came loose from its post and rather than grab a nail and fix it, he would just balance the loose box on top of the post... much to the chagrin of the mail carrier who would reach to open the box trap and have the whole thing fall on the ground. Often, it was left in the street for cars to hit it. I would move it out of the road when I saw it like that, which was fairly often. USPS must have left him a notice that they would stop delivery unless he got it fixed, but it stayed broken for a long time.

Every once in a while, he would get very ambitious and start a hardscaping project. He once very frugally hired a couple of day laborers whom he set to building a brick column fenced enclosure from his detached garage to the house. The guys did not reinforce the column, so it visibly shook when a person leaned up against it, and it was useless to hold its gate- which he installed upside down anyway. I saw one of the boys climbing over the fence one day, and I asked them why they just didn't use the gate. He told me that the gate had never worked.

Sorry, if this is long. I was just thinking about him last night after reading the other thread. There was definitely something passive aggressive about the way he would invade his neighbors' yards, sitting under our shade trees to admire his landscaping and letting his big dog out to poop on our yards. That dog was always lost because he just turned him loose outside to do his business.

I only have known one other neighbor who was the "nice" guy, but extremely passive aggressive and nosy. I did not live next to him, thank God, but I found him peering into my glass back door one morning after my husband went to work. Serial killers???? Probably not, but I still got a fence put up on the sideyard after that incident.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 11:00AM
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I love these bad neighbor stories so let's keep adding our own!

I have a neighbor two houses down, so he's not really my problem. The most I've noticed about him is he's loud--yells at his kids and his two puppies and the landscapers who blow leaves once a week on the property adjacent to our backyards. Sometimes the dust flies over our fences. That warrants a four-letter word yell.

Anyway, he and his neighbor have been buddies the past 8 years. They coordinated their front landscaping to match-- identical stone walls, shared planting area, etc. They mulch together. (hehe, that sounds so sweet.) Two years ago they laid sod across the front yards with no separation between the property lines. Quite a symbol of togetherness. They are both married, so not that sort of togetherness!

Neighbor #2 put his house on the market last month. I happened to notice that the middle of his lawn was full of dead spots. I thought that was strange for new sod. He has been running the sprinkler every morning, probably as perplexed as me. Yesterday I was out watering when neighbor #1 came out with his dogs. One dog went directly over to neighbor #2's dead grass zone and peed while neighbor #1 watched. It took me a minute to process that. But then he got his hose out and I figured he'd wash down the peed-on area. Nope. He watered his entire front yard and parking strip and left the pee there to burn the grass. I figure they must have had a falling out and wonder if that's why neighbor #2 is moving. Maybe neighbor #1 is upset that he's leaving and retaliating, but I don't take him for a passive/aggressive guy. Maybe he's sabotaging the sale so he can't leave him? Maybe he's just a jerk? I can't figure it out.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 7:47PM
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May_Flowers, that's really something. Are you going to say anything?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 7:00AM
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No, because my lawn will probably be next. I find dog poop on my lawn four or five times during mowing season, and judging by the size, it's a little dog. He has the only little dogs that I know of, and I suspected him but didn't really think he'd be that inconsiderate to let his dogs come on to the lawns, and then not to pick up the poop. But now that I see he lets them go on his neighbors' lawn, I bet it is him.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 10:29AM
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I'll add my story and sorry it is kind of long and wordy. The house I just sold was in a changing neighborhood but most of the people on my street were great. We knew each other, watched out for each other and liked each other.

Then 10 years ago a young and hip couple moved to the brick colonial next door. It was just like all the other colonials on the street but brick- so it was a little nicer of a house then the rest of us lived in. And they said it was a nicest house on the street and pointed that out to us. Okay- I won't argue that point, it was nice.

But they were snobs to all of us. Would turn their heads when they saw us or other neighbors so that they didn't have to say hi. Wouldn't let their kids talk to any of us. Did not seem to like to do yard work very often while my yard was immaculate. But hey- live and let live.

I did not live in my house the last two years before selling but kept it up with flowers, short lawn and crisp edging, fresh paint, etc.,.... My other neighbors would park in my driveway so that it always looked like someone lived there. Like I said the other neighbors were fantastic and upstanding citizens.

They hipsters seem to have gotten used to not having anyone living next door full time so when I was home they kept their music really loud (blaring) and seemed to try to annoy me with this. It was annoying but I ignored it and figured they might be miffed that I had listed my house so low and was bringing the property values down.

I don't know what happened between them and the people who bought my house but I am sure something happened. Within a few months of selling my house the neighbors bought another house and put theirs on the market at top dollar after they had just added a second bathroom and finished the basement a two months prior. The people who bought my house have let the yard go to pieces. They cut the front grass and I swear they cut around weeds in the middle of the yard that are two feet high. I know because I pass the house every day as I my work route is detoured due to road construction. They also have left about a month's worth of newspapers in the yard and on the steps. They also leave tons of grass clippings on the side of the house that borders the for sale house, but not a blade of grass on the other neighbors side. And a very overgrown vine is now encroaching that neighbors driveway and has swallowed up a corner of the house and yard. Hmmmm.......... To make matters worse for them the house that is next to them on the other side is in foreclosure and the fence is falling down and only weed trees and debris keeps it upright for now.

So far the snob neighbors have reduced the price 4k. On Zillow the house is listed as being one of the top ten viewed houses in the neighborhood. But who wants to live next to a house where the yard looks like slobs live there?

So I guess my previous snob neighbors are in the same position I was in last fall. Two mortgages and need to sell quick. But they want top dollar for the nicest house on the street sandwiched between two houses with yards that look like garbage. Wonder how low they will drop the price?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 9:23PM
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The guy across the street was recently arrested and put in jail for running a dentistry business in his basement without a license.

I've heard quite a few loud verbal confrontations from there over the years, and have always thought he was 'off' somehow. I could never understand what they were saying, because the yelling was in a language I don't know.

They are from the Ukraine, and one of my other neighbours has a friend that could understand what some of the yelling was about. Turns out it the 'dentist' and the daughter fighting over his basement business (she wanted him to stop).

He had apparently been arrested before for the same thing...guess he didn't learn.

We saw him on the news. There were surveillance shots of him, as well as people coming and going from the house.

We just always assumed the separate entrance was for a basement suite he built for one of his kids, and that he was just a jerk that didn't talk to anyone...guess not.

He also like to shoot crows, so I'm glad he's gone, for now.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 12:44PM
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I'm on a corner lot. The neighbor next door wanted my money and my personal info.

-He wanted to get survey because he wanted to know where the property line is. He asked me to pay half because my property is adjacent to his. Eventually he got the survey done and paid for it.
-We had a storm and the tree from the neighbor behind me fell on to both my property and his property. He wanted my insurance info but I told him the tree belongs to the other owner and I have nothing to do with it.
-He wanted to install street light and asked me to pay half. I told him I have enough light from my property and not interested.
-He wanted security system and asked if I'm interested to have one for my house. If we get them as a group we would get some discount. I told him I have one already and am happy with it. Fact is mine is not good and am looking to get a better one from somewhere else.
-He told me there is some type of grant from the gov't. I wasn't sure if this is something new so I asked what it is for and what the requirements are. He told me you can use the money for anything and all you need is fill out the form. If I'm interested he'll give me the form but I wasn't interested.
Whatever he tried it wasn't successful.

My neighbor behind me is a jerk. Their boys are unruly and destructive like animals. They threw anything they can get a hold of including, rocks, sticks, footballs, basketball, softball, tennis ball, shovel, rake, etc. It hit my property again and again up to the roof. It damaged my siding. Although the siding was replaced, the color didn't match. It also damaged my window glass on the 2nd floor. I asked them to stop but minutes later they came back and intentionally targeted the window. They also directed their dog to poop in my yard. I asked them multiple times to stop but they didn't so I talked to HOA president and vice president but they didn't care and did nothing. Recently I had to call the police twice in 3 days. They got upset at me for calling the police. They told me I should talk to them instead. Too bad, I did exactly just that not once, twice, three times, but so many times I lost count but they ignore my requests so I had to have the police involved. It improves since but I don't feel safe.

Anyone wants to buy my house? LOL.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 11:31AM
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After wanting my own home for many years while married and after my divorce, I bought a small house with a big blank canvas landscape so I could garden my heart out. It was close to a college for my son and the price was in my range. This was 2006 when home prices were sky high so I felt lucky to be able to find a house close to my job. There was a car repair shop next store and I wasn't fond of that but everything else fit my needs. I do a lot of gardening in a cottage style and fixed the place up as best I could with a limited budget. But I've replaced the roof, the front porch, the oil tank and had some electrical work done.The house next door is owned by a couple that have done no maintenance whatsoever. Its a cedar shingle house that has peeling trim paint broken gutters and over the years - outdoor cats who are in my yard more than their own. They poop in my garden and my indoor cat got fleas last summer. Now I have to treat him every month. When he mows the lawn which isn't frequent and has more weeds than grass, he will leave tall tufts near his steps because he can't get his mower close by. The driveway is dirt and the back deck which houses a variety of junk is greyed and rotting is visible from my side. Not to mention that because I don't like being unneighborly and felt bad because they are limited people through no fault of their own, I would talk to them when they would see me outside. It got to a point where every time I was outside in my garden which is every day in summer, he would come over to chew my ear off. I never had peace. I would sneak outside through the back door and work on the back yard so they wouldn't see me. The wife, my son believes, is autistic because she talks about subjects in a loop style. Suddenly one day the neighbor and his car disappeared for several days. It turns out he was arrested for following two young girls in different parts of town! I started doing some research on him and he's been arrested several times for drinking and driving and alcohol related violations! Needless to say, I avoid him like the plague now. I got my hopes up when they foreclosed on their home and were attempting a short sale. But the bank couldn't sell it because the house is in such disrepair. They managed to refinance somehow....and are now staying.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 9:48AM
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LOL, all these stories just sound like normal neighborhood drama to me. Nothing all that egregious.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 7:26AM
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cearbhaill- no, to find the really bad stories you have to read the "The Neighbor fom Hell" thread elsewhere on the Home Site:-)

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 10:18AM
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What I find scary is how easily a neighbor's feathers can ruffle if one doesn't keep the lawn perfectly manicured at all times or if someone in the house happens to raise their voice for whatever reason and then a whole neighborhood of "upstanding" and (obviously uptight) citizens may decide to label you as "less than upstanding" simply because you live life the way you want to live it in your own house, for which you typically pay an arm and a leg.

Sometimes keeping a lawn manicured is simply not a priority for a family. I can think of so many infinitely worthier priorities.
And sometimes grass is just as pretty, or even prettier, without a permanent flat top haircut. :)

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 1:23AM
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We have a HOA, so we have rules for our front lawns and other things. When you leave our neighborhood, you enter the type of neighborhood that you prefer.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 10:57AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

We have great neighbors, and no HOA. High end gated private road with amazing views.

Oh the stories the neighbors tell about the previous owners of our home.

First dude built this custom home. He was always on drugs. You can tell, by some of the weirdness in the build. Closets with doors going into nowhere.......... Stuff like that. He lost the home to foreclosure due to his drug habit.

Second owners had kids, and were busy people. They let the already run down house stay that way because they were so busy. SHE worked two jobs. HE gambled. He got a second mortgage on the home and in 2 weeks, gambled away $200,000!! They got a divorce and we came along and cleaned up their mess!

A good neighbor is a blessing, and we are so happy with ours. There is no HOA, and the house across the road is for sale. The owner died, and the kids are selling the house. They are asking more than they should and it will sit on the market for years probably. Meanwhile they make the house payment. That will eat into the profit they want, but probably a little too much thinking on their part......

We all worry about who is going to end up as our neighbor. Fingers crossed!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 11:18AM
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Not a bad neighbor, but this reminds me of watching the news a few months back and seeing...wait a minute, isn't that 'Ohana in the background of that interview? And that's the back of our house? (we keep our sailboat, 'Ohana O Kai, on a canal behind our home)
Never a good thing when you see your house on the evening news!
It was actually a story about a bad contractor that was replacing the guy's seawall and never finished, so they were interviewing him in his backyard, directly across the canal from us. We'd been watching the (lack of) progress and wondering ourselves. Ours was done in about 10 days, and they've been having work done, on and off (mostly off) for about a year now.
We rescued his power boat once when a very high tide and storm blew it out of the lift and it was floating down the canal. My son dove in and after a lot of yelling, we got someone on the other side to throw him a line and pull him and the boat alongside.
We've also had to rescue dogs out of the canal several times. A few rescues have been our own dogs, but once was another neighbor with a huge dog that wasn't cooperating.
Living together on a canal means neighbors have to be even more friendly than usual - no back fences, everyone sees into everyone's backyard and back patios. And we all help each other out with boats, dogs, whatever needed.
In our case, we tore down the fence between us and our next door neighbor to accommodate a big tiki hut and shared grill. We often grill and eat together. We really lucked out!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 3:38PM
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I have neighbors who blow their leaf blowers for hours or hire yard services who do this, year round, because they also use them for grass after mowing. Read up how bad leaf blowers are for the environment and your health.
And then grab a rake. Our lots are small, so the job can be done in 15 minutes.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 8:08AM
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I live in a neighborhood of older houses, not under the restrictions of a formal HOA. It's a nice area, for sure, but as can be expected there are wide variations in the level of upkeep done on the houses. There was a big stink when one of the homeowners brought in 80 tons of sand to replace her lawn and decorated with plastic beach chairs and other tchotchkes. Now I'm not going to lie and say it is my personal style but, hey, it's not my house. However, it sure pi$$ed off the neighbors. Some of her neighbors complained but it was determined that it doesn't violate any laws or city ordinances. There has even been covered in the local news (I'll link to a tongue in cheek article). End result, looks like people were stealing her yard items and the efforts to run her out must have worked because the house is now on the market. Kind of sad.

Here is a link that might be useful: Article

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 12:14PM
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kellienoelle- I read the article attached to your link. O my:-)

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 1:16PM
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