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Saturday, 18 June 2011

Nightmare Neighbors

Nightmare Neighbors
Nightmare Neighbors. We all know bad neighbors can really drive you crazy, but they can also drive down the value of your home.Money magazine's Managing Editor Eric Schurenberg stopped by The Early Show Thursday with some advice on how to deal with nasty neighbors.

Schurenberg agrees it's unfair that the actions of your neighbor could adversely impact your property value, but says it's logical. "If a buyer wants to buy your house and there's something wrong with the house, they know they can fix it, and they know what it will cost. If there's something wrong with your neighbor's house, who knows?" he explains.

But he says there is a right and a wrong way to handle a conflict with a bothersome neighbor.

"You want to be nice," Schurenberg recommends. "It's just normal psychology. You'll get what you want, probably, if you ask nicely rather than if you go over there demanding something. But that doesn't mean you have to totally lay down for it.

"When your neighbor starts to act up, when they have that late night barbecue for a hundred of their closest friends, start to take notes. You'll want to have a record of this. That might come in handy later. And also look up the laws. See if the neighbor is breaking any local laws or any rules of the homeowners' association if you live in a place governed by a homeowners' association."

Money magazine put together a list of the five most common complaints and recommendations on how to approach the problem.

The first scenario is that your neighbor's dogs are running wild and doing their business on your grass.

Schurenberg says in that case, the answer is calling the animal control board. "They can go in, and they can fine the owners for letting the dogs off the leash, and if things get really bad, they can take the dogs away and put them in a pound," he says.

The second scenario is that that your neighbor throws a barbecue for a hundred of their closest friends, blasting their music at 3 a.m.

Schurenberg says call the police. "The police will go over and give them a stern lecture at least. If they're breaking local noise ordinances, they can give them a fine," he explains.

The third problem is your neighbors paint their house day-glo orange. Who do you call?

"Homeowners' association here," Schurenberg says. "If you're governed by an H.A., there are rules about what color people can paint their houses."

If you are in an area without a homeowners' association, Schurenberg says there is no recourse. "Plant some high, thick hedges. That's about it."

The fourth issue is that their lawn is littered with political signs.

"Call the zoning board. Most cities have rules about when you can put out political signs, and usually within a couple of weeks of the election. Otherwise, they can order them to take the signs away," Schurenberg recommends.

The fifth scenario is that your neighbors cut down your tree without your permission. In that case, Schurenberg says to call the police. "That can be against the law. There can be fines levied right there. At the very least, it's another stern talking to," he says.

If you are not making any headway using officials, Schurenberg says mediation may be helpful. "Mediation is a good thing that a lot of people really ought to try. There are about 500 community mediation centers across the country. They're staffed by volunteers. And the volunteers don't try to decide who's right and who's wrong. All they try to do is to get you to agree and stop arguing. A lot of the places say they're very successful about three-quarters of the time," he says.

Suing is a place your really don't want to go, Schurenberg says. "It's probably not worth the trouble. There's one exception. If you're having a border dispute. If someone is not sure if the fence is on their property or on your property, court may be your only place to go."

Source: cbsnews

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