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 07-11-2005, 11:48 Post: 113275
funchy



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 Out of control neighbor problem

Is there anything a person can do when their next-door neighbor is out-of-control and not quite in touch with reality? Is my only choice to give up my home, take a financial loss, and go elsewhere?

I finally had it when I had to “celebrate” 4th of July weekend watching him shoot large, airborne (illegal) fireworks over my horses' paddock for amusement. Horses are prey animals and loud noises will cause them to bolt. The horses would just settle down again and another explosion would go off right over their head, BOOM! They'd run in a blind panic again. They ended up sweaty, stressed, and unable to eat for hours.

I went over to talk, one mature adult to another, since he didn’t seem to understand what he was doing. A 1100 and 1700 lb pound animal can get into a lot of trouble if forced to stampede repeatedly, and it was only a matter of time before one got impaled on something, busted through a fence, or somehow hurt themselves or caused damage. He seemed to understand. I walked back and got as far as my front door before the next explosion went off. Now the fireworks were being aimed right over my home’s roof! I went back over to plead with him to stop. His just-as-nasty wife interrupts me to tell me to go the hell home.

I finally called the police… twice. They never showed up.

I’d complain to the HOA in the context this is a Deed Restriction violation, but he is president of the HOA. And even know I am VP, we’d never get a fair hearing in a neighborhood with only 6 lots. (I will NEVER buy a house with Deed Restrictions again! They simply don't work)

This is just one act of aggression of many. The guy bought the first lot when the subdivision was created and he enjoying doing what he pleased for a year or two. I think he resented losing “his” open land where he used to ride his horses, target practice, hunt, whatever.

He’s gone to far as to call the authorities with any lies and stories just to get them to act. For example I had an investigator from the Motor Vehicles out here on a complaint that I had illegally affixed someone else’s dealer tags on my cars?! I did no such thing and have never had a dealer plate on any of my vehicles. It was just embarrassing to have a guy from the State come by and question me and inspect all my cars.

He’s gone to the neighbors with a letter outlining outlandish claims of Deed Restrictions he says I violate. He uses the old-standby argument of “decreasing everyone’s property values” to argue his point. I don't think I am doing anything awful. None of the other neighbors have ever said anything to me about anything I’ve ever done wrong. He’s just rationalizing his anger.

The funny thing is that right now he’s breaking at least 6 Deed Restrictions and a few more if you count the not-so-clearly defined ones. He runs a horse boarding business from his little 2 acre pasture. He has too many horses/acre boarded there anyway. He doesn’t mow his own backyard or horse areas. He leaves their manure out. He brings tractor trailer cabs home. He throws wild, noisy parties sometimes. He plants hedges that exceed Deed Restriction height but still complains at me about my choice of shrubbery. He built a barn that doesn't follow Deed Restriction guidelines. His dogs run at large and are known to bark outside late at night. His “barn cats” run at large and have actually taken a dump in my cars if the windows are left open!

I can ignore the annoying things he does. I believe in "live and let live". I know I may not always love the things a next-door neighbor does. But I draw the line when he *intentionally* terrorizes my horses & dog, shoots explosive devices at my home, lies to anyone he can to get me in trouble, and then refuses to speak to me.

What would you do? Would you move? Ignoring him isn't working by itself.

I hate to say it but I’ve been thinking of amusing pranks to play on him (harmless ones, ones he couldn’t prove I did)… I need to vent my frustration and to stop being so angry. Any ideas ?

I did put in a plant barrier between me and him since privacy fences aren’t allowed. It helped for awhile and helped buffer his noise & view. But 2 weeks ago they came over complaining about that, too! It was growing too well. They didn’t like the plants leaning, growing into, or being so close to "their" property line.

A friend told me to start acting really insane when I am in view of him & his wife. Act normal around the rest of the neighbors. He’ll start to worry I really am irrational and maybe he’d leave me alone.

Help!






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 07-11-2005, 12:51 Post: 113282
Iowafun

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 Out of control neighbor problem

Have you considered contacting the animal welfare department of your state? What he was doing to your horses may be considered animal cruelty. Also, there may be laws on the amount of animals one can legally own/board for a given plot of land without a permit (feedstock permits, etc). In addition, most states have rules regarding animal waste based on size of land, proximity to water and the number of animals on the property. Check into those items first and see what the laws are.

Too bad you didn't get video evidence of the fireworks incident and the reaction it was having on your animals. The animal cruelty people love that type of evidence and can be very aggressive about going after people doing stuff like that.

Don't lower yourself to revenge. That puts you in the wrong. Document everything. Keep a video camera handy to document everything. Make sure you are in the right. He may be head of the HOA, but he's not above the law when the evidence clearly shows it.






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 07-11-2005, 13:18 Post: 113284
Chief



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 Out of control neighbor problem

I would suggest getting a very detailed video tape of his behavior and acts. Carefully research the laws he may have violated and then pay a visit to your county Circuit Court Clerk and swear out a warrant for his arrest. The fireworks over the horses clearly qualifies for wreckless endagerment just for openers. I read a trash neighbor who was riding his horses and 4 wheeling on my land the riot act and explained to him that I have 11 months and 29 days to file treaspassing, dumping, destruction of private property (he cut my fences) charges if I even think he has been back on my land. Haven't heard a peep out of him since.






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 07-11-2005, 13:22 Post: 113285
Murf

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 Out of control neighbor problem

A similar situation occured near here a year or so ago.

A jerk who lived next to a horse farm did much the same thing as your 'friend' did.

The owner of the horse farm video taped some of it and then called the SPCA. It cost the jerk big bucks in fines and he is now on probation.

The horses live rather peacefully now.

Best of luck.






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 07-11-2005, 13:25 Post: 113286
DennisTP
2005-07-11 00:00:00
Post: 113286
 Out of control neighbor problem

1) fireworks buffs are hard to reason with.
2) what is the the list of things that he does not like about what you are doing with your property in your subdivision?

Your pictures look like it is a nice development, and I guess you have one of the few lots with big acreage. Is your house set back just like the one across the street in the pix? Are you using your front yard as a lawn only?






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 07-11-2005, 15:02 Post: 113293
ncrunch32



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 Out of control neighbor problem

I would definitely consider a security camera and 24 hour videotape setup. It can make your neighbor a little more nuts at first but eventually they will avoid doing anything that might be captured on tape. You can purchase a high quality joy stick controlled speed dome camera for $1500 at 123cctv.com, a 24 hour tape recorder for $500 and install yourself.


All has been relatively quiet on the front with my neighbor. Rather than retaliate I have strategically placed umbrellas in my pool yard that totally block their view from me. It gives us both a break. Nothing illegal about umbrellas - also consider Luau grass table skirts ($15 for 9 foot section) to hang from edges of umbrellas for more privacy. Neighbor did called BOH about my compost, they came - there was no problem and they left. I have no problem showing my property to frequently called officials who get extremely annoyed with my neighbor when there never is a problem.

The new solar replacements for low voltage lights are a nice addition to any house. There are good deals on these - buy a ton of them and light your place up at night for security purposes. I think the best solution is to just outclass your neighbor by making everything as nice as possible.






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 07-12-2005, 11:38 Post: 113351
denwood



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 Out of control neighbor problem

Cats in the car is about the worst thing. Buy some of those really serious rat traps that look like a mouse trap but bigger and put them in your car with cat bait(tuna). they will learn. I cannot stand neighbors pets coming over and going. Homeowners associations are nightmares. I would never even look at a house with one. You cannot plant this here you cannot park that there etc etc etc. Some people love their little power trips and homeowner associations just feed that fire. Videos are the best idea for the rest of the stuff as well as local ordinances. I don't know where Cecil county stands right now but they have always been the red headed shep child of MD. I wonder if ordinances have caught up to the building boom there. I am only a few minutes into PA so I am there constantly. Housing values have soared so moving would be fairly easy as far as selling and getting good money.






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 07-12-2005, 15:12 Post: 113365
funchy



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 Out of control neighbor problem

Thanks for replies & tips!

I should've videotaped the fireworks- good idea. Sometimes you get so mad you can't think straight. I'm going to keep camcorder handy from now on.

I think I'll take a few photos of the back of his home so if he drags me in front of the HOA or lawyers, I can show them his standards. He's the type to keep his front yard immaculate and have dogcrap and weeds for a backyard which only I get to see.

I can't afford a $1500 for a special video camera, and even if I wanted it I'd need several cause the property line on his side is really 450'. Honestly the problem with him isn't so much him tresspassing but rather the trouble he causes from his own front porch or telephone.

I was just outside measuring for a fence.

I'm also looking at real estate ads just to see what's out there.Land in Cecil Co is overvalued and a 10-20 acre parcel w/house may cost $500-$900k+. I REALLY wish I could relocate to somewhere rural like Kentucky or Carolinas. I've seen 150 acre farms there w/barns, pond, and everything for $150-200k.

You all who live in rural areas are so fortunate. What I wouldn't give for a 30 acre farm in a peaceful county town!






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 07-12-2005, 15:47 Post: 113366
Chief



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 Out of control neighbor problem

funchy,

It just so happens that I have a 25.5 acres lake view farm for sale. About 15 acres is woods and the remainder is pasture or yard. Brick home, 4 bedroom, 3 garage, 2,650 sq. ft. upstairs, approx. 2,200 sq. ft. downstairs, LARGE wood deck (redwood but it is faded and needs to be pressure washed. Satellite TV equipped for C band and Dishnetwork. Well (unlimited water) and septic. Drive way is about 1/4 mile with large concrete driveway in front of garage. Secluded yet very convieiently located. I am asking $220,000, no real estate agent is involved. Property taxes run about $850 for the entire place. The house does need some updating with things such as carpet, painting, kitchen & fixtures, etc. I can email you some pictures.

Think you might be interested?

Right now, the only picture of the house and area is pic #2 of my Dodge Cummins truck, you can see a bit of the place in the background.






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 07-12-2005, 17:23 Post: 113369
ncrunch32



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 Out of control neighbor problem

Funchy, yes $1500 is a lot of money for a camera. I just want to point out that cameras of this type can be set up to scan (or pan) your entire property line so that only one camera is necessary. They have a number of features so that you can do almost anything with one camera.

I certainly don't have great advice on how to handle neighbors as you know from my previous posts. I argued with my wife about coming back to a residential neighborhood. Rural neighborhoods have been great for me. I have seen one person arrested for selling cocaine, more divorces than I can count, and other assorted whackos in this "upscale" neighborhood. The couple who got divorced across the street hired private investigators to watch each other! I also have deed restrictions but there is no active enforcement agency for any of them. On top of this I am paying $9K in real estate taxes and the school taxes are going up again!






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