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“The problem is that over the last few years, our next door neighbors have completely neglected to take care of their house.”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Joe Flood

“Dear PoPville,

Four years ago, my husband purchased a renovated, single family home in a residential neighborhood where property values are on the rise. The problem is that over the last few years, our next door neighbors have completely neglected to take care of their house. They have visible holes in their roof where we can see squirrels nested, their lawn is a mess, they hoard broken furniture and other large items on their front porch and in a huge pile in their back yard, their fence is falling over, and worst of all, they have a broken down food truck that has been sitting in their backyard for several years (blown-out tires, cracked windows).

We see a steady stream of people who I think that are all part of a large extended family, but are not entirely sure who owns or lives in the house. At this point, we are friendly enough to wave hello, but have no insight into their circumstances. I realize that the neighborly thing to do would be to first have a direct conversation, but I’m certain they would not be receptive.

We’ve been tolerating the slow deterioration and accumulation of trash in the yard without complaint, but now that our family is growing, we are starting to think about moving. I’m worried that their neglect is going to seriously impact our home value and wonder if we have any recourse. Are they breaking any laws related to property maintenance, or by keeping an abandoned commercial vehicle on their property?

Any advice would be very much appreciated!”

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