Selling House with Dirty, Junk Ridden Next Door Neighbors

mandi.123September 7, 2010

My husband and I want to sell our house because we moved 3,000 miles away and it's hard for us to rent out. It's been completely remodeled and it is very cute. It is in a blue collar neighborhood, but most homes are very well maintained.

However, new neighbors just moved in next door. We believe they are doing a "rent to own". These neighbors are by far the most disgusting people we have ever seen in our lives. They do not have a back door. They have a screen door and a rainbow blanket is substituted as the main door. This door faces the back side of our house and it directly faces our garage entrance. The front yard is even better... they have dining room chairs on their front lawn, several bikes and other junk laying around.

We talked about putting a fence up however, the neighbors' house is elevated. The highest fence we can put up is a 6 foot trellis fence. My parents think that the fence is not going to be high enough to block the neighbors. The neighborhood homes are declining in value, just like most homes are in the city. So we are fearful that we are pumping more money into it and it will not make a difference.

Last week we heard them joking about doing an armed robbery, so my parents think that if we report them for code violations, they will retaliate against us. We also have a couple of things that are against code that will be costly to fix, so we are afraid that reporting them will make our situation worse.

The neighbors are terrifying because they are soooo disgusting, but the neighborhood is not bad. Any suggestions would be helpful. We feel helpless right now!

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You can report them for code violations anonymously.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 12:34PM
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Alternatively get together with neighbors and buy them out. Put together a offer and have a agent submit it. They don't need to know anything about who you are or who is making the offer.
Then as a group fix it up and turn around and sell it to people you approve of.
Of course you are going to have to do alot of writing clauses and stuff to keep everyone happy BUT I have seen it happen.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 1:25PM
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I would put up the fence and plant some shrubs that will grow tall. If you put your house on the market you could go over and quietly pick up any trash in their front yard.

If they do have code violations you can report them anonymously. Just be friendly when you see them and they won't be sure it's you.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 3:25PM
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We are selling our cottage on the river and there is a neighbor right next to us who has about 8 junk cars sitting sround. That is a violation of the HOA rules, but the HOA has no teeth to enforce their regulations. They can put a lien on the house, but it doesn't have any effect until the neighbors go to sell it.

A few of the potential buyers of our house have remarked on the cars unfavorably. Others haven't said anything. Basically, there aren't a lot of options in cases like these. They are nice people and we get along with them. They just like to have junk cars around.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 5:01PM
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I'd be leary of calling the city to inspect a neighbors' property for code violations if I had code violations on my own property.

In the "just do the best you can" spirit, you might visit them & say that you really need to sell your home & would appreciate anything they can do to help the neighborhood show well.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 6:00PM
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they have dining room chairs on their front lawn, several bikes and other junk laying around.

It is shocking that stuff gets stolen from people's front lawns in the middle of the night or when they are away.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 7:47PM
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Have you thought about contacting the current owners? If they are "rent to own," doesn't the property still belong to someone else? I would want to know that my property was not being taken care of appropriately. Perhaps they may even remain liable if something were to happen as a result of deteriorating conditions. I agree with others who've suggested keeping things anonymous.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 7:50PM
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Thank you for your suggestions. I called our alderman's office today and they informed me that I cannot file an anonymous complaint about the code violations. They said that I must give them my name and address and it needs to be valid. However, they said that the only way the neighbors would know it is me, is if they formally do an "open records request."

We considered approaching them and asking them nicely to pick up the junk. However, we feel very strongly that they will not understand why their junk is a problem. Then, if we decide to report them for the violations, they will know it was us and may retaliate against us.

I thought about picking up their trash in the middle of the night, but they have a huge rottweiler dog. So, unfortunately, I think this is why no one has stolen the dining room chairs and bikes and stuff off of their front lawn. They have an ugly metal fence to contain the dog and the junk.

We considered sending an anonymous letter to the owner, but my husband and I both feel that the landlord clearly does not care about the property because no one in their right mind would rent to these people. The new neighbors are literally horrifying people.

Also, we need to put the house on the market quickly because the buying season is almost over. It is very difficult to sell a home in the winter months in this location. So we are trying to think of the fastest and most efficient thing to do. Should we report them and give out our name? I am leaning toward putting up a fence, but buyers will still see them when they pull up to the house. I am so stressed out about this!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 1:57AM
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Aggressive pricing cures all ailments. My advice is to not spend a dime on the home, and put it on the market now at a great price.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 7:02AM
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So, your major complaints are that they:

1) Have a screen door. (In summer no less)
2) Have chairs outside (no chairs on your deck?)
3) Have bikes in their yard (kids?)
4) Made a joke you thought was in poor taste

In most cities, none of that is against the law unless the trash is so much that it attracts vermin. Those are all annoyances, not legal issues. If you don't want to look at them, build a fence and plant something that grows tall.

In the future, if you want greater control over what your neighbors can do with their property, you should live in a neighborhood with a strong HOA. Of course, the flip side of that is that you have to live under their rule as well.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 8:33AM
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Any neighborhood that has rent to own tenants really isn't going to be considered a desirable neighborhood anymore. By your own admission, your own property is not up to code, and your worries are about your neighbor's property nuisances rather than your own property's code compliance. The fact is that many neighborhoods are changing, and for the worse. Your neighbors tenants are just a single sign of many that things aren't what they once were. You can't make it back into the "good" neighborhood that you moved into by harrassing these people into tidiness and then not put the spotlight on your own property's problems. It won't happen. All you can do is to bring your own home into code compliance so that a new owner will actually materialize and then price it aggressively to get out. Price it low and leave them behind. It's not your worry when a big SOLD sign is in the yard!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 11:02AM
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Bill there is also one more thing that is more annoying than a messy neighbor. Thats a condescending poster.


    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 9:45PM
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"Bill there is also one more thing that is more annoying than a messy neighbor. Thats a condescending poster. "

Well, the OP wants to report her neighbors to the authorities for being messy, but admits her home has numerous building code violations. I think it is perfectly appropriate to call her on it.

The bottom line is that it isn't the governments job to enforce matters of personal taste - eg whether a chair is a "dining room chair" or a deck chair. You don't report your neighbors to the authorities to settle petty squabbles. It's wrong and, frankly, really creepy in a 1984 way.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 9:04AM
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