Monday, September 24, 2007

What To Do With Junky Neighbors; Tale of a South County Resident

Our neighbors have an awful yard to say the least. From the front it is not too bad, but the side (next to our house) and the back are awful. The BACK is just disgusting. Weeds take over the yard and there is trash/junk everywhere.

We were fortunate that last year (due to their dog constantly getting out and tearing up our yard) they put up a privacy fence which helps. But we just never know what is "living" in their yard. And the fence in the back stops about 8 foot from the end of their property - and behind that is their "garden" and is nothing but weeds - 6-8 feet tall. It worries us as to just what types of animals have made this their home. We back up to the concrete sewer ditch and we have many times seen large "unidentifiable" animals running into the brush. We have called St. Louis County and the fire Marshall, and they will not do anything about it. (Click on photos to enlarge)

When their garage door is up - it is packed "floor to ceiling, wall to wall" with boxes of junk. They also don’t pay for trash service, most of the time you will see bags and boxes of trash sitting in front of their cars on the driveway, waiting to be put in the trunk of his car to haul and dump at a public trash can. (Neighbors have seen him do this).


Some suggestions and comments:

1 - While we all have a right to our own privacy and lifestyle, it’s a shame that some people are pack rats, just really don’t care what anyone else thinks, and are just down right sloppy and junky.

2 - Someone friendly to the family should discuss with them some of the complaints being heard in the neighborhood and the possible involvement of St. Louis County and Health Officials. Avoid any type of personal confrontation – especially if you’re the next door neighbor.

3 - If there’s a concern regarding any health issues, St. Louis County Health Officials should be notified. They’re probably there, but you just not have seen them . . . yet – mice, rats, roaches, others.

4 - The privacy fence is a big help, but probably not enough.

5 - Weeds over a foot tall should be called to the attention of St. Louis County. Talk to a supervisor as to what the regulations are for weeds in St. Louis County. If the County is not enforcing the regulation, you need to find out WHY.

6 - If you have easy access to the weeded area behind their fence, spray the weeds to kill them with vegetation killer. Be sure you soak the area down pretty good. Repeat as necessary. Don’t use weed killer, use VEGETATION KILLER. The investment is worth it.

7 - I can tell you what you may have living in your storm sewer as we have them in our subdivision – Raccoons and Possums. You could easily have some Skunks but they like to live in the ground, under a porch or someplace cool and dark. They mainly come out at night in the early evening hours. We also have the skunks in our subdivision along with a lovely Red Fox. St. Louis County will not do anything with the wild animals. They will only get involved with cats and dogs.

8 - The Garage? It’s hard to realize why people store $500 worth of junk in their garage while they park a $25,000 automobile in the driveway exposed to vandalism, theft, storm damage, and more. There’s probably not much you can do about their garage situation. I suspect the inside of their house may be similar.

9 - St. Louis County recently introduced an occupancy permit requirement. You may want to consult with this department should you feel their house to be in a deteriorated condition. Check out the information at: This may be a long shot, but worth a try.

10 - If you think you have a rude neighbor, checkout some of the stories about these rude neighbors: Click on HOME and scroll down.

11 - Trail him to where he dumps his trash at a public trash container and photograph him with your cell phone camera (if you have one). Send him a copy of the photo with a strong letter from a “fake” attorney advising him it is illegal to dump his trash there and he is subject to prosecution if he cannot show proof of using a trash service at his home.

12 - I assume this has been discussed with your trustees. Of course you may be the next door neighbor and the others may not be too interested in pursuing this. From a legal standpoint, the trustees could remove the weeds and the mysterious animals and send a bill to the homeowner. Since it probably won’t be paid, you then need to be prepared to file a lien to recover the expenses incurred. The lien expenses should be outlined in the initial notice before any work is done.

This problem is a real nuisance to the surrounding neighbors. While you wish to respect the neighbor's personal life and right to privacy, you also have a right to protect the value of your home and the standards established by the community.
(Click on photos to enlarge)

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