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.
Old Skool says
When they are outside drunk throw a couple of rattle snakes over the fence. Slash their tires. Continue to call the po po for every infraction. If they have a dog, throw ground beef laced with rat poison over the fence. Put up flood lights that stay on aimed in their yard. Steal their license plates. Hope these suggestions help. I hate all my neighbor’s.
Please advise where you live so we may be able to provide you with the experience of your own advice.
Old Skool says
I live in your worst nightmare.
I read your letter with great empathy as someone who has “tolerated” horrible neighbors for the past 10 years. We both own our townhouses and share a wall. Seems like there is a great disparity in life-styles in your situation. I have the same issue. We have both tried to work out our differences in person, on the phone and via email. Each effort of communication has resulted in a dead end for both parties. We have tolerated each other but as luxury property owners in a well-to-do suburb with astronomical taxes …. you get the picture. I have an additional issue that you don’t, one of my neighbors is chronically mentally ill and cannot or will not leave her home. Imagine that one. All the games have been played. She enjoys playing silly childish games to pass her time as a shut-in with a disinterested husband and children who are grown. I have stayed because I have one child finishing up high school. Once he graduates, I will be selling my home. It doesn’t appear that my oppressive neighbors are moving any time soon. Unfortunately, when the differences in life-style are too great, moving is the only path to end the dysfunction. Next time opt for a single family house with ample privacy settings. Good luck and God bless.
Kill the Dog. WHAT AN IDIOT….. You are as bad as the neighbors they are complaining about. Someone should make you a hamburger laced with Rat Poison, would serve you right !!
Old Skool says
Dogs taste like hamburger if they’re done right. Cook them to medium with Season All and you’ll never know the difference.
You can’t control other people’s behavior and what they do in their own home. You are in control of your reaction. If you can’t move, seek professional help. This is a very stressful situation for you. We can not pick our neighbors or tell them how to live. I know this isn’t what you want to hear. You need to come to terms with this because it’s not your neighbor’s responsibility to make you happy. The fire pit and vomit are safety hazards so that is different. The anger and frustration is going to eat you up inside if you let it.
This is harassment if you ask me. Can you imagine policemen allowing that in their back yards? I am disappointed in them these days. Many of them have no respect or regard for the public, yet we pay their salaries. I had a real smart-alack rookie young lady who thinks that having a police uniform on gives her the right to address a 60 yr old woman as “mommy” when she knew nothing about the family dynamics, and made the situation much worse. Guess some of them do not get the proper training. No wonder one gets frustrated and would like to have them at least try to help with people who in your case, are out of control. The BIGGEST problem are the young people these days who would step over you if you were laying on the sidewalk bleeding. Why would they care if you were upset with any of their behavior? So very sad. I have been in your shoes and what is not controlled could turn into something much uglier. Grow up??? I doubt it. I think if you can get through it and laugh at them, ignore them, after a while people get tired of the same old hanging out and partying. Disturbing the peace not a crime these days????? Praying for you and your husband to be rewarded in the hopes that these losers move out and move in where the police families live with small children right next door. Bet that would not last one night !!!! I also agree that making noise during the day might be an irritant, but be careful of retaliation that could be even worse. Again, disturbing the peace should get them fines on a regular basis!!!!
Uncle Benny says
@ Jt- Since you know so much maybe you can apply to be a deputy or correctional officer until then quit whining. Cut out the we pay your salary excuse, like I said there are many job openings in the county from disptach to, CO, to Patrol deputy. Apply then complain until then shut the @ up.
j edgar says
Uncle Benny, the same thing could be said to you. You whine about your pay and work conditions and try to blame Bane for anything and everything that you consider negative.
JT, your whining has just made you part of the problem – not the solution!
Did you ever stick and think that maybe those “Smart Alec” young deputies are getting a bit sarcastic with you based on the type of personality you are presenting to them? Just by reading your post here, I would even go so far as to call you “mommy” – and I am already retired!
Speak to people as people, not with the mentality that they are inferior to you because they wear a uniform and serve the public as a profession, and more importantly with the “I pay your salary” attitude. That just feeds into the whole stuck-up, wannabe sophisticated Bel Air housewife stereotype.
Jt, the we pay your salary adage is old and over used… Legally, police cannot enter the backyard due to something called the 4th amendment. Let me put it in a term you can understand….go to Google and search “curtilage.” Let me ask you another question…do you sleep peacefully at night? All curled up in the blanket of protection these Deputies are providing you. I thought so.
If your neighbors are up all night then they must sleep in the day at least on the weekend. How about some loud noise during the day especially in the morning? Mow the grass at 5 am. Take up the drums on your deck. Probably won’t do any good but might give you some satisfaction. Sell the house but only show it during the week in the day time. Good luck. It is all wrong but the police will do nothing until someone breaks the law.
pissed with the government says
Have you tried to have a level headed conversation with your neighbors. Perhaps you may need to apologize for calling the police and HOA and try and have an conversation with them. Be honest but also diplomatic, they absolutely have a right to party and merry make on the house and yard. Perhaps put up a full length fence and incorporate landscaping to block the view and lessen the noise. Try to work with your neighbor.
The writer indicated she has tried on many occasions to talk with them already. I am confused a bit though, did the wife disappear and roommates returned, or is there a wife and roommates?
Unfortunately sounds like you are SOL. Have you tried to file a complaint at the local police/sheriff office? Not calling them out to the house, but going and filing a formal complaint that this homeowner is infringing on you right to peaceable existence? Especially the hours between 11pm and 7 am. I would get the other neighbors close by affected to join your cause. If more than one neighbor complains perhaps someone will listen. Otherwise it might seem that you are the one being unreasonable and overly sensitive. I feel badly for you… I have had an issue with one of my neighbors for years, and basically I have been forced to just live with. Best of luck!
The Hunt for Red October says
@ Pisssed at the Government- you are a moron and make no sense
Marc Eaton says
Are you freaking serious?
Inconvenienced, yes. Injured? Hardly. Get over what has happened in the past. My guess is that if they catch wind of your letter there will be more cans, cigarette buts and burger buns coming your way.
Me too! says
“Try to work with your neighbor” – I think when people make comments like this, they truly must have never experienced a problem with a neighbor that Just Doesn’t Care how much they annoy those around them. It generally takes all of one conversation to realize what you’re dealing with and that all the ‘talks’ in the world won’t make a dent. Common courtesy has all but disappeared – if you have to Tell an Adult that they are a nuisance, odds are they Just Don’t Care.
When our neighborhood idiot pulled his most recent stunt, I had two different neighbors call Me to find out if I had called the police yet. I asked them to do it this time (they both did thankfully) as I am tired of always being the one to call the police, especially on someone who already has a record. I am tired of putting my family and my property at risk from some overgrown juvenile delinquent who may do who knows what if I call one too many times. Additionally, in many cases when you call the police, to actually get them to come out and do something, you have to be willing to make an ‘official’ complaint – meaning they have to come to Your house first. Who wants to get out of bed, get dressed and wait 20-30 min for the cops to show up at all hours of the night!? Once a year, sure! Once a week, not so much! And then some (not all!) of these same cops have a way of making You feel like you’re the nuisance for bothering them over something ‘so small’.
Quality of life is not a small issue and one crappy neighbor Can ruin the whole neighborhood.
My only advice is to get additional neighbors involved. Have someone Else report your neighbor a few times. If it bothers you, it undoubtedly bothers at least a few others too. Hopefully, if enough people make the calls, the police will eventually Do Something besides just issue a ‘warning’.
I feel your pain and hope that some circumstance arises that forces your neighbor to move. I hope you can go back to enjoying your property, your investment, and an improved standard of living sooner than later!!
I too have had the same experience in North Harford, however my neighbors were wanted in several states for meth distribution. One night we came home to see them running from our property. They painted several cars and slashed tires. They also sugared the gas tanks of my husbands vehicles. (He owns a business). All because my dog was kicked by one of these “thugs” and my husband confronted them. The officers repeatedly told us to keep calling them and document everything. We did call for everything, we took them to court and won. The one who did most of the damage went to jail for 3 months. They wound up moving because they couldn’t stay out of trouble and we kept calling the police on everything they did, so stay strong and fight!!
I had a similar problem and nothing worked faster than power tools and wall hammering early every morning while they were hung over. You may also consider a law suit. You can sue for anything. It will cost them time and money unless they agree to stop.
In the Know says
This may be a good link for you- http://www.harfordsheriff.org/noise/
and maybe this will help http://statutes.laws.com/maryland/criminal-law/title-10/subtitle-2/10-201 .
Maybe you or your husband need to record this activity and go to the court commishoner and file charges yourself. They are located at the Harford County Detetion Center just south of you on Rock Spring Road, its worth a try.
Also you could file a complaint with the Sheriffs Office Northern Precinct at 410-692-7880 and ask to speak with the duty officer. But before you do that I suggest visiting the court commish first and trying that. The police cant do everything, but heck call every time there loud at somepoint it just may work.
On a joking note maybe your husband could borrow a church organ at about 7 am on a saturday and wake them up, it just might make a point.
you can file for a peace order in the courthouse….what happens is then you both go before the judge and have to answer. you provide the evidence of what has been going on….and the judge will issue the peace order.
Does one of them drive a blue Scooter, we have the same problem in the Hayden Way area of Majors Choice in Bel Air.
Entity Zero says
Wow I’m glad I’m not their neighbors. The Fritters, that is. Whatever their name is. They sound like the a-hole neighbors that complain over every tiny thing that goes on. Seriously, don’t buy a cheap townhouse if you can’t live amicably with your neighbors or are socially inept. The whole time I was reading, I kept wondering what kind of lame, dorky college experience this lady has had! No one refers to a frat house as ‘the fraternity house’. I’m also worried about her students’ quality of education. For a teacher, her post is riddled with typos and grammatical errors.
Lenny Lane says
I know that kid with the blue scooter. There’s one in every neighborhood…
Instead of calling dispatch, call directly to the Northern Precinct (or call the HCSO main line and select the option for that precinct) and if necessary keep pushing until you get in touch with the captain. Assuming your letter is accurate and the HCSO has had that many calls for service to the same residence for parties, etc, the owner and residents should be able to be charged criminally with disorderly house. The SAO is usually the one who’ll determine if the owners/residents can be charged, but before that can happen the situation needs to be documented in a police report (or multiple police reports) and generally reports aren’t written for those kinds of calls without some direction to do so from a supervisor.
I know that’s happened in other parts of the county and once charges were filed the problems pretty much stopped.
You also might be able to get a peace order if your accompanying statement with the petition is thorough enough (dates, times, etc), but that could be a stretch depending on what all has been said and done and could depend on the commissioner/judge.
I know these folks – I can assure you they are good people. People who would listen and be reasonable. This is pretty low rent in my opinion to complain and call them out publicly. You obviously don’t know how to talk to people effectively to get your point across. These guys you describe, they all have jobs, successful ones, and they are all nice people so if you can’t get your point across that’s a reflection on you and your poor attitude towards the situation. Maybe you should get to know your neighbors rather than bad mouth them…they are a door away. I’d recommend you apologize for being nasty and try and get on the same page…good luck.
What this guy said. Sometimes you need to give a little respect in order to get a little respect. Emailing complaints in isn’t helping, prob only make it worse. Talk face to face and try to comprimise. Or just blast the organ early every Sunday morning.
“I have tried everything to encourage these young people to grow up.” Have you? It seems as though shortly after this young man moved in, you were quick to jump to conclusions about his lifestyle. The result is the story you describe. To me, it sounds like instead of connecting with him and being proactive about a less-than favorable situation, you chose to approach him hostility and still continue to make a simply resolved issue into something bigger than it is.
It’s far too easy to find other ways of dealing with something like this: call the police, get a restraining order, or type out a [long-winded] letter. Try speaking with him. It will certainly accomplish much more than this ridiculous letter will.
Elizabeth Sykes says
Elizabeth, although we may share the same name, I’m happy to say I am probably nothing like you. Based off the information you listed in your lengthy and very pointless letter, I’m going to go with you and your husband are at the youngest, maybe sixty? With that being said you should both be mature enough to simply have a back yard discussion with your current neighbors, maybe even over a glass of your favorite wine. I personally like the 2006 Freeman Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, I order by the case, so that either makes me a wine-o or an alcoholic, I’ll leave it up to your imagination. So, you’ve lived next to this guy for you say, four years? I’m going to go with you have no idea where he works, what college he picked up all his award winning characteristics from or even his last name. On top of that, I’m sure these several times you’ve attempted to talk to him have been all of maybe two times. Before you go off pointing fingers, making false accusations, and being so critical maybe you should take several steps backwards. You’re a grown adult and just like the rest of the world is telling you, you should be able to handle this in a mature manor. Incase you are unaware of what that means, I don’t think broadcasting your personal issues that you can’t handle on the internet is the way to go about it. This is something I feel like would come from someone immature, and in their early 20’s not from an old crow. Is your neighbor a Ravens fan, I’m going to guess that there’s a 99.9% chance he is. Fun Fact: Ravens are larger than crows, with larger, thicker bills, stronger legs, longer, wedge-shaped tails, and more tapered, longer wingtips. In the air, they are more raptor-like, soaring for extended periods, unlike crows. With that being said, your neighbors are superior to you and you will never win. Give up now, retire and stop poisoning the minds of our next generation, move to a retirement community and hope to God they don’t like football, Natty Boh, crab feasts or anything else that Maryland loves.
Lenny Lane says
Elizabeth Sykes: You sound like a cruel person, insensitive to the plight of others. And arrogant at that. The other Elizabeth has reached her wits end and is trying anything at all to figure out a solution and all you do is mock her. You are pitiful and I’m sure she is glad she is nothing like you.
Disappointed Neighbor says
This is a very disappointing letter to read on the internet, one that should have been addressed to me, the home owner, as I was unaware that you were this upset at me. I will not attempt to deny some of the items that have been cited in your letter, however events, such as the vomit accident, occurred several years in the past. I have taken steps since then to ensure accidents like this one time incident, are remedied by myself and don’t occur in the future. And to my knowledge they haven’t. I am very fortunate to have the friends and family that I do, and as a home owner, I am free to exercise my right to host them at my house and as often as I want. All of my guests are adults with successful jobs/businesses and are very understanding when it comes time to bring things inside. Understanding these laws regarding noise, I do my best to honor those laws and regulations by inviting my guests inside before “quiet hours” begin at 11 PM. You have my number… next time my guests are disturbing your sleep, I suggest you use it, send me a text, and allow me to remedy the situation directly. Any additional communication regarding this matter should be directed to me and if necessary, my attorney. Not the internet.
On an unrelated note, I am disappointed in the Dagger for posting this letter. Matters such as this, should not be resolved in a public forum.
QUIET HOURS? At 11pm? Seriously do you have a day job? Quiet hours in most communities are courteously observed by others as beginning at 9pm. Get over yourself and stop being a jerk. Your affront at her post is simply a self serving twit that only has regards for your rights and not the rights of the community you profess to want to be a part of.
You Are Rude says
Your comment is interesting to me because you refer to this young man as a “self-serving twit” with all the conviction of someone who has known him for years. You also question whether or not he has full-time employment.
As someone who actually knows the person in question I can tell you that he is not a self-serving twit and that he has a very respectable day-job. I find it curious that you are so willing to believe the testimony of a complete stranger over the internet and so willing to disregard the response of someone who is as equally unknown to you as the original poster of the complaint.
I would also argue that 9PM is pretty early for “quiet hours” on the weekend. My 60-something year old parents stay up later than that on a Saturday night.
You should be careful and should refrain from jumping to unwarranted conclusions about people with whom you are not acquainted. The gentleman in question is courteous, kind, respectable, respectful and in no way “self-serving.” You should be ashamed of your post and should take this time to reflect on your rashness.
Trolling from multiple accounts on different IP addresses will fool the voting on the Dagger Forum every tiime. And 9pm is not unreasonable regardless of the party nature of your adult 60 year old parents who likely do not have day jobs. I’ll be sure to ring you up at 5am when I get ready to go to my day job – not in retail or flipping burgers.
You Are Rude says
LOL. You have no idea who you’re speaking to. I did not vote for myself 17 times on 17 different IP addresses you FOOL. Some people have better things to do with their time though obviously you don’t. Shut up and pick on someone you actually KNOW, rather than on some grossly exaggerated caricature of a real person that you read on the internet.
People shouldn’t have to be told to observe common courtesy. Quiet hours in a townhouse community should realistically begin around 8pm-9pm on weeknights and 9-11pm on weekends. In my opinion, as the host, you have a responsibility to your neighbors at all times for all parts of your gathering, noise, parking, trash, etc., and should be planning to limit all of it to have as little impact on any of your neighbors as reasonably possible. This also includes being responsible for the entirety of the event and not intoxicating yourself so you can look after your guests. Who cares what the HOA rules are? Who cares what the law is? Just be a decent human being. The recipe for doing so is only a few thousand years old: just put yourself in the other person’s shoes and imagine how you would want to be treated. So if you are planning to have parties, tell your neighbors ahead of time. Afterward, ask them if you were too loud or if there were any problems. Heck, I don’t know, even apologize for them without being asked. If you find that your guests can’t abide by the limitations you set for them, then you have to ask them to leave, or you need to start having parties somewhere else. Basically, if (because I don’t really know) you are delinquent in this matter, just imagine how you will feel someday when you have an infant who’s trying to sleep at 7pm and your current neighbors have moved out and are replaced by someone like the neighbor described in the letter? Yeah, you wouldn’t be too happy either.
Hopefully the two of you can work this out amicably and this is a turning point rather than an escalation point.
I very much agree with you. That said a few other things to point out. Tollerating neighbors is part of town house living. While I understand the frustrations of the author the letter comes off as judgemental and demeeaning. If that is the attitutde that she approached her neighbor with than I am not suprised by the reaction. Being judgemental of their values is not very neighborlly, nor effective. I would suggest that no one knows the whole story and that the two parties should find a way to work it out in a constructive manner.
Oh I agree, the tone of the letter is not even remotely fit for publication, let alone just talking to your neighbor. I was working under the assumption that this had been an ongoing, repeated, unresolved egregious matter– assumptions I feel have to be made to give this complaint any legitimacy.
But who knows. It is a super short list of neighborly altercations in which only one side of guilty of misconduct.
My parents lived in a townhouse until some college kids moved in next door and one of them was a drummer. They moved out within a year. A classic case of something be ing allowable, but definitely not neighborly. A full drum set has no place in a townhouse.
Just be respectful is all I’m saying.
Common Cents says
The homeowner seems reasonable enough to me. I was pretty irritated that this letter was published as well. This is not the place to air dirty laundry and with real estate records publicly accessible, the home owner’s identity can’t be preserved.
I agree with those that think quiet hours should begin at 8 or (more reasonably) 9pm. That said, the law says 11pm, so that’s what’s socially acceptable. If you don’t like it – petition the county legislature to change it.
In the meantime, if you have a problem with him – just call him! We had a problem with the cabin next to us on our cruise ship a while back, so we just knocked on their door and told them we were sleeping. Problem solved. They had no idea we could hear them.
Apparently you see what you are doing is annoying to not only one neighbor, but others as well, i am sure. If she already did try to resolve the situation and nothing happened, then she has every right to contact The Dagger about this. If you were truly respectful of others, than realize that although ur right to party exists, it would be wise in the future to maybe cut them back to once a mth or so, out of this thing most young people don’t understand called respect for those who do wake early for whatever reason.
Writing what you did shows you are aware of your own behavior and that of your friends, so maybe take the party to some of your friends homes instead of ur own so much. Since they all have jobs, they should also have homes to party at as well. Just a suggestion from an old partier who has already had his day in the sun, and realize how inconsiderate i really was to others around me, especially since i lived in an apt complex in my younger days. With age comes responsibility and wisdom.
I would recomend setting up a video camera that records the party if they are outside, and continue to do so on every party they have. Once you have enough evidence contact a lawyer the handles civil law suits, you may be able to file a civil suit since this is affecting quality of life, affecting you job since you cant get a good nights sleep etc., Make sure you document all calls to police and HOA. If these bozo’s dont have cash to pay damages than you can put a lein on their house until they pay.
Big chief cheeseburger says
I was under the impression its against the law to setup a audio as video camera to point into your neighbors yard and record them in privacy.
Big Lens says
You are not pointing the camera at their yard you are pointing it at YOUR fence. There is no reasonable expectation of privacy issue here. Keep a well identified camera in view – in your yard. Flood lights will insure a well exposed image. Second, an infrared camera with infrared flood lights will do the same completely discretely. Turning off the flood lights and keeping the infrared running will record those emboldened after they think that the camera is off.
Of course TOLERANCE is something that it sounds like could be useful here. Getting over disapproval of other’s lifestyle would be a great start. The video is not going to lie. If it’s just a property owner enjoying the evening with guests you may need to suck it up. A white noise generator may be of help inside your house. Worst case, giving you the benefit of the doubt, find something like the theme from the kid’s show “Barney” and play it on a loop restlessly when they are having guest.
BTW, don’t depend on the Harford County Sheriff’s office, their too busy writing traffic tickets. These type of calls don’t bring in cash. They will get involved if someone gets hurt or killed, than they will say you should have called them.
If you weren’t so busy violating traffic laws Ed, maybe they would have more time to devote to public order.
Elizabeth: you better call an attorney.
Two torts that involve the communication of false information about a person, a group, or an entity such as a corporation. Libel is any Defamation that can be seen, such as a writing, printing, effigy, movie, or statue. Slander is any defamation that is spoken and heard.
Collectively known as defamation, libel and slander are civil wrongs that harm a reputation; decrease respect, regard, or confidence; or induce disparaging, hostile, or disagreeable opinions or feelings against an individual or entity. The injury to one’s good name or reputation is affected through written or spoken words or visual images. The laws governing these torts are identical.
To recover in a libel or slander suit, the plaintiff must show evidence of four elements: that the defendant conveyed a defamatory message; that the material was published, meaning that it was conveyed to someone other than the plaintiff; that the plaintiff could be identified as the person referred to in the defamatory material; and that the plaintiff suffered some injury to his or her reputation as a result of the communication.
To prove that the material was defamatory, the plaintiff must show that at least one other person who saw or heard it understood it as having defamatory meaning. It is necessary to show not that all who heard or read the statement understood it to be defamatory, but only that one person other than the plaintiff did so. Therefore, even if the defendant contends that the communication was a joke, if one person other than the plaintiff took it seriously, the communication is considered defamatory.
Defamatory matter is published when it is communicated to someone other than the plaintiff. This can be done in several different ways. The defendant might loudly accuse the plaintiff of something in a public place where others are present, or make defamatory statements about the plaintiff in a newsletter or an on-line bulletin board. The defamation need not be printed or distributed. However, if the defendant does not intend it to be conveyed to anyone other than the plaintiff, and conveys it in a manner that ordinarily would prevent others from seeing or hearing it, the requirement of publication has not been satisfied even if a third party inadvertently overhears or witnesses the communication.
Liability for republication of a defamatory statement is the same as for original publication, provided that the defendant had knowledge of the contents of the statement. Thus, newspapers, magazines, and broadcasters are liable for republication of libel or slander because they have editorial control over their communications. On the other hand, bookstores, libraries, and other distributors of material are liable for republication only if they know, or had reason to know, that the statement is defamatory. Common carriers such as telephone companies are not liable for defamatory material that they convey, even if they know that it is defamatory, unless they know, or have reason to know, that the sender does not have a privilege to communicate the material. Suppliers of communications equipment are never liable for defamatory material that is transmitted through the equipment they provide.
Trolling for business?
The Money Tree says
You should have stopped after the second sentence because everything that followed is just as so aptly put “trolling for business”. The information publically stated needs to be false and unless the entire story is made up or can’t be documented or confirmed by any other neighbors your hoped for fees are vanishimo, zero, nada…gotta love attorneys. Scourge.
True but, if this person exagerated than they have a point.
“that the plaintiff could be identified as the person referred to in the defamatory material”
This seems particularly important in this case.
Common Cents says
Given the fact that real estate records are available online and that Ms. Fetters’ name was used in the title of this article along with her location (Forest Hill), any one of us could narrow the “defendent” to 1 of two individuals within a couple of minutes.
Tack on the fact that the home was purchased by one male in his early 20s and that the purchase date was approximated, we’d all know which of the two it was.
That said, if it’s true, it isn’t slander.
Disappointed Neighbor says
A lot of what has been said in her letter is exaggerated or not true. I have spoken to my attorney regarding this issue.
I am in a very similar situation. I live in a condo in Forest Hill and one of the neighbors is an older woman. The police have stated that they feel she is a paranoid schizophrenic. She believes that my boyfriend, who lives with me, has broken into her place several times and has stolen many of her things. She says she sees him in her apartment building and believes that he is entering her place through the heating ducts. This has been going on for three years. She stands outside our door and listens in, peeks into all of our cars, and writes down the license plates of our cars and our visitors’ cars. Often, she stands outside our condo building and yells at our place about how “he can’t get away with this” and “he’s taken everything from me.” She does not believe he has a job and that is why he is stealing from her (which is untrue). The cops have been called on us by her, multiple times. They never directly talk to us but sometimes will run our license plates, especially his work van. Now she blocks the door when he is entering the building, tries to touch our dog (we have repeatedly asked her not to due to the fact that she would probably turn it against us). This woman has been removed once by Shepard Pratt and the building was told that she was hoarding. We have tried talking to the Police Department, especially when she said she was getting a gun to protect herself, the Fire Department because of the hoarding and having gas heat in our building, Social Services, the Health Department (the building had a horrible case of gnats due to her hoarding) and our Condo Association. Everyone tells us to contact someone else. They point fingers but no one will give us an answer. We feel helpless and when my boyfriend travels, which is a great deal, I live in a state of fear. I know how you are feeling and it is not right to have to deal with situations like ours. I hope things work out for you. And I hope, somehow, you guys receive help with your situation.
the office says
I sincerly feel for you, our office knows exactly who your neighbor is and we have heard the stories of your boyfriend numerous times…..
Luther Lingus says
Can I write a letter about my idiot neighbors who mow their grass at 9pm and 8am as well?
Hey neighbors – try starting lawn mowers no earlier than 10am on the weekends and no later than 8pm during week nights.
It would be nice to sleep in on a Saturday once in a while.
You must not be from around here. 10am is late to start yard work if you want to get any appreciable amount of work done before its too hot outside.
8 AM is sleeping in if you ask me.
Luther Lingus says
Not if you have 6 acres and a zero-turn – idiot.
Now go clip you townhome lawn with your scissors.
Fair point. It used to take all weekend to do a decent job of 3 acres with a long series of crappy craftsman mowers. Finally saved up enough to buy a Dixie Chopper and now things take 2 hours. It’s just that saving up for a $8K lawn mower that takes time…..
Entitled Much? says
Yes, its a shame we can’t all be rich like you. Totally makes us dumb.
Lawn work even 3 acres can be done in the afternoon. I do mine after about 1 or 2pm. I mow about three acres, one is mine, and the other two are the neighbors on each side. Both have passed, but i still like the yards to look nice so i still mow them and usually get done around 5 or so at the latest. So that can be worked out.
You’re married to an organist, your life must be boring.
Yo because says, I have a perfect driving record db, it is common knowledge by the general public in HC that the sheriffs office is pretty much a joke, they are so consumed by the little shit that they lose sight of the bigger issues, Arm Robbery, Drugs, Shoplifting etc., keep writing those tickets. You need to open your eyes and ears and listen to the people you have sworn to protect and serve.
They’re doing just fine without your criticism Ed. If you’re worried about traffic stops, slow down, be courteous or maybe take public transit. I’m grateful they make life difficult for people that are driving on suspended licenses, speeding, leaving the scene of an accident and blowing through stop signs. If it’s any consolation, traffic stops are usually an indicator of deeper problems with regard to the rights of others. In other words, I haven’t really seen anyone that has an abundance of traffic violations that hasn’t appeared in criminal and civil cases either.
Big chief cheeseburger says
I like cheeseburgers.
To begin, you have ZERO RIGHT to publish personal information about this neighbor– roommate status, marital status– none of it belongs on a public forum such as this. It’s fine to send in a pity-party, dramatic, poorly-constructed, misspelled, and hyperbole-ridden and inaccurate account of your “horrible” neighbors, but to mention details of their personal life is at best desperate, and at worst disgusting.
Secondly, these parties are NOT weekly happenings. They’re not even monthly. Don’t make them sound like they’re running a bordello and a meth lab next door. THEY HAVE A FIRE PIT? How pernicious! (That means ‘dangerous’.) Music, friends, beer, and baggo. How horrible. Any normally well-adjusted human might find these activities enjoyable. Those of you reading this and experiencing a fit of neighborhood watchdog rage should know that you are being grossly misled. She paints a picture of a house in disrepair, with “an endless stream of people” leaving “piles of trash”. All untrue. Patently. The tenants (who, despite what our author would lead you to believe, are all gainfully employed with normal jobs) take fine care of their property, and do so better than some of the other houses in the neighborhood. As for parking, the spaces being used are not labeled, nor is there any illegal parking going on. The cars are parked in public places available to anyone who wants them. I don’t see your name on any of them. And no one would dare park in your spots lest they have to listen to you whine about it.
These are not bad people. They’re not even semi-bad people. They’re hard-working, tax-paying professionals who spend an occasional weekend partying. Don’t you dare sit here and characterize them as degenerates or misanthropes just because they don’t lead the same white picket fence plastic fantastic button-down miserably-bargain-Chardonnay-and-Ambien suburban coma you do. You have no right to dictate the course of their free time if they’re not breaking any laws, which they are not. Just because you’re in bed by 8 on a Friday after another scheduled run-through of functional vanilla marriage sex doesn’t mean the rest of the world is. Let me guess: overly religious, anti-marriage-equality, I-think-I-know-how-your-life-should-be-run Republicans? Am I close?
And for you litigious asshats screaming, “Sue! Sue! Get a lawyer!” you can’t sue without damages. Aside from an hour or two of lost sleep every six weeks, there are no damages. The hour of Judge Judy or Judge Steve or Judge Whoever you may watch doesn’t qualify as a law degree. So just let it go.
“Why isn’t the law on my side?” Because you have no case. It’s not coincidence no one is listening to you– there’s nothing to listen to. By now, anyone who matters has pegged you as nothing more than a bitter complainer. That word “complainer?” Not my word: that one comes directly from the police whom you have summoned multiple times from actual crimes to tend to your bickering. A sporadic interruption of your sleep cycle is not important in the grand scheme of things.
I hope you move and encounter some ACTUAL horrible neighbors. God forbid you have to put up with some loud music once every few weeks.
Big chief cheeseburger says
Your post qualifies as EPIC WIN.
Except for the part where it resorts to insults.
I honestly have no idea what the Dagger was thinking here.
Common Cents says
The Money Tree says
Dude that’s all fine except you’re disturbing the neighbors and apparently all your buds are filling up the parking lot so nobody else get’s to use convenient parking. I really sense a lack of empathy on your part. You shouldn’t have moved to Forest Hill if you wanted to act like a college senior. Maybe tone it down a bit and the thing about the fire pit…if you had an acre that might be OK but a bunch of drunks with an open fire in a tiny townhouse yard would make most anybody nervous. The lady ought to go to the Townhouse homeowners association because there are rules and if there’s nothing on the books already she can certainly lead the charge to put some rules in place to enforce civility in cases like yours where you don’t seem to get it.
I hate that I have to use a tone like this. (I don’t live there so don’t fault those involved for my angry ranting– I and I alone take full responsibility for my words.) If these neighbors had aired grievances in a more civil way instead of running to the cops at the first sign of a keg and some Solo cups, I would have been THE FIRST PERSON IN LINE to clean up or repair things (if there were even need for repair, which there is not). What I am not willing to do, however, is allow someone to post uncontested something in a public forum which presents a vastly distorted representation (read: lie) of quality people I’m stupid lucky to be able to call friends. As for the parking, it gets full as a result of a party once every month, MAYBE. It’s not as though cars are being left there for weeks on end, depriving residents of their rightful spots. Not even close.
I hate insulting people. But lie about my friends and that’s my recourse. I make no apologies for that.
Neighbor swapping says
Let’s have an open invite party for the neighbors to get to know one another…
Again part of town house living. Parking is a premium. Yes it would be nice to tell your neighbors you are having a get together but you do not need their permission. I also know plenty of people who have fire pits in my town house development and they are not a problem. If the HOA has a policy on them than it should be followed.
Disappointed Neighbor says
I don’t want to comment more on this article than necessary however fire pits are fairly common in my neighborhood. The night of my recent cook out on Saturday there was a family a few doors down outside roasting marshmallows and enjoy the nice evening (no apparent issue with my guests or noise either). The only time I have used my pit was for the same reason, I have since gotten rid of it. As Mark has said, I am not a bad person and it is very unfortunate that this was her approach to resolving the matter.
First townhouse I lived in had unassigned parking. Assigned parking was mandatory for the second. I would never live in an HOA without it. Just asking for misery.
I think you need to look at it. M neighborhood has unassinged and has many courts where it is horendous. Luckily my court has a surplus of unused parking to the tune of 20 spaces. Out of courtesy we all leave each other two spaces in front of our own house and share the rest.
Great post with all those big college words until you included all those derogatory conservative bashing comments. Completely unnecessary. Shows how your progressive professors were successful in their programming.
Progressive programming? You mean reality? Guilty as charged.
Citizen One says
I am getting the picture…remember the perfect husband and wife neighbors in the oldie but goodie flick Christmas Vacation?? This lady needs to get off her pristine rump and live a little. Let it go lady! You have made a complete jerk of yourself going the path you have chosen in writing the letter.
Old Skool says
Can I get the address of the “bad” neighbors? Sounds like some great partyer’s.
Ok, I know there are going to be people here that hate what I’m going to say.
From what I’ve heard, the neighbors are young and active and you and your husband are older…and religious ( why is it relevant that your husband is a church organist??)
By your own admission, you have called to police multiple times and have been told that they are not breaking the law. You also made a degrading comment about “encourage these young people to grow up”. Are you attempting to impose your values onto them?
My .02 Build a higher fence. The police have said they are not breaking the law and the HOA told you to work it out. Based on the authorities lack of interest……it sounds like YOU are the one who needs to change a little.
The Money Tree says
Most likely you can’t alter the height of the fence – HOA determines limitations to exterior modifications. My .02 cents is aren’t the younger kids in question here imposing their values on them? It’s a two way street here.
Not at all.
These people went through the proper channels to air their grievance and were told to pound sand.
When all these avenues have been fruitless and they then publish a letter as an act of desperation, an attempt to garner public sympathy….who is then in the wrong?
Sounds like persecution to me.
The Money Tree says
Go to your Homeowners Association. If the neighbors are disturbing the peace the Homeowners Association can actually seize thier property for continued infractions that they refuse to mitigate regardless of the legalities. You don’t need to be breaking any laws to be breaking the community rules. Document what you have and turn it over to them. Trust me they will speak to the neighbor.
Whos idea was it to post this letter? LMAO!!!! Not even the Baltimore sun would have done something like this.
Remember folks, there is always three sides to a story.
When I was tired of my neighbors’ teenagers’ antics, or their (adult) drinking parties until 12am outside my window, I gritted my teeth, saved my pennies and moved. Now I can barely hear my neighbors’ lawnmowers, the only way I know someone is having a party is if I see the glow of a bonfire through the trees and life is good.
I have a question: does the neighbor on the other side have the same complaints? Unless Mrs. Fetters’ neighbor lives in a end-of-group home, there is another neighbor. I would love to hear that resident’s opinion of all this.
I am very disappointed that the writer of this letter chose to post her full name and location. This had to be a deliberate move. She may not have used her neighbor’s name, but anyone with a computer and 3 spare minutes can deduce his identity, and my guess is that she is well aware of this. I must admit that I am tempted to look it up because he sounds like a pretty fun guy, but I will resist! My suggestion to Mrs. Fetters would be to buy a wave machine for her bedroom to drown out the occasional noise. If trash is thrown over the fence, bring it to the neighbor’s attention and ask that he clean it up. Stop calling the police (for reference, please read the fable about crying wolf).
Disappointed Neighbor says
To answer your question, the neighbor on the other side (end of group) moved out about a year ago and the house sits vacant. They had an infant daughter and never once had an issue with my guests or I.
The Money Tree says
One neighbor hates you and the others moved out. Are you sure it’s not you?
Disappointed Neighbor says
If I caused their painful separation and foreclosure, then yes, it is definitely my fault. Think before you speak.
The Money Tree says
If you actually are the “bad” neighbor in question you’re one of two obviously so in checking either side of you there is no bank owned property.
He could be assuming the bank still owns it. All he knows is it is vacant.
The Money Tree says
Nobody has assumed title within the past year in any of the units that might potentially be part of the story here and there’s nothing in the record ever filed transferring title to a bank either. I’m always suspicious about internet claims when nobody id’s themselves honestly. “I’m the guy in question” is about the same as “he’s a french model” if you know what I mean.
Speak Your Mind says
The Money Tree
I’m still waiting for your credentials…
Thank you for your reply! I hope that you and the Fetters find a way to amicably work this out.
Boh Me says
Referring to the residents as “kids” is inaccurate to say the least. As stated many times before, the men have very successful Careers and are productive members of society. From my deduction, you seem unhappy with how you spend your weekends and appear to be jealous you haven’t been sent an invite. Perhaps it got lost in the mail. Any who, back to the subject at hand, the weekend is normally a time where friends get together and unwind an relax from the work week. Yes, at times I’m sure the noise is elevated but a simple phone call or knock at the door will suffice just fine. But portraying these fine individuals as rebellious Neanderthals who only know how to do keg stands an play a mean game of beer pong is incorrect. They do other things well too, like play Nintendo wii by chance.
I feel a civil agreement is in order. Publicly bashing was not needed in this situation an I feel the one complainer is a little immature in the matter, even if by the slight chance anything said is accurate by any means.
The Money Tree says
Yes this lady is absolutely out of order – vomiting in someone elses yard is normal nowadays. Good lord we all relax that way…NOT.
Mommie Dearest says
Why is everyone jumping all over The Dagger for printing this letter? You all are the ones reading it and replying to it. The Dagger is a public forum and invites readers to submit stories, articles, letters, etc. As long as it’s not profane or against the law, what is the problem? Just because you wouldn’t write such a letter doesn’t give you the right to say Mrs. Fetters shouldn’t have written it and The Dagger shouldn’t have posted it.
because the dagger is about as reliable as the onion.
Train Wreck says
Not the most savvy letter. Attempts at public shaming have recently seen the “shamer’s” info go viral and among other things, get them fired from their job. Picking a fight with some 20 somethings in a forum such as this is, well… not the brightest idea. It’s like… bringing a bassoon to keyboard fight. As for the Dagger, you know what can be done with the amount of info given. To not at least advise the author of the potential pitfalls is morally negligent. Boooo Dagger.
There’s that, and there’s their own liability. All of which I couldn’t really care less about. The Dagger can post whatever it see’s fit, so I’m not telling them not to, just giving my opinion on what they did.
Most importantly, what is the compelling public issue here? To me, the Dagger provides a service to the public, and to what end is publishing this letter? To have public discourse on the finer points of being good neighbors? Conflict resolution?
If that were the case, then grow an ounce of journalism and I dunno, write an actual story about it, interview both parties, leave out the identifying details, and consult a mediator? That’s a story, that’s a responsible public service, and it’s going to do a lot more for the whole situation than just indiscriminately posting a complaint.
This is happening every weekend in numerous communities in Harford County, so it’s clearly not news, not compelling, and not unique– but if you put a brain and keyboard together you could actually create something of redeeming value that serves a real purpose.
I like hot dogs says
Man, if I had just read this about myself I would get on the phone with a beer supplier and order the entire 18 wheeler to come park out front at my next party! Heall yeah! America!
Jimbo Jones says
sounds like youre the problem church lady. i bet you dont even smoke crack recreationally do you.
Cindy Uptown says
I live in a big a55 house and avoid any interaction with anyone I consider below my standard. You should too. Townhouses are so funny. I love the little people that live there. Charming. Tah-tah darlings. Kisses.
Just throw a few drano bottle bombs over the fence…
Steven Richards says
Ed it’s obvious you don’t like the police. First of all we don’t have the time to make motor vehicle stops. Second we don’t receive any money for citations it goes to the state of Md. Were so busy handling calls and we don’t have the time to be proactive. Do you know how many crap calls police respond to on a daily basis ranging from neighbor,parking, juvenile complaints. Parents have no control over their children these days and expect the police to solve their problems. These type of calls hinder us from doing real police work. Why don’t you ride with an officer to see what they actually do on a given day. Also while your at it have the county executive give us more people.
I came for the article, but stayed for the comments.
Skid Mark says
This sounds like a great party house. From what I have read in the past its all Lionel Jesse Banes Fault. Maybe this is the perfect place for his community policing team or Community Action Response team to set up. Crime is down that all that matters, right Jesse? Stay classy Hazard County.
Amazing some of the rude responses on here. This is what you get when you open up comments to anyone with a keyboard.
You must have covenants in your neighborhood and it is probably the responsibility of the HOA to enforce them. Sounds like they are just being lazy. Read your covenants and go after your HOA to take action against these losers and keep your eyes peeled for anything illegal, like when one of these drunks gets into their car and drives away. Get the tag numbers and call it in.
neighbor h8r says
Sleepless teacher: You have awakened the 4% of the populace who are sociopaths, the brain-defective individuals who are unable (and unwilling) to put themselves into someone else’s shoes. While they constitute about the same percentage of society as anorexics, we hear nothing about these dangerous individuals as a psychological group. They exist in all walks of life and cause much distress to those who are their victims. They keep law enforcemnet busy, make life stressful at work and create unrest in the community. They enjoy controlling others through head games while maintaining an appearance of innocence so their targetted victim looks crazy. Your empathy-deficient neighbor is depriving you of enjoyment of your own home by determining when you can and cannot sleep. He will never change, so you are obligated to move. Rembember, 4% of the population is sociopathic and many of them wind up in politics where they control others by making laws. It is no surprise that the laws do not protect innocent people who are disinterested in playing tough head games through the legal system. Identifying and avoiding conscience-free misanthropes one at a time is about all you can do.
You Are Rude says
Hi “Neighbor H8r,”
Based on your babbling nonsense I would have to say that YOU are the one who is of questionable mental stability. In the course of about 5 to 6 sentences you went from raving about sociopaths and anorexics to ranting about political oppression through sociopathic laws. Weird. Do you even know the people in question? Doubtful. Yet you are so quick to pass judgement. It seems that you are hot-headed, prone to angry knee-jerk reactions and, well, possibly a sociopath. Take a Xanax, take a step back, and think to yourself: “Hmm, maybe I’m not getting the full story here. Maybe not everything people post on the internet is true. Maybe this lady is a bit hyper-sensitive and is exaggerating the nature of the situation.”
To even suggest that the young man in question is a sociopath, enjoys playing mind games, lacks empathy, and even targets victims is just ludicrous. I know the guy. You don’t. He displays none of the qualities you so forcefully attribute to him. I find your insults extremely egregious and out-of-place.
Boogie Picka n' Eater says
Please let me know what neighborhood this is. Even the Honey Badger wouldnt want to to move into this neighborhood. Boogie Picka dont care but Boogie Picka also aint moving into this hood. You all are trashing each otha while im trying to eat my honey.
Good lord GET A LIFE LADY! They aren’t breaking a single law and it sounds like a normal get together amongst people who have a Social life. Something you are obviously lacking. Quit judging and start living a little JESUS!
j johnson says
Yeah, puking over the fence is normal. Maybe for a frat house.
Hangover part 4, Forest Hill Edition says
I want to hang out at this house, PARTY! Isnt puke a fertilizer similar to miracle grow? Maybe these people are helping you and you lawn in the long run.
j johnson says
puke & urine are weed killers. Feces is fertilizer. Remember that teh next time you’re landscaping.
quick reaction says
omg, is that puke?
Hangover part 4, Forest Hill Edition says
Yeah cant remember what happened last night maybe things will start coming back. This was supposed to be the perfect frat party. I woke up on the roof lying on a matress with Mike Tyson yelling at me and and a church organ playing in the background. Thats all I remember so far.
Ask to see the video. It’s all there. By the way, did that mattress have a funny odor?
The only crime committed has been by the author of this letter. I hope the poor young man in this letter has consulted an attorney. By definition…
The action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation.
Fried Pickle says
When did the author of this letter ever use the homeowners name. They simply sent a letter to the editor asking for advice. The slander thing is a longshot, but everyone thinks there a lawyer, including you Michelle.
Hey Fred she cited her name and information about his identity. It’s 2013. Publi record would let this trickle right to his bosses desk for something fabricated and so outrageous. She needs to lighten up she has no idea what a bad neighbor is.
Marc Eaton says
I don’t see any reason you would not be able to go and file charges against this person with the District Court Commissioner. Do you have video evidence of this? You should also contact an attorney. If the first warning was issued by the police and they came back on the second call the owner should have been arrested or cited with a criminal citation. We did this in Abingdon years ago and it took care of the problem. Things may have changed in the ten years I have been retired, but I don’t think for a second they changed this much. Disorderly conduct probably is still the same. Don’t judge all the police by the actions of a few. We had guys in my day that were 7-11 cops to.
Mr Wickwire says
Marc I agree with you the problem is not cops that dont care as much as a patrol division that is understaffed. The reason is the Sheriff but I clearly know you already know that. Bane is all about politics and votes, if this woman donated money to Banes campaign fund she would be on the top priority, trust me .
Lenny Lane says
Mr Wickwire: Your solution is brilliant. Jesse is gearing up for his re-election campaign, so Mrs. Fetters, if you throw a benjamin or two his way, he’ll move you to the top of the list and you too can have a deputy sit in your driveway for 8 hours, just like Retired DFC Marc Eaton did.
Marc Eaton says
I forgot to add this. Call Sheriff L J Bane and ask to speak to him about this. He has resources available for just this type of incident. You pay taxes and he works for you. I sat in a mans driveway one night for 8 hours on overtime when Sheriff Bane was second in command with Sheriff Mele. I was helping the S.C.A.T team (Sheriff’s Crime Abatement Team) work on a complaint of people driving cars in his front yard and damaging his grass. He was in charge of this unit back then, if he would do that for damaged grass I am sure he would work something out in this case. Your right to be concerned with the fire pit and a bunch of drunks feeding the fire in a townhouse community. I hope it will not take a row of homes burning down before action is taken.
Mr Wickwire says
Well at least its good to hear that things have not changed with Jesse Bane. I never worked with you but he is the same old guy now. He probably wont remember that, he has trouble remembering things that happened this week. You mean to tell me that Bane couldn’t handle his own and make an arrest on someone damaging his own property. Sad but I did a casesearch of how many arrest he has made and I cant find one. That makes sense of why he is so out of touch. As for you Marc I also did a casesearch and you were a true cop, your arrest record speaks for itself. Wish I had a chance to work with you and thanks for standing up for the rest of us brother!
Disappointed Neighbor says
I was going to stay out of this but I cannot allow these false accusations to even remotely have a chance to defame my character or ruin my reputation. There are two sides to every story and you all are completely forgetting that fact.
Nowhere does she mention the issues I deal with. Such as, running a business out of her home teaching children how to play a saxophone or keyboard. Or how the parents of said children occupy the parking lot in front of my house. She won’t mention that and I WON’T COMPLAIN EITHER. She has a life. And I have mine. They are different but I completely respect and honor her life no matter how it inconveniences me. I firmly believe in “live/let live” and do NOT occupy my spare time with her business.
There have been a couple of unfortunate events that have occurred when spending time with my family and friends at my house. I apologized for any misfortune and I did my best to remedy the situation. Apparently I didn’t do enough.
The suggestion to have a police officer sit outside my house is by far the most egregious piece of advice I have seen on here. Hell even the suggestion to have Drano bombs thrown in my yard made more sense. Have a police officer watch my house like I am a criminal? Are you serious? Every police officer that has visited my house has been very apologetic and kind. I didn’t think it was possible for so many police officers to apologize for inconveniencing an individual.
Do you folks think that if there was ANY issue at all with what was going on, I would have gotten a citation or been fined?!? At least once?!? It is because I AM NOT DOING ANYTHING WRONG! I am not disturbing my neighborhood. I am not blasting music. Just a few people outside, having a conversation over a cigarette. I do not smoke regularly and won’t allow it in my house. I always invite EVERY police officer inside to which he/she sees nothing more than a card game, Nintendo Wii, or some other activity with music in the background. The last officer that came to my house several months ago (if not more) said that he would make sure they didn’t bother me again for this type of issue. And they haven’t.
I refuse to issue apologies for having my friends and family over. In the past year I have realized that life is too short to not spend it with the ones that you care about. And I will be damned if someone denies me that right. I am a great member of the community and actively participate in various fundraisers and charity events. I have a great career and have worked to damn hard to accomplish what I have for myself.
I just wish she would text me. Or call me. Or knock on my door. Hell, she can even have her husband Joe text me. They used to text me and I have made efforts to quiet my guests. I don’t recall a time where she had to tell me twice. More recently, she talks to my guests like they are children and expects results. I am sorry you do not speak to adults in their late 20s/early 30s like that.
I am not a stupid “kid”. I have contacted an attorney. I am actively reviewing every letter of every HOA document that has been signed by every member of this community. I have legal insurance and I have the ability to pay to have my name cleared. I have not done anything wrong and I will not allow these fallacies to continue.
And here I will save you a Google search. My name is Chris Wilhelm.
More like “Thrillhelm.”
Dave<==== Waves at Chris!
Hope your Dad's feeling better soon!
Not a good idea to give Google a search phrase my friend. Good luck with your request to have this ridiculous letter removed.
I respect everyone’s opinion and how they live their life which is why this article is so upsetting. I just recently moved into the house that Mrs. Fetters is referencing and having been in a fraternity in college I can accurately say this house is nothing of the sort. The fact that Mrs. Fetters talks about how we are disrespectful, bad people yet she has never taken the time to even have a casual conversation with us says a lot to me.
The homeowner is a great friend of mine and one of the most caring people I know. He takes tremendous care of the place and is always trying to make others around him comfortable. Also Mrs. Fetters has no idea the circumstances surrounding the myself and another person moving in with the homeowner and this is probably because she just assumed a certain thing instead of asking.
The three of us work full time jobs for very reputable companies and are focused in furthering our careers. We word hard and relax during the week. Just as we respect Mrs.Fetters living her life a certain way, she should respect our right to have friends over on the weekend. This past weekend we had a gathering of friends and family and by no means was it the “drunken vomiting urination fest” that she described it as. In fact my 2 year old niece was here and a couple of other people brought their young children. Why would parents subject there children to this is it was so out of control? Probably because it wasn’t.
As far as the noise and having to wake up early I can understand the request or quietness especially if someone needs to wake up early but are we just supposed to “assume” a neighbor is going to bed early? If a neighbor expresses that we may be too loud we will gladly oblige and move everything inside and downstairs. I wake up just as early if not earlier than Mrs. Fetters every day and I can hear very little noise from the bedroom on the top floor of the house to the basement. If it doesn’t wake me up then how could it possibly wake up someone in a completely different house?
We consider ourselves blessed to have a such a great group of family and friends and to have good careers. We have a right to enjoy ourselves on the week and do so, but we do so respectfully without injury or harm to anyone else or their property.
Honestly, I am offended that we are being viewed in this light. Our age has nothing to do with the quality of our character, so please don’t paint us in the “Evil young guys” light especially since you have not taken the time to even have a conversation with us let a lone find out anything about us, what we do work etc.
Seems to me we are handling ourselves with the class and respect you say we lack.
Why makes you believe Ms Fetters is talking about you?
Fellow Neighbor says
@Dodson did the fact that the household got several warnings from the police wake you up or do you not care about the police? “she has never taken the time to even have a casual conversation with us says a lot to me”, do you blame her? You do have the right to enjoy yourselves but your neighbors even if only one have the right to live a quiet life during late hours. Disturbing the peace is clear and if Mrs. Fetters is being truthful then you are in violation of the law. You want to party buy a big farm house on a few acres and do what you want.
“warnings” from the police.
Hmm. What code is this listed under? You *almost* broke a law?
A warning is what they tell the complainant they did to shut them up.
Can we see a written copy of such a “warning”?
They were not warnings. No formal citation or warning was EVER issued. The police came because they were called, likely because of exaggerations by the caller. Each time the police were called (and this is over the course of several years), they were invited in to inspect the situation for any illegal activity. No such activity ever takes place, has ever taken place, or ever will take place. The police apologized and left without incident.
It’s not required to have a “big farm” to have friends over. By your logic, if Mrs. Fetters wants constant, uninterrupted, boring peace and quiet, she can be the one to go “buy a big farm” and live in solitude. Otherwise, occasional noise is part and parcel of living in such close proximity to others.
Lynard Skynard says
To make a comment, I’ve had the police called on a party of mine twice in one night and was never arrested or cited. That is inaccurate as far as my experience with noise complaints. Secondly, this person has one neighbor on one side and an empty house on the other. His backyard faces directly at another home not even 30 feet away. Now can someone please explain to me why those people have yet to complain to the homeowner or call the local authorities.
Oh, wait thats right, because no one is being overly noisy or inconsiderate of the neighbors. The Fetters clearly are just not happy people to begin with. I apologize but if you can’t confront the people more then 1 time about noise or “frat house parties” then you are the one with the issue. Hopefully these neighbors can put this mess aside. We’re all civil and this can be fixed
This article isn't worthy of its title says
When I saw the headline “I Have Really Horrible Neighbors and I Need Your Help,” I could only imagine all the atrocities that some poor Harford County resident was suffering from. What, oh what, could be so appalling as to warrant this outcry for assistance?
My mind ran wild. Before reading the letter, I thought of all the acts that could deem one a “horrible neighbor”: They never, ever cut the grass and allowed weeds to run rampant. They sideswiped your car and didn’t leave a note. They did the old ring-and-run with a bag of flaming feces. They stole the vegetables in your garden. They murdered your puppy.
But what I found was a petty, self-indulgent rant about offenses that are, at worst, a mundane problem found in communities everywhere. Noise. Partying. Errant trash. Parking.
Mrs. Fetters, shaming someone in a court of public opinion without first exhausting every resource to resolve the situation amicably is not only ill-advised, but kind of awful. (Did you ask the man and his wife to chat with you about some guidelines that could make both of your families happy? Did you write him a letter explaining your concerns and outlining your requests? Based on this letter, it sounds like no, you did not.) These are simple problems that can be fixed with simple solutions.
I’m officially bored. Dagger, find something newsworthy to report.
I personally know one of the founders of The Dagger (BG), and Christopher. I would like to report that The Dagger posts any interesting news that comes its way, which began with the letter of distress from The Fetters. Listen…The Dagger is an open forum, and all voices may be heard and posted (freedom of speech), some of which were nasty and got a bit out of hand, I do admit. Please, people. Let the two neighbors work this out among themselves and stop putting in your nasty 2-cents that make little or no sense. Stop the bashing and stop the hate. There is a clash of personalities here. Its as simple as that. Christopher likes to unwind and relax differently than the Fetters. He’s been through a LOT these past 2 years, and needs to relax and be with his friends and family. The Fetters, it seems to me, are quiet, more reserved, and should think about relocating to an acre lot. Look, can’t we all just get along? The two should quietly, respectfully, work this out among themselves. Christopher has been accused of no wrong doing. And Mrs. Fetter: you should have simply picked up the phone, or knocked on his door, like the better neighbor you claim to be.
Signed: Janice Redmond, paraLEGAL to a very fine attorney, Christopher’s 2nd Mom, and aunt to BG of The Dagger.
Maybe your friend should move to a two acre lot.
eye roll says
The fence is six foot tall. Some tried really hard to puke over it.
eye roll says
There is no assigned parking but if you have more than two car, the others are required by hoa to park in overflow parking.
The Money Tree says
Whatever Christopher “has been through” is of no relevance if he’s routinely disturbing the peace. Granted I’m not there and have no idea how often it’s happened but nobody has said and Christopher hasn’t refuted the fact that one of his guests hung over the fence and puked in the neighbors yard. He says he “tries” to get his guests to be quieter – but honestly trying isn’t good enough. You either make sure you have guests who understand you have neighbors right on the other side of the wall who work and have to get up early or you don’t invite those sorts of guests over during the week. Nobody expects people to have to whisper all the time…but even having a bunch of people drinking beer and smoking cigarettes outside on a deck means that the neighbors can’t sleep – voices travel.
Money Tree Is Annoying says
Money Tree — None of this is happening during the week! It’s all on a Friday or Saturday night. And someone threw up ONE TIME years ago and it’s never happened again! This woman is making this situation sound so much worse than it really is – stop believing and defending her nonsense when you clearly have no idea who these people are or what is really going on at these houses!
The Money Tree says
Is it mature to react like that to even a hint of criticism – kind of makes one suspicious of how you might react should Mrs. Fetter have complained.
You should petition the local government to make all this activity illegal….just so you could have a leg to stand on in this argument.
Mrs Fetters is sounding more and more like Mrs. Kravitz from Bewitched.
Glad you could help 🙂
Dissappointed Neighbor says
Routinely disturbing the peace? Have you not read any of the other posts in my defense? I have not been fined or charged by any law enforcement or the HOA of such farcical claims. Think about it. There is a reason these agencies are not supporting her.
Rather you are choosing to believe the exaggerated and convoluted ramblings of a woman who has it out for me. Her deplorable reputation was brought to my attention before I even moved into the house. It has now gotten to the point where she has put enough information about me to publicly persecute me on these message boards in a last ditch effort to garner support. And somehow, people on here believe that I am the enemy in this situation…
She paints a picture of some alcoholic frat brother that cares nothing about the community he is a part of and he maintains his property like a frat house covered in red solo cups, passed out pledges, and trash strewn throughout the yard like confetti. The only thing trait that I share with a fraternity is that I am Greek. Meet me face to face and give me five minutes of your time. Then let me know if you think that I am the person she describes.
And since the whole ONE TIME puking accident that occurred OVER THREE years ago seems to get so much attention, I feel like I should give a little bit more color to the story. It was a former roommate’s guest. My former roommate went next door, apologized, and cleaned it up. The “puker” has not been to my house since. And it never happened again. End of story. Sorry it happened. Truly am and I was happy to hear that it was resolved at the time.
While I am at it, maybe I should also add that the “fire pit” was purchased at Target and can barely hold a log or two. Hardly the campfire she describes that was located 5 feet from her house.
Disappointed Neighbor says
I apologize for any typos in my previous post. It is not easy to type while this upset and frustrated.
I suspect the other posts in your defense are simply the many people that come join you in your unbridled revelry, or a few that are sufficiently tech savvy to game the Dagger to make it look and sound like you have more people on your side. It’s not new. It’s old, and the fact I find myself repulsed by some of these posts from you or your “Friends”, it’s probably an indication they share the same author, or a select few people with issues with maturity. Whatever your personal problem is that causes you to want to “Unwind”, I’m sure other people find other ways of handling it without irritating their neighbors.
The Money Tree says
We didn’t know who you were until someone who supposedly supports you used your name. There are systems in place outside of the legal system that might help the two of you find some common ground and coping activities. There are conflict resolution professionals, mitigators who will attempt to facilitate a compromise. Since it doesn’t seem like either of you is interested in moving you both must find a way to resolve the issue otherwise it’ll end up being miserable for everyone. There’s a Harford County Mediation Program through the county – might be a fee but I would think it would be a positive step forward. Approach Mrs. Fetters and ask her to go with you.
Disappointed Neighbor says
You can easily identify me using the details in her letter. Not difficult in the least bit. As for the resolution of this matter, I am requesting that this letter be taken down to start. I understand her right to peace and I will respect that. However the facts portrayed are grossly misleading and have me deeply concerned. I will be reaching out to her in the coming days to resolve this issue privately, like the way it should have been handled in the first place.
I appreciate that the Dagger functions like a virtual community bulletin board that allows members of the community to gather and discuss issues that impact them. That’s great. And I appreciate your comments about the comments (open, free, respectful, etc)
But I disagree that this is “interesting news”, and the Dagger can’t just indiscriminately post anything that comes its way and wash their hands of it. This was ill-advised, in my opinion, and that decision is absolutely open to question and criticism. There was no redeeming public value in posting this.
If I wanted to get more cynical, I’d argue that this publication, like others over time, have been more about generating interesting comments and getting lots of page views and clicks for the advertisers than anything else.
And that’s contrary to what I understand the Dagger to be, which was a different kind of local news.
Jaguar Judy says
Thanks, Noble. I agree. On this one I feel like I am somehow involved in a private squabble that has no place in a public forum. I feel sorry for Ms. Fetters and am dismayed to see that nothing has been done to resolve the situation but in my opinion it has no place on The Dagger.
MOTHER TRUCKING SNAKES ON A PLANE says
The 2008 film Lakeview Terrace starring Samuel L Jackson portays what a “HORRIBLE NEIGHBOR” is like.
Fetter (n.) — a chain or shackle for the feet; something that confines
(v.) — to restrain from motion, action, or progress
Just so you know. There is a noise ordinance in Harford County that states in so many words you have to quiet down after 11pm and turn music down. I am sure this is also for loud partying. I say call the cops even if it is 1 min past 11 every time they do it, and make sure to video tape the behavior and get them for littering, or indecent exposure or whatever you can, and then show the cops. Make sure you get the cops names and badges, remember you pay them to keep the peace.
If that does not work file a monetary law suit against them for their actions. If you tape from your property you can use that in court, so hope it all works out. You should sue the homeowners association as well, or at least threaten them at first to sue. Maybe then they will start paying attention to the fact that you pay homeowner fees for a reason.
You could also protest right in front of their house on the sidewalk, and scream and yell real early in the morning for them to wake up from their drunken or drugged sleep. That will annoy the hell out of em. GLTU
Hey, WithCha. I’m only going to say this one more time, so please listen.
Are you listening?
Okay, here goes: you can’t sue without damages. You can’t sue just to prove a point. You can’t sue because you are annoyed. To sue is to involve the law to recoup some kind of monetary damages. There is not a judge in the world which would hear a case as frivolous as “My neighbor plays music too loud once every six weeks and I’m slightly inconvenienced and boo hoo please someone listen to me.” You have to be able to PROVE that the actions in question have caused some kind of damages which can be pursued by law.
You sound like a middle schooler. Oh you insulted me? I’ll sue. You looked at me funny? Sue. Not how it works. The ignorance of even basic law here astounds me.
And protest outside their house? Make noise? Are you actually a middle schooler? This is the dumbest suggestion on this thread by far, and that’s saying something. Everyone here is now dumber for having read it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
Paul Mc says
You can sue for just about anything, however, in order to win in a tort action, you must prove damages.
For this particular situation, the action would be for a private nuisance, with the damages being for loss of use and enjoyment of their property. (I am not saying this occurred, just saying that should it have occurred, this is what the suit would be for).
Playing music too loud can be an actionable offense. The case of Gordon v. Sabo, 210 Md. 155, states “if noise causes physical discomfort and annoyance to those of ordinary sensibilities, tastes, and habits, and seriously interferes with the ordinary comfort and enjoyment of their home, and thus diminishes the value or the use of their property rights, it constitutes a private nuisance.”
Typically, in this type of situation, the frequency of the occurrence would come into question. It is doubtful that if this were a one time, or even a rare occurrence, would a court award damages to the plaintiff. However, the more frequent the action, the more the likelihood damages being awarded. Also, the suit could be for something other than monetary damages, such as an injunction to prevent the offending party to perform the action again.
Again, I am not saying anything occurred here; I have no idea. It sounds to me like the neighbors should simply sit down and discuss their differences and work something out.
What the hermit says
Probably not a good idea for some people to live next to a farm, animals make noises all night long, fields routinely smell like shit, roads are routinely muddy from tractors.
Private Idaho says
A quick search show that Elizabeth is a very accomplished musician. I would bet she subjected her parent’s neighbors to years of practicing. Often the same song. Over, and over, and over & um yeah, over. She may be a great teacher but I wonder how many kids she has sent practicing all day next to neighbors that do not enjoy the sounds of a fledgling instrumentalist. I used to live above a woman that would complain if we walked in the kitchen or even flushed the toilet after 10pm but she would cook the nastiest smelling food and foul the entire building and think nothing of it. Some on-line reviews of Elizabeth say she’s brilliant while others say she’s less than pleasant. Everyone has their own perspective and it never hurts to try on a different one. Publishing a letter like this shows a laps in judgement or maybe a very poor suggestion from a “friend.” It makes you sound more disapproving than disturbed and will come up under a search for your name forever. I’d suggest making a plea to the Dagger to remove it and try a try a more introspective approach.
The Money Tree says
Link to the program:
I am homeowner who owns the fire pit which this individual is probably referring and attempting to compare his late night parties with. It is outrageous to compare my family and friend event with those of yours, that tend to get louder and “drunker” as the night goes on. Yes, it is obvious in our community that you give the impression of immaturity and lack of respect to your follow neighbors. Fellowshipping with friends and family is great and fulfilling, but I implore to you to refrain from the drunkenness and language that tends to happen more often then you probably realize. All please understand that this is only what I observe from them and do not attempt to understand these neighbors relationship.
Disappointed Neighbor says
As this is the first time I have heard of additional impact to anyone else in the neighborhood, I implore you speak to me when the things you speak of are taking place. Without speaking to me directly or notifying me of the issue, I can not do anything to correct the problem. You know where I live. Feel free to stop by. I am lot more mature than you are being led to believe. I of course, would have preferred if you reached out to me privately, rather than a public message board such as this.
Luther Lingus says
Hey Disappointed –
Instead of waiting for everyone to come to you, why don’t you reach out to them? I would speculate that many of your neighbors would not want to come walking up to your door on a Friday or Saturday night while you and your friends are having a party. Maybe the fact that other neighbors of yours have not brought this to your attention is out of respect for you and they don’t want to “cry wolf” every time you have a gathering. Maybe now that the “cat is out of the bag” you may find that additional neighbors ARE affected by your behavior. How would you know if your behavior effects your neighbors unless you ask them?
I don’t know you personally but it seems like the more reasonable approach would be to actually talk to your neighbors and ask them if your gatherings are too loud, too late, too offensive, etc. If you want respect as a young professional then take the high road and respect your neighbors just as you would want them to respect you. You will not be mid 20’s you whole life and one day you will grow older with possibly a wife and some children. Imagine yourself 20-30 years from now in your same home with guys exactly like you and your friends as neighbors and see how you would feel the same way as you do now. Just like you have worked hard to purchase your home, you have earned the right to have friends and family over to wash down the troubles of the week past but keep in mind that your neighbors have worked just as hard to purchase their home and they have the right not to be located next to a bar with loud patrons that won’t retire at a reasonable hour.
Some neighbors are completely unreasonable and you could never please them but the fact that you assume just because you haven’t been charged or arrested that you are not doing anything wrong. You may be correct in that you are not violating the law but having a healthy relationship with neighbors you respect and who respect you makes life much easier.
Good luck –
Paul Mc says
Wouldn’t the more reasonable approach be for the person that believes there to be a problem approach the person that doesn’t believe there to be a problem? How was Neighbor supposed to know of an issue if no one tells him there is one.
eye roll says
Mrs. Fetters has approached him to no avail.
Well said. Who would want to approach a group of loud drunken people? I would find that intimidating. Being a good neighbor is more than not breaking any laws. Not breaking any laws is great but it is the bare minimum. We should all try to step it up and be thoughtful of others. Then maybe it wouldn’t drive you neighbors to cry out for help in a public forum. Go say Hi and shake hands with them.
We all make mistakes. It doesn’t make you evil. It makes you human. Just work on them.
Some people mature more quickly than other. Patience should be give to the party house.
If he’s over 21, and owning or renting a house, he should be sufficiently matured to learn to live within society and his little part of Harford County. Maturity is needed in the party house. Patience has obviously run its course without improvement.
quick reaction says
you’re all idiots!
I hope the party house can come to some sort of peace with the neighbors who have chimed in. Life’s too short. Don’t try to push the limits of HOA or the law. Just be respectful of others. Best Wishes to all involved.
Gold Peak Tea Guy says
Everyone should just sit down and sort this out over some delicious Gold Peak Tea .
Gold Peak Tea Drinker says
Gold Peak Tea fun fact – Past formulations of the product have won ChefsBest awards when it was made from tea leaves from the Kenyan Rift Valley.
Hee Haw says
Quick Reaction , you are correct. I have followed this from the beginning, so funny no one noticed from the article the author said “we like to cook, and we like wine” maybe they had a party next door and she had wine and let her fingers do the walking.
I also live across the street from this young man. I am also middle aged and have small children. They are always parked in my spots and ignore notes i have left about not doing this. I agree with mrs.fetters that there are always drunks stumbling out of this house. It needs to be to an end.
OK, provided you have exhausted all “normal” communication avenues, the mutual respect train has left the station, and you’ve tried all the tactful approaches, try this: Go for a walk now and then and jot down the license plate numbers and car models/colors of those “regulars” who choose to keep showing up, urinating on the lawn, yelling and screaming at all hours, etc. Next time you run across a Sheriff’s Deputy (try 8:00 am most days, 7-11 on Baltimore Pike, next to La Tolteca), give them a COPY of the list and explore the feasibility of an appointment to drop by the neighborhood on one of the “regular” party nights. In their preparation, perhaps they might check the tag numbers for violations and the drivers for outstanding warrants for starters; this would give them further cause to wait for (on that little side street down the road), pull over, and search these individuals after they get in their cars to leave your immediate neighborhood. Surprise, Surprise, well, look what we have here! Drugs and a DUI to boot.
You’ll get the results you want and your neighbors will be thanking “someone” for prayers answered. And you’ll rest well from your calm, cool approach to solving age-old problems of this nature. ; ) Good Luck!