Ask Someone Else's Mom by Susan Writer

Bitter Neighbors Keep Old Grudge Alive

DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: My wife’s parents moved to a house they built for their retirement right around the time we started looking for a new home. They offered it to us, and it was a really good deal. The house needs some work to get it more in our style, but the real problem is the neighbors who apparently hated my wife since she was a kid, and now are doing everything they can to make it unpleasant for us.

So far, they’ve “accidentally” knocked over our mailbox, put their trashcan half on-half off the curb so that it spills over onto our driveway, and repeatedly claimed they had no idea their dog got out of the house, just long enough to dig up what we planted (and then replanted) in the back yard.

My wife tells me the reason for the grudge is that she broke up with their son in high school, and have been cold to her whole family ever since, but this is ridiculous. I don’t want to have to call the cops, but I’m beginning to think that’s what it will take to get these people to back off. I’ve tried talking to them, but they cold shoulder me too. What else can we do? --- LIVING NEXT DOOR TO THE NEIGHBORS FROM HELL

DEAR LIVING NEXT DOOR: Since talking to them doesn’t seem to be an option, start keeping records of suspected transgressions. Take photos and mark down the date, time, and as much detail as you can, including any actions you and your wife take in response to the incidents.

If you have one, try reaching out to your homeowner’s association to see if they have arbitration services. In the case of property damage or unrestrained dogs, you could contact the local police department non-emergency services or animal control.

There may not be much the authorities can do, but at least you’ll be putting your neighbors on notice that you’re not going to take their aggressions lightly.

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