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Sometimes We Wish You Could Evict Neighbors

, , , , | Friendly | September 23, 2022

I have two immediate neighbors; for the sake of this story my house number is 123 and the two neighbors’ house numbers are 124 and 125.

House 124 houses a lovely couple with two kids. I’ve actually babysat their daughter a couple of times (the youngest kid is eight months old) and we’ve been invited over to their place for dinner. They are basically some of the nicest, most pleasant people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.

House 125 on the other hand… I’ve lived in the house for fifteen years, and I’ve literally never seen either the husband or the wife. The only hint of anyone living in the house is that it’s well-maintained and occasionally there is a car on the driveway. I truly could not have told you anything about them… until fairly recently.

Last year, 124 wanted to widen their (somewhat narrow) driveway and therefore widened it about two feet to the right, in 125’s direction. This all took place on their own land, by the way; we have fences delineating whose property is whose. This was not a property dispute.

Very shortly after the change was made, they were notified by the town that, since we live in the range where cosmetic renovations (at least to the outside) of the house had to be approved by the council before they could be made, they would have to rip it up. How did the town become aware of it? Someone had “anonymously complained” about it.

House 124 went around the neighborhood asking for signatures verifying that they weren’t troublesome people. Almost everyone signed… except 125. Hmm.

Later, before the hearing to attempt to keep the change due to it… seriously not being a major issue, one of the town council members slipped and revealed to 124 that 125 had been the ones to complain. (No surprise there.) 

The hearing, unfortunately, ended up denying the request to keep the extra width to their driveway, so they had to get rid of the extra width only about three weeks after having it installed.

Very shortly after (maybe a week after the incident), 125, after fourteen years of no change to their house, suddenly made the decision to go with a “natural wood fence”. It was very ugly and did not suit their house at all. Their house is white with a grayish blue roof and gray stones. The wood is kind of the color of birch wood with lots of knots in it and would look fantastic next to a warmer-colored house. The fence conveniently made it harder to casually talk over the fence to their next-door neighbor, 124. They also added low hedges to that particular side of the house!

Recently, my family went to see 124 for a family event. After having some fun and watching the kids mess around, I casually asked how everything was going with 125. 

The dad of 124 turned to me with a little chuckle

Dad: “Oh, you have to see it to believe it!”

Then, he opened a text conversation that he’d had with 125.

The text conversation started cordially enough; the lady in 125 was the one texting him, and she had that habit that older people have where they’ll turn their texts into a mini-letter. 

It very quickly devolved into her messaging him MULTIPLE TIMES A DAY after a long period of silence with thinly veiled demands. The demands included:

  • Asking 124 to not have visitors park in 124’s own driveway. (?)
  • 124 has a holiday display around Christmas — nothing super fancy, just some lights in their doorway and a blowup snowman that lights up at night. 125 complained that the light was “shining right into their windows” and “asked” them to turn it off after 12:00 am. (To give another example of just how wild that request is, that snowman was nearer to us and it literally never bothered us.)
  • Asking, AGAIN, less than three hours later, if he’d seen her text and would turn off the display. It was timestamped at 1:00 in the morning!
  • Complaining that his tree was dropping leaves into her yard. (The neighbor’s tree is an evergreen and nearer to our yard, about as far away from her yard as they could get.)
  • Demanding to know why he was “bullying her husband.” (124 both said they had no idea what she meant by this.)

Her messages ranged from “Dear [124]” to a very terse “[124]”, sometimes within the span of a few hours. However, with the exception of one reply in 2020… this man had NEVER RESPONDED to her tirades.

The crowning jewel, which was sent the day before, was a spam of around twenty-three text messages (forgoing “signing” it and the opening) telling him he was the worst neighbor on our street, that he and his wife were horrible, selfish people, and typing in ALL CAPS demanding that he move his car away from her house.

His crime? They were moving a table into the garage while it was raining, and he had parked a single wheel in the grass nearer to her yard to make room for the delivery truck to back directly up to their garage so they could move it into the garage with minimal water damage to the box or the table. The car was on the grass for less than fifteen minutes.

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