From Elizabeth Fetters of Forest Hill:
I have really horrible neighbors and I need your help. Now, before you set this letter aside saying, “We’ve all heard sob stories about terrible neighbors,” allow me to sketch a picture for you about how truly terrible these people are. Everyone has had a neighbor that doesn’t care for their lawn, leaves newspapers lay outside for days, piles their trash around the fire hydrant, parks automobiles in a variety of places (most of which are not theirs) or has an endless stream of people in and out many of whom you’ve never seen before. Of course, my neighbors do all of these things. However, they also have loud drunken parties that last until 2 in the morning and result in guests vomiting over our privacy fence into our yard.
My husband and I have been married for 12 years. We purchased a lovely townhouse in Forest Hill in the spring of 2006 – our first home. We live a fairly quiet life. We are both teachers, my husband is a church organist. We have enjoyed making the house our own and traveling around the East Coast. We like to cook and we enjoy wine. Perhaps not a very exciting lifestyle, but our life none the less. I am an earlier riser and love to go to the gym or run the trail early in the morning.
About four years ago a young man in his early 20’s purchased the house next door. Fairly soon we dubbed it “The Fraternity House,” because, sadly, that is how these people were living their lives. There were 4 roommates. And they had parties. Lots of them. Our townhouse yard is very small and are separated only by a privacy fence. Anything that goes on in their backyard I can hear in our bedroom. They drink until they can’t stand, urinate in the yard, stand outside and talk loudly and smoke. They have even purchased a fire pit in which they built a campfire less than 5 feet from my home. Naturally this terrifies me the most. In general, these young people are continuing a lifestyle they learned on their college campus, perhaps, with many people cohabitating and out-of-control parties every weekend.
And this is where I need your help: I have tried everything to encourage these young people to grow up. Eventually the roommates moved out. Eventually the young man was married. His wife has not disappeared and he’s back to the roommates again. We have talked to them. We asked the homeowner’s association for help. The homeowner’s association told us that we needed to work it out among ourselves. We have called the police many times. The police have responded, occasionally they have given the house a “warning.” The night they the police issued their warning was the night that the partiers threw cigarette butts, beer cans and hamburger buns into our yard. More often than not, the police do nothing, citing that noise must be heard two doors away in order for it to be a violation. I have begged the dispatcher to ask the officers to come around the back of the house and the noise can be heard two doors away, but the officers don’t. My husband tried to get a restraining order against the owner of the house when someone vomited over our fence, but we were told that it wasn’t “damage” to our property.
People jokingly suggest that we move (we can’t afford, as much as we’d like those luxury apartments, to after the housing marking bust) or that we “join them” (then I would be trespassing on their property) or that we purchase a gun (I would be threatening them).
In general my question to you and your readership is this: Why is the law not on my side? I am the person who has been injured for the past four years by the behaviors of these people. I have just spent another sleepless night, the second weekend in a row, because of them. What do I do with people who have a complete disregard for anyone else but themselves? Please, I need your help.