Dealing with Problem Neighbors: Blight, Garbage and Drug Dealers
With the majority of Americans living in cities and living closer together than they ever have, clashes with neighbors are inevitable. Most of us have probably had to deal with a neighbor who plays his music too loud or doesn’t shovel her walk. But only some of us have had to deal with neighbors who let garbage accumulate to the heavens, or let their property go to waste, or even deal drugs from their house.
If you’re sick of your neighbor’s irresponsibility, it’s time to deal with these problems. Let’s take a look at some of the issues and processes that can help you if your neighbor’s mess is infringing on your living space.
Blighted property is property that has been allowed to fall into a state of disrepair. Imagine a front of the house garage that has had its roof caving in for decades. Perhaps fences that have been knocked down and shattered, or abandoned buildings that have received no maintenance at all. These buildings can create dangerous hazards for those in the neighborhood and can even create areas where crime and drugs can proliferate.
Most cities have ordinances against blighted property and they will take action to tear the buildings down or return them to working condition. For example, Pennsylvania’s Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship Act outlines steps individuals can take to fix blighted property in their community. Check your local city ordinances and then file a complaint to get the city moving on fixing the blighted property.
Garbage and Weeds
If we have not lived near these properties, we have probably seen them. A city house with six foot weeds in the front yard. A property that does not put the garbage out, but instead allows it to pile up in their front yard. These problems are more common than one may think.
Most cities and towns require property owners to keep their home in good repair and if they do not there is usually a complaint process available. Some towns give the property owner a hearing and then a reasonable time to clean up. Only then will they issue fines and sanctions to force a clean up, so get moving fast if your neighbor is letting weeds and garbage pile up.
Drug Dealing Neighbors
When someone sells drugs on their property, call the police. A wary neighbor can always contact the police, but oftentimes the police are overburdened and will not respond. Fear not, you can always report the landlord or even take the landlord to small claims court.
Recently, courts across the country have been awarding money damages to people who are forced to live near drug havens, at the expense of the landlord. So if you are living in the shadow of a drug dealer, call the cops and notify the courts. Be proactive and pursue your rights to a safe living place.