02 August, 2009

The View from Here

Those of you who know me personally know that I describe my neighborhood as "This Old House meets The Hood. I live in This Old House, but The Hood ain't far." Well, The Hood has crept closer.

Last summer, the neighbors with whom I share a driveway moved out and rented their house. They did not go through proper channels and list the property as a rental. Now, I've got mixed feelings about that. On one hand, it's not good that they are thwarting the municipal code, but on the other, I really don't want the house next to me listed as a rental property.

Flash forward to this summer. Some recent photos of house and yard:

What do you think might be getting in here? Varmints and water and bugs, oh my!

The backyard patio at eye level. No, not the eye level of a small child... MY eye level. See the patio furniture? Neither do I.

A "water feature" for your viewing pleasure.

Mowed, but not weed whipped.

How strong are weeds? Because I'm thinking this could be a problem...

Now, I am not the most fastidious homeowner when it comes to either my house or my yard. You will not see me outside measuring the length of my grass, nor will you see me with a scraper and a paintbrush at the first sign of peeling. I understand that people are busy, and sometimes things get away from them. Sometimes it's more important to visit with family or spend a day at the beach with friends than it is to go pull that weed. But I got one thing to say to the people next door.

Uh-uh. No way. This is NOT going to happen. Not in MY neighborhood. Not for long.

I gave them a chance. I spoke with one of the neighbors, very diplomatically. I let her know that I understand that she is renting, but that the yard has to be taken care of by either her or the owner in accordance with the lease agreement. She admitted to not having been in the yard since she moved in (true; they are never outside) and she apologized for it.

Nothing. No weeds pulled. No forward movement on the issue in the next few days. Apparently, she's not very sorry. Either that, or she's really sorry. Depends on how you define sorry.

I also called the owner. She did not answer, so I left a message. She got back to me two weeks later and informed me that she is no longer the owner of the property. Hmmm.

Time to pull out the big guns. I filed a complaint with the city and was very pleased when Code Compliance Dave came out to take a look at the property on Monday. Lest you think that Code Compliance Dave is some little nerdy guy with a buttoned-up-to-the-neck white shirt, glasses, and a clipboard, I assure you that he is not. Tall dude. Jeans, t-shirt, hair in a ponytail. Cool guy, but I would not want to cross him.

Code Compliance Dave was pissed when he saw what was going on. He was even more pissed when he pounded on the door and the neighbors didn't answer, even though they were clearly home because both cars were parked in the driveway and I've never known them to get picked up by friends. And if he wasn't already pissed enough, he was even more pissed when I told him that the owner claims to no longer own the property.

The process has started. Code Compliance Dave went back to his office (yes, he has one, and I admit that doesn't go hand-in-hand with his image) and is sending a letter to the owner to let her know she has ten days to rectify the situation. The house and yard still look the same. Depending on when he sent the letter, she has about five more days.

This Old House will defeat The Hood if Code Compliance Dave and I have anything to say about it. Thank you, City of Lansing, for putting my tax dollars to work for me.

1 comment:

Seona said...

Wow that's awful. I hate it when people have such little respect for their surroundings and themselves for that matter. In fact all the world's problems can be put down to shoddy standards! Hope you get this sorted quickly and painlessly.