Ask Someone Else's Mom by Susan Writer

"Like Living Next to A Junkyard"

DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: Two years ago my husband and I bought a townhouse in an older development. We’re used to neighbors working on their homes inside and out, since some of the homes are getting to a point where they could really use it.

Last year a guy and his dad moved in next door and they almost immediately started work on the place. The dad got sick and work stopped. The dad got better, and work stayed stopped. Instead of finishing the projects they started, all the destruction/construction stuff has just been sitting, all piled up in their backyard. It’s like living next to a junkyard, and lately it’s started attracting animals, and my husband is pretty sure he saw a rat running around their side of the fence when he looked out our bedroom window.

I get that there was a reason to stop the work while the dad got better, but he seems to be moving around just fine now and the mess is still sitting there.

We don’t want to blow the whistle on the guys, but I don’t want my four-year-old son playing in the backyard with rats running around in it. Do we do it for the sake of our family and the whole neighborhood? --- LIVING NEXT TO A MESS

DEAR LIVING NEXT TO A MESS: You don’t mention if you’ve approached your neighbors directly to let them know about your concerns. If you have, and they haven’t been responsive, then since you believe their debris and clutter is creating a potential health hazard, you have every right to report them to your homeowners association, the local board of health, or whatever authority serves your neighborhood and has the ability to enforce code violations.

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