Like the movie, “Neighbors,” everyone knows how annoying it can be when you move into a new place and realize you have awful neighbors who invade your sense of peace. Whether that means blasting music, inching over their property line, or taking up all the street parking, we’ve all experienced bad neighbors at one point or another. When it comes time to sell your home, some of these bad neighbor habits are more obvious than others and may even hinder the sale.
I’ve experienced this personally. Unfortunately, there are some circumstances in which neighbors are completely within their rights to annoy you to no end, but in our case, we found a way to fight it! We tried many, MANY different approaches to no avail, so in our last hopes, we involved the City Councilman.
I hope this inspires and informs other Realtors who are dealing with the same issue by sharing the following letter:
Councilman Parker Agelesto
Regarding upholstered furniture on a front porch: Manchester district (address omitted)
As a city councilman, I think this should be brought to your attention. We have nowhere else to turn. We have tried the health dept. the fire dept. and the owners of the adjoining property to my clients. We have tried to appeal to the tenants, all young boys. We even bought them 6 Adirondack chairs to keep. They moved the sofa for 2 days and then put them back.Stacked the chairs and pushed them to the side.
We have contacted Laura Lafayette with the board of Realtors, and she suggested I talk to you. Nobody wants to trample on another property owners rights. But what if those people are trampling on your rights. The condition of the porch next door to the property I have listed is deplorable. It has two sofas and a chair on it. They smoke hundreds of cigarettes a day, the ashtray is always running over. Beer cans are everywhere and pizza boxes stacked up usually 2-3 feet high.
We share a wall with this property. The owners are basically slum lords that do not care as long as they get their rent. These houses formally belonged to the man that went to jail I think for substandard housing rentals. You know who he is, I'm sure.
Sooner or later there is going to be a fire that will damage both properties and possibly kill someone. (see attached info on sofa fires by students)
They drink tons of beer so they may not always be so careful and one day forget to put one of those butts out properly.
If a fire starts it will most likely block the exit. Both houses will be damaged.
Many states have laws against such things as upholstered furniture on the front porch.
Check out the attached research my client did and sent to the current owner of the property.
They totally have ignored our pleas.
My client has reduced his property by $15,000 already and still we can not get anyone to look past the adjoining front porch. It is scary.
Manchester is a hot market and homes are moving quickly. My client has spent a tidy sum of money on upgrades on the property. Now he wants to sell it, but we may have to pull it off and rent it again. This deprives the area of another single family ownership home, and additional income taxes( which the city needs).
This type of issue is affecting health, safety, property values, taxes, and neighborhoods.
Could there not be an ordinance that says no upholstered furniture on a porch of a home with an adjoining wall that endangers the property and safety of the other property and it's inhabitants.
Where do my client's right end and theirs begin?
Look over a letter to Laura Lafayette and the attached research. Does someone have to die before somebody takes notice?
Negligence will be easily proved if my seller can prove he sent them all the information, and they did nothing.
In the meantime, my seller may pull the house of the market and rent it again.
He is feeling very helpless and so am I.
We have ordinances for yards, noise, trash, why not for health and safety of an adjoining common wall property.
I have stopped short of contacting the news media because the owner is afraid his insurance company may pull his insurance if the situation does not change.
But it has been discussed.
Let me know what you think or call me to discuss if you like. I will be happy to meet you over there also. Is this kind of an ordinance possible, especially if it affects the health and safety of another's property with a shared wall?
Yours Wanda Fears
It is true what they say that when you buy a house, you buy the neighborhood, too. It’s important for homebuyers, sellers, Realtors and residents of our city to keep our neighborhoods free from hazards, safe, and enjoyable for everyone!
Don't say change can not be accomplished through perseverance. If you care about your neighborhoods, talk to the powers that be and support your claims with documentation. There was a change and now an ordinance in the city preventing upholstered furniture on the front of homes.
WandaFears, Realtor ABR CRS GRI WCR
Richmond, Va. Long and Foster Realtors