We’ve all heard the rhyme “April Showers Bring May Flowers”.  But what if the May flowers in your neighbor’s yard resemble weeds more than flowers?

Neighborhood Without an HOA

I live in one of the few subdivisions in my city that doesn’t have an HOA.  I did that purposely.  I don’t think I should have to pay someone to tell me how my yard should look.  Everyone in my neighborhood has beautiful yards…with one exception.  My next door neighbor.  I’m lucky if he mows his front yard once each season.  And forget about the side of the house and the portion outside the fence.  And flower beds?  The only flowers in his flower beds are the ones the weeds produce.

Methods to Deal With a Messy Neighbor

So, in my decision to purposely purchase a home where there is no HOA, I am now left with the dilemma of how to deal with messy neighbors.  I tried several tactics.

Leave an anonymous note. I didn’t want my neighbor to feel singled out, so I left one on each door on my street, including my own door.  I did it late at night so no one would know who had done it.  My hope was that it would motivate the guilty party.  “Dear neighbor, we live on a beautiful street in a beautiful neighborhood in a beautiful city. Please help us keep it beautiful by taking care of your front yard.”  The result – nothing.  I lived next door to a budding forest.

Offer to help. After another month of dealing with my messy neighbor, I thought maybe he needed help.  Maybe his lawn mower broke down, or he was sick, or didn’t know how to use the lawn mower.  I decided to find an opportunity to offer him help.  One day while weeding my own flower beds I saw him walk outside to his mailbox.  I struck up a conversation with him and eventually turned the subject to his yard.  Eventually I mentioned that I love doing yard work and if he needed help or needed to borrow any equipment to just come on over.  He thanked me.  The result – nothing – AGAIN!  Now his yard was beginning to resemble Yellowstone National Forest.

Ask them in person. I avoid confrontation like the plague.  But, even I can be pushed to the limit.  We were now going on 3 months (summer months – where your grass grows an inch overnight) of my own personal “How to deal with messy neighbors” dilemma.  One day while working in my own yard, I looked over at his and felt my blood boil.  I marched myself over and rang their doorbell.  My pulse slowed while I waited for them to answer the door.  When my neighbor appeared, I offered up a few pleasantries and then went for it.  “I was wondering, what is preventing you from keeping your front yard looking presentable.  Everyone else on our street does, except you.  You don’t even mow your lawn.  Will you please?”  The result – they would “try” but really felt like since they were just renters it was not important.

Do it yourself. The next weekend I was fed up.  I took my lawn mower and weed eater and cleaned down the 3 foot high grass all along the outside of their house (which borders my driveway and alley). Next, I waited until I saw them both leave for the day.  Then I hauled my own lawn mower over and mowed their front yard.  (Only they see the backyard.  If they like living in a forest – more power to them.)  Then I trimmed, edged, and weeded.  The result – their yard looks much nicer.  And…they actually went out and did some upkeep on it 2 weeks later.  Maybe they just needed a jump-start.

So, how to deal with messy neighbors?  Maybe the best thing is to just clean it yourself!

If you have suggestions on how to deal with a messy neighbor email askpmi@propertiesandoptions.com.

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