Bad neighbors – real estate bummer

My front yard - from the driveway

My front yard - from the driveway

I have a pretty home in a nice neighborhood close enough to town to be convenient but far enough out to be quiet.  The houses are attractive, owner-occupied, with well-kept yards.

Except for two houses.
The two houses on either side of my little piece of heaven.
They are shitheaps.

They are shitheaps owned by absentee landlords who don’t give a shit as long as the rent comes in. Both yards are overgrown with noxious weeds as high as my waist.  These weeds blow and crawl down from the uphill shitheap, and they creep over and under the fence from the downhill shitheap.

Living here, it’s a constant battle against their blackberry vines, thistles and dandelions that migrate into my yard. It also reflects badly on home values in the neighborhood – most especially MINE.

The uphill shitheap (US, for short) situation may improve, because the landlord had a stroke and his business partner plans to clean it up and sell it (one dumpster load gone so far…).

The downhill shitheap (DS) was owned by a sweet retired schoolteacher when I moved in seven years ago, and she took great pride in her garden. But within that first year she died and her daughter and son-in-law, who live in 3 hours away in Seattle, turned it over to their two adult children.

Downhill Shitheap - blackberry choked driveway

Downhill Shitheap - blackberry choked driveway

When I stopped by and asked the older daughter if they could please deal with the weeds, she snapped, “Talk to the landlord… that’s his job”.  So last night I called Dad in Seattle, who was extremely rude. When I suggested that they hire someone to take care of the weeds, he snapped, “I’ve got better things to do with my money…

Perhaps if Mom and Dad lived next door they’d insist the kids “pick up their rooms”, but they’re Christian missionaries – too busy evangelizing to notice that Jesus’ neighborliness message isn’t getting through.

My own house has lots of curb appeal.  The question is how can I enhance the curb appeal of my neighbors’ homes?  Either I distribute blinkers to potential buyers, so they don’t notice the slobs that surround me, or I fork out some of my own money to help them clean up their yards (and I’m not even a Christian).   Grrrrrrr.



Filed under Emotional issues, Gardening/plants, Priorities

5 responses to “Bad neighbors – real estate bummer

  1. Susan

    Are they really missionaries?
    They must have been too busy spreading the word to raise their children properly.
    Does your community have any zoning rules that you could use? In our area, if weeds are not trimmed, we can file a complaint with township trustees: they come look at the property, advise the owner to take care of the problem, and then will hire someone to do it (adding cost to property tax bill) if owner doesn’t comply. It probably wouldn’t make you the neighbors most popular person, but you’re moving anyways, right?

  2. They don’t travel on mission work but do it locally where they live. (One of the daughters did mission work in Morocco and came back with twins and a partner that lasted a year… contraception anyone??? The twins live next door too. )

    Unfortunately the County Weed Board has collapsed with the economy, so there are no laws with teeth. If it costs me $200 to clean up the part of their yard most visible from the street it may be worth it. As I said… GRRRRR.

  3. This is awfully frustrating and unfair for you, but unfortunately the way of the world – I have the same problem and will have to face the same dilemma once I put my house on the market.

    Once you’ve sold, you could always mail both neighbours a dog turd – wouldn’t solve anything but may make you feel better. See, I’ve already planned my course of action.

  4. Dog turds! A fine idea… I even have my own in-house production team. I just don’t want to leave a forwarding address.

  5. Gretchen

    How about a big dose of RoundUp or some other weed killer on the driveway and front yard weeds — applied discreetly in the dark of night. Avoiding the good plants, of course.

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