DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: Our neighbor buys old cars and junkers, works on them, and then resells them. That’s how he makes a living. If the cars always just came and went, I wouldn’t have a problem with it, but sometimes the junkheaps hang around for weeks and months.
We want to put our house on the market before our second child is born this fall, but we also know the value of our home will be hurt by our neighbor’s mini-junkyard. We have kind of mentioned how we feel to him, and even though he is a good guy, he either didn’t or wouldn’t take the hint.
We live in an older neighborhood, so there isn’t any homeowners association to complain to. Our neighbor is active in local politics, so everyone seems to know him and is happy to look the other way, from what we have been told by at least two city workers, one of them in the zoning office, which we had called to see if there was anything in the codes about having multiple cars in undriveable states in our neighborhood. Seems there are no such laws prohibiting our neighbor’s collection.
Our realtor keeps telling us we have to do something, but what can we do? --- FRED’S AND LAMONT’S NEIGHBOR
DEAR FRED’S AND LAMONT’S NEIGHBOR: These are the types of things that a good realtor aught to be able to work with you to investigate and hopefully resolve. They should be familiar with zoning and other codes regulating the communities where they represent sellers and buyers, and help advocate for you throughout the selling process.
In the case of your well-connected neighbor, while there may be no laws regulating the number of vehicles parked on private property, it’s still possible he’s running a small business where one isn’t permitted. That might give you some leverage in having him at least reduce the number of unsightly cars in his driveway.
If it turns out you’re in a mixed-use zone, while you’re limited in what you’re able to do about your neighbor, you could change your focus to targeting buyers who are interested in also taking advantage of operating a business from their home.