How do I handle a rude neighbor?

55 Replies

Hi BP team I have an empty rental property that I am currently rehabbing. I went to the house today to replace a ceiling fan and the neighbor was parked in my driveway and I couldn’t get in. I went to the front door and asked if they could please move so I can get in my garage. They didn’t open the door but said through it “ok”. 45 minutes later their car was still in my driveway. Now, I don’t want to make this person mad because they will end up ultimately taking it out on my new tenant. I wanted to go knock again and sternly ask that they do what I asked. I mean, it’s my driveway! But I was already leaving so I decided to file a complaint with the HOA instead. I haven’t submitted the complaint yet because I wanted to get some advice from you guys. I don’t want this person to think they can walk all over me from now on, but I want to be nice. Any help on how to go about resolving this rude neighbor issue would be great.

Communication is key.
I would knock on the door and just be extremely straightforward. I would say something along the line of “I wanted to speak with you and let you know that I am going to rent the property and that I have no intention of selling it anytime soon. For us to have any issues is unproductive and unnecessary. I would appreciate it if you showed my property and I respect. My future tenant and I will do the same for you.”

Is the neighbour the owner or a tenant? Talk to the owner.

“Hi there, I’m _____ your next door neighbour. Just wanted to let you know I’ll need the driveway left accessible for myself or my tenants in the future. Not even sure you knew that spot right over there wasn’t yours! Anyway, mistakes happen, I’m sure you understand where I’m coming from and it won’t happen again. Take care. Bye.”

Done

Don’t start off with a complaint. If all you got was “ok”... that’s not a conversation.

I wouldn't go to the homeowners assn. I would talk to the next door neighbor again. Introduce yourself and find a common ground before attacking. It is rude but there may be a good reason. I have been in HOA's and it won't end well because you are introducing a renter into the hood which they don't like anyway. Most people will be reasonable if you approach them as a friend rather than an opponent. Good luck.

You waited 45 minutes???

I would have waited about 30 seconds before having it towed.

Thanks for the feedback @Max Cohen . I definitely don’t want them to think they can just do what they please on my property. It’s a C+ neighborhood, so I have to be careful how I present myself in the situation, as retaliation is likely.

Knock , knock , Knock    is that you car in my driveway ?   Yes ?   Good I need you to move It ?  What , you dont want to move it ?      As I look over at my helper , HOOK UP THE CHAIN AND DRAG THAT POS DOWN THE ROAD .    

Oh , thanks for seeing it my way , nice meeting you 

@Account Closed Thanks for the advice! The street is individual homes, so the chance that they didn’t know that driveway was mine is zero. It’s a single family home. The conversation was “knock knock knock...........knock knock knock.”

“Who is it?” *door still closed*
“You’re neighbor”
“Can I help you?”
“Yes can you please move you’re truck from my driveway, I need to get in my garage.”
“Ok.”

Adequate conversation, yet 45 minutes later of replacing a ceiling fan and cleaning some stuff- no truck moved. I have met the person before and introduced myself as the new homeowner. I just think they were calling my bluff that I wouldn’t do anything. I think I’ll have another conversation with them, and if it doesn’t go well, the HOA will be contacted.

Thanks again for the help!

But also keep in mind that in a C neighborhood, having a car in your driveway may keep a break-in from happening. 

I would go to the neighbor again and say that you'd be happy to let him park his guy in the driveway at night, as long as he has it moved by 8am .....until you have a tenant living there. 

That way you're giving him something and he's really helping you out as well. 

Updated 9 months ago

"...his car"

Sounds fair.

I’ve said it before: there’s a continuum from Ned Flanders to Tony Soprano, begin accordingly,

Sounds like this is a tenant. If you do some quick research , ask the Hoa President or check tax records, you can find the owner and go to him. The tenants have zero incentive to help you out , so honestly if they are blocking your drive , just tow them.

@Joe Pitrolo great point. It does sound like this is more of a tenant than an owner. I’ll do more research. This is why I love BP!

I do not think the HOA will do anything. it isn't their problem and is a waste of their time to deal with matters like this. If it happens again, tell them to move it immediately and that it will be towed next time you see it. If it happens again, get it towed. It is as simple as that.

I just got home from dealing with parking issues at one of my rentals in an HOA. Here are the two things I would do if I were in your shoes.
1. Send an email with a time stamped picture to the HOA just for reference (no action necessary) but just Incase it becomes an issue, you will have a point of reference or references.

2. Have a gentle but firm conversation with the neighbor, let them know what you intend to do with the property, what your expectations are of him and what his expectations can be of you (even if it’s just about parking).

Hopefully this two steps will go a long way to resolve any future issues that are similar to this.

All the best.

c neighborhood and they don’t open the door

I too would be concened 

Are you over at your house working alone I would be concerned 

There is courteous, and then there is ridiculous.  Waiting 45 minutes for someone to correct an error on their part is crazy!

I agree with many who have already said...Identify that the car is theirs, request that it be moved.  Give them 10 mins or so to comply, then call the tow truck.  If you're feeling generous, go back over and let them know that the tow truck is on the way.

The HOA will send a letter to the owner, which would give them 10 days to comply before imposing a fine. I hope you weren't thinking that you would wait that long. lol

I wouldn’t wait 45 minutes no even for my mom.

"Hey, can you move your car?"

Car not moved. 15 mins later...

"Hi, Lincoln Towning? Yea can you have a driver come by with a towing agreement and a sign to post on the property, someone is parked here on my property and hasn't moved, they aren't authorized and I just need the car gone."

It'll be towed within an hour here.

C Neighborhood.  Probably tenant.

It's possible the car did not belong to the neighbor, but belonged to a friend who was not home.  I would have another conversation and be straightforward without necessarily being stern.  Just say "It was okay to park here before, but not any more."

A few years ago, I bought a house that had been vacant for at least 6 years.  One of the neighbors had more or less claimed the house and yard and driveway as extensions of their house.  Their kids and grandkids played in my property's backyard.  Their teenage and adult children entertained guests on my property's front porch.  He chained his dogs in my properties back and front yard.  And they regularly parked cars in my property's driveway.  It took more than one conversation, but eventually, we came to an agreement -- their property is their property, and my property is my property.

In another situation in a small town 30 miles away, a similar problem cropped up a decade ago. My grandmother owned a large corner lot with no house on it. The neighbors asked if they could use it occasionally the lot for cookouts, birthday parties, etc in exchange for them mowing the lawn and doing yard work. We agreed. It was a good arrangement, all the way to the end, years later, when the neighbors ended up buying the lot from us at FMV.

It's not necessarily a bad thing for a neighbor to begin using the yard of a vacant property.  Heck, in lower income neighborhoods, it may even protect the property somewhat.

I think in this case, @Courtney Hebert , you two just got off on the wrong foot.  Before moving to tow, just knock again.  Before you visit, print out a letter that explains you don't wish for them to park in your driveway.  If they don't answer the door when you knock, tape the letter to the door.  I think it's always better to attempt better communication rather than move to the TOW card too fast.

I also always ask myself: If this were a B neighborhood, would I be so quick to resort to towing the car?  Or would I try communication again?

Sounds like they are doing a better job of handling you than you are of handling them. 

You need to size up who you are and what you can do, as well as what you must do. If what you must do is not what you can do, you have an issue.

Your entire problem is a lack of assertiveness. You could handle this in different ways, but all of them require assertiveness. Michaela G is a really nice person who likes to paint rainbows everywhere she goes. Its beautiful really and something I admire. Thing is, she is also assertive and likely would not have needed to come on to a forum and ask for advice on an issue like this like you have. See what I mean? Her advice might sound great, but if not handled the right way, could cause more problems. I would advise you don't let these people park on your property for any reason ever. You don't have the people skills to pull it off and therefore, need a different strategy. I would advise a hands-off strategy, because you lack the desire or ability to confront. Your neighbors are child-bullies, and I would treat them as such. Strike one. Strike two. Punishment. If you let people walk all over you, they often will walk all over you. Heck, they might even think you like it. People are jerks.

Knock knock. Hi. Is that your car in my driveway? Does it run? I need it moved. Yes, right now. Please do not park in my driveway again. Thanks.

5 Minutes later

Knock Knock. Hi. Is there a problem? Are you going to move the car? Ill call for the tow, but I will also be sending you the bill.

5 Minutes later.

No knock. Just call the tow company and the cops, file any tresapass/dumping/whatever charge you can. Send them the tow bill.

While our world would be a whole lot better if we all gave respect, occasionally you must command it.

If you really need to worry about retaliation because the neighborhood is that bad, you have more problems than just the one neighbor. Cameras. Motion Lights. Fencing. That stuff helps.

Insure your property for vandalism/theft.

Never leave your tools.

Try not to leave uninstalled house parts.

Get it rented.

Hire a property management company if you must.

Good luck and be brave.

@Courtney Hebert I disagree with contacting the HOA. It is a waste of your time. I am just curious why you didn't go back up to their door after 15 minutes to talk to them again? It sounds like you are not an assertive person.

I would have gone back up to the door and said, "Hi, I really need the vehicle moved right now. I don't want you to have to deal with picking up your car from the impound lot, so before I call the towing company I wanted to ask you one more time to please move your truck." 

Have you ever seen signs posted in a parking lot that said "Violators will be towed." It is a simple concept to grasp. When you part illegally on someone elses property, towing is the normal remedy.

Don't be afraid of retaliation from your neighbor. People are either respectful of others or they are not. You will not make them into a better person by being nice to them (be reasonable of course). Anyone who waits 45 minutes to move their car will be a jerk regardless of what you do. The ONLY thing people like that respond to is people standing up to them. 

This guy doesn't even respect you enough to open the door when talking to you. You have a big problem and you better deal with it rather than ignoring it and hoping it will go away if you are nice.

Originally posted by @Courtney Hebert :
Hi BP team

I have an empty rental property that I am currently rehabbing. I went to the house today to replace a ceiling fan and the neighbor was parked in my driveway and I couldn't get in. I went to the front door and asked if they could please move so I can get in my garage. They didn't open the door but said through it "ok". 45 minutes later their car was still in my driveway. Now, I don't want to make this person mad because they will end up ultimately taking it out on my new tenant. I wanted to go knock again and sternly ask that they do what I asked. I mean, it's my driveway! But I was already leaving so I decided to file a complaint with the HOA instead. I haven't submitted the complaint yet because I wanted to get some advice from you guys. I don't want this person to think they can walk all over me from now on, but I want to be nice. Any help on how to go about resolving this rude neighbor issue would be great.

First you can ask him nicely to not park in your driveway. Sometimes this works unless the guy is a inconsiderate d bag which obviously he is. Place a tow away sign with the CVC code and contract a tow company. If he parks there again you can now legally tow him. You should be able to call the HOA and have his car towed. I would also file a complaint with the HOA as soon as possible.

I have a tow away sign on all my rentals and the tow company is very good about towing. 

Originally posted by @Ben Sosa :

I wouldn’t wait 45 minutes no even for my mom.

 LOL. Spoken like a true NYer. FWIW I grew up in Jersey just across the river so I feel you, man. Although I don't think you'd really tow your mom ;)

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