How to deal with neighbor's house problems

16 Replies

The building next to the one I own seems to have nobody living in it. Now it has become infested with raccoons and the most massive beehive I've ever seen. This is causing a disturbance to my tennant, as swarms of bees are going through my property. I want the owner to deal with it ASAP, but don't know how to get in contact with them and nobody ever goes in or out of that building. 

Anyone have any suggestions on how I can get this dealt with? Either how to get their contact info, or have the city contact them? I've already looked up the property owner and came to a LLC with no contact info available. I went to City Hall but they just kept sending me to different offices until I gave up

If this is bad enough to effect neighboring properties, it should be a code violation or at the bare minimum, a health and safety issue. have you tried reporting the property?

@Ray S. Start with the board of health and building dept. Hopefully they'll condemn the building and that should get the ball moving quickly to force a cleanup or auction of it

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Thanks. The building dept was my last stop today in being sent office to office on a wild goose chase, but the line was too long to bare, so I'm going to try back tomorrow. They said I could file a complain there, which I plan to try next. 

Are there any ways I could go about getting in touch with the owner if that doesn't work? It's possibly they don't even know what's going on with their property. 

Go to sunbiz.org, entity search.  Put in the name of the llc, it will give you member names and addresses.  If the property is eepssentially abandoned though, they likely don’t care.

For complaints, go the Code Enforcement division....they may or may cure the problem and lien the property for cost/violations.

Code Enforcement.  You can call or submit an online complaint; you're not required to give your name.  Upon receipt, the county will send out the code enforcement officer to inspect that property, contact the owner, follow-up to ensure corrective action, and even pursue legal action/citation if the owner fails to comply.  That's your tax dollars at work!  Take advantage of it and spare yourself any more time/energy on resolving this. 

@Ray S. Your local Craigslist will have several people/companies that advertise free bee hive removal. Call one or several and get the hive removed. Then consider the house next door as a potential profit center for you! If you can contact the LLC /owners make them an offer. Check with your assessor's office to see who (if anyone) has been paying the property taxes.

If no LLC or owner info can be found, and no one is paying the property taxes, talk to all the neighbors, any attorney involved in forming the LLC, and send letters with proof of deliveryto each address of record for the LLC. If you can demonstrate that, to a reasonable person, the property appears to be abandoned. Then start treating it as your own property. There is no trespass on an "abandoned property". And abandonment can be implicit as well as express. In other words, you do not need a documented or recorded statement of an owner's intent to abandon their property. The facts available can by sufficient to show "implicity abandonment". Such as no one present for months or years, no maintenance done for months, no response to all attempts to contact the LLC/owners.

@Ray S. -If the property is truly abandoned, and you do take it over and manage it as your own, you would eventually want to acquire it through the Florida law of Adverse Possession.  That is a seven year process in Florida. https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/adverse-possession-in-the-state-of-florida-statutory-analysis-and-considerations-2169-0170.1000120.php?aid=26083   Be aware that, if anyone with a valid legal claim on the property should eventually show up, "a prospective adverse possessor may be transformed into a trespasser if asked to leave the property by its rightful owner".  Also you would not be entitled to recoup the cost of any improvements you make to the property during the seven year period required to complete an Adverse Possession.   

However, if your diligent research fails to find the LLC/Owners, it is unlikely (possible but unlikely) that owner will suddenly show up after months or years of apparent abandonment. Further, it simple to get tenants to improve the property for you. For example, if you post on Craigslist that you have a property available for half the normal rent because it needs repair, you will have multiple interested parties. I would tell them, that all or most of their (1/2 normal) rent will be used by you to purchase materials needed to make necessary improvements to the property and that the tenant must supply the labor. (that way none of the improvements are paid for by you). Note also that if the owner should suddenly show up, he/she is entitled to all rents received on their property, -less your reasonable and necessary costs of collecting that rent. As a practical matter, it is unlikely that a previously absent owner will seek back rents from you, but it is possible. Thus, when working with property you do not own it is all the more important to document what you are doing and why it was necessary. If you have (or create) a property management company, you can also deduct a standard 10% property management fee.

Rental agreements for a property you do not own can be handled much like any other rental agreement. Just put in a clause saying that the LLC is the legal owner, that the owner(s) of the LLC are currently unavailable and you are managing the property and renting it out month to month for the foreseeable future or until the owner changes the rental.

 during In the meantime you would not b

I found the owners address from the listed LLC. Should I try writing them a letter first or just submit a complaint? I highly doubt the the building is abandoned, but nobody is living there right now. Possibly they are planning to sell or renovate it and it is currently empty.

Always go direct to the owner.   But since the property is a current hazard, there is no reason you can't also submit a complaint at the same time.

Wear a respirator if you ever have to deal with raccoon turds. I have a big piece of land that had a little house filled with raccoons.. i figured id at least rehab the little house for now, but then I read about raccoon roundworm, a common parasite whose eggs are in raccoon turds and can become airborne if you disturb them. If you inhale or ingest the eggs, you can get the parasite in your brain to all sorts of nightmare health problems. 

I was so freaked out by what i read that i just screwed the doors shut and had the building torn down.

I wrote to the owner's LLC a couple weeks ago and filed a complaint. The city went right over and then send them a violation. I haven't heard from the owner and nothing has been done to the hive yet. What happens if the owner doesn't address the complaint from the city? Is there anything I can do?

What a tough situation. You seem to have done everything you can do to address the problem. If the owner still won’t address the problem, is he breaking the laws? You can check with the laws in your state.

I don't believe the properly is abandoned. They still have someone handling the lawn and keeping the property maintained. But nobody has lived there for a while and because they have left such a huge beehive, I'm guessing nobody has visited the property in a while. The hive is inside the house, so I can't have someone come to their property without being able to access the inside of the property. I wrote the LLC for the house but no response. The city sent them a notice to the owner about the bees, but they have not handled it yet. 

Thanks

Originally posted by @Davido Davido:

@Ray S. Your local Craigslist will have several people/companies that advertise free bee hive removal. Call one or several and get the hive removed. Then consider the house next door as a potential profit center for you! If you can contact the LLC /owners make them an offer. Check with your assessor's office to see who (if anyone) has been paying the property taxes.

If no LLC or owner info can be found, and no one is paying the property taxes, talk to all the neighbors, any attorney involved in forming the LLC, and send letters with proof of deliveryto each address of record for the LLC. If you can demonstrate that, to a reasonable person, the property appears to be abandoned. Then start treating it as your own property. There is no trespass on an "abandoned property". And abandonment can be implicit as well as express. In other words, you do not need a documented or recorded statement of an owner's intent to abandon their property. The facts available can by sufficient to show "implicity abandonment". Such as no one present for months or years, no maintenance done for months, no response to all attempts to contact the LLC/owners.

Possibly it is in bank repossession.  Talk to the lawn guy. If it is a smaller company they may know something. Offer to buy it that may get someone to contact you. 

@Ray S., From your original post it appears that ridding the neighbor's property of the bee hive is your primary goal.
"...it has become infested with raccoons and the most massive beehive I've ever seen. This is causing a disturbance to my tennant, as swarms of bees are going through my property. I want the owner to deal with it ASAP, but don't know how to get in contact with them and nobody ever goes in or out of that building. "

So far you've written to the LLC that owns the property, but received no response. And the City has looked at it, sent a notice to the owner, and done nothing further. Working through the city might eventually get the bee hive removed, but sounds like that you are not wanting to wait the weeks or month necessary for them to act. That leaves actual contact with the LLC or handle the matter yourself. If it were me, I'd just remove the Bee Hive. This is how I would do it.

1.  Contact the city building department again. Ask them to remove the "most massive bee hive you've ever seen" as a public safety issue for you, your tenants and other neighbors.  Write down the time, date, person who responds and the substance of your request, as well as the substance of their response.  If they agree to remove the bee hive in short order, then let them handle it.

2.  If the city does not agree to remove the bee-hive.  Take photos of all entrances into the building so that you can prove that either the building is already accessible or so that you can establish when it becomes accessible.  You mention that raccoons and bees are getting into the neighboring building, so clearly it is not a tightly secured building.

2.  If the building is accessible through a door, window or hole, go over and listen carefully at that spot. If your neighbor's building is not accessible wait a few days for someone to make it accessible.  In my experience, someone always breaks into vacant buildings. Use your own imagination here.  You can figure out how that building is likely to become accessible.

3.  When you know that the building is accessible, go over again to ask your neighbor to remove the bee hive.  While there, stop at the place where the building is accessible.  Knock, and listen very carefully.  If you listen carefully enough you will either hear or imagine the sound of crying.  Call the police.  Tell them you heard sounds like a child crying coming from your neighbor's apparently abandoned property and nobody answers when you shout but the crying continues.  This sound could be a cat, but mention that it appears that someone has been in the property because the door, window or whatever has been opened.  Ask them to send to please send a police officer.  Tell them you are worried about the sound like a child crying in a vacant property.

4.  The police will come to investigate the potential child safety issue.  If the property is accessible and vacant, they will go in.  Meet them and explain how you came over to talk to the neighbor about the bee hive (show them the hive for their own safety).  Tell them that while trying to find someone to talk to about the bee hive you heard the troubling crying sound.  Before they leave ask the police if they can call someone to remove the hive (not likely, but ask -see what they can do).  Also ask if it would be OK for you to lock, or board up the building so that people don't go in. Get a copy of the police report on their visit.

4.  Call someone to remove the hive.  There are people in my area who will do it for free.  If you can't find someone that advertises bee hive removal for free, then contact several local bee keepers.  They will know someone who wants the bees and who will come remove them.  Take photos of the bee hive before, after and during removal.

5. Seal up the building to your satisfaction. Take photos of your work. Write up a bill for your time and materials and send it the LLC owner along with a statement that it appeared someone had broken in, send along a copy of the police report, supporting photos of the access point, and mention that in order to secure their building it was necessary to also remove the massive bee hive which was a hazard to workmen on the property and appeared to be causing damage to the property.

The LLC may or may not pay you for being a good neighbor, but your hive and Raccoon problem will be handled.

If you prefer to contact the LLC owners, use @Colleen F. 's suggestion of:

1. -finding out who is paying the person who is handling the lawn and keeping the property maintained.  Also talk to each neighbor on all sides about the property to find out what your neighbors know about the owner.  

2. Find out what state the LLC was formed in and get all public documents available on that LLC. Photograph or scan and post them here so that your fellow BP members can see what information is available. Look for the lawyer or law office that formed the LLC and contact them. Look for the owner and LLC partner names. Look for all addresses, phone #'s and emails.

3. Get all information available from your county assessor's office about who's been paying the property taxes, when, how (check?, online? in person). If taxes are paid by check, then you'll have the Bank and additional address and phone # info for the LLC. You may need to do a Freedom of Information Act request or make a request on your state equivalent for accessing public records.

4. Get all information available from your county recorder's office. Check the recorder's records by property address, parcel number, LLC name, and the name(s) of the LLC owner(s). Photograph or scan and post those documents here. A mortgage is likely to give you additional information, possibly names, attorneys, addresses etc.

Let us know how it works out.