Ask Kim – February 11

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My neighbors are driving me crazy.  They never pick up their trash in their yard and they rarely mow.  I’ve had to notify our City about the conditions around their house.  It was a nice neighborhood before they moved in a few years ago.  Now it’s not – due to the eyesore of their home’s exterior.  I’ve lived in my home for over thirty years.  I don’t want to move, but these people stink.  What can I do?



Dear Janet,

I think we must live on the same block!  I have neighbors that show a total disregard for those who live around them as well.  It’s too bad people don’t follow the “when in Rome, do as the Roman’s do” rule.  When every house on the block has a manicured lawn except one, that’s a problem.  I’m all for self-expression, but this feels like laziness.  I’ve thought about offering to buy their house, so I don’t have to look at the mess any more. 

Seriously though, if I had the money to buy their house, I’d just move to a better neighborhood.  This is a tricky one.  Do you have a friendly relationship with your neighbor?  If so, have you tried to reason with them about the unkempt property?  If not, is a relationship something you’re willing to establish?   I try to come up with excuses for my neighbors.  Perhaps they can’t take care of their yard.  Maybe there’s a disability that isn’t obvious.  Trying to be the better person, I’ve mowed and picked up their yard for them.  In my case, there was no acknowledgement of my efforts.  They didn’t ask me to get off their property, but they didn’t seem to care one way or another.  That’s okay, because I did it for me.  But it can certainly be very frustrating. 

I’ve narrowed my options down to the following – 1) I can go over and care for their property myself (as long as they let me).  This solves the problem, but it’s twice the work.  2) Have a dialogue with them to see where they’re struggling or maybe they just don’t care.  Perhaps this hasn’t been on their radar.  People juggle many priorities.  If they don’t care, maybe if they know it bothers you, they’ll straighten up.  If that approach doesn’t work, continue to work with your city officials on code enforcement.  And finally, I’ve added landscaping to my property that shields me from having to look at the mess next door.  For now, it’s cheaper than moving.

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