DEAR ABBY: I'm writing on behalf of the residents in my development. We're middle-class citizens who take care of our homes. Our lawns are neat and trimmed and our flower beds are weeded. Our "stuff" is kept in garages, sheds or in our homes.
Last summer a new family moved into our neighborhood. They bought the first house you see when you enter our main street. Abby, the place is a mess! "Stuff" is all over the place (piles of junk left out over the winter). To their credit, a shed was started, but it was blown down after a few days and now the lumber just lies there.
Since their property backs up to the main road, they don't bother driving around the block to park –- they drive through the yard! The tire ruts are now evident, and it detracts from our well-kept lawns. We can only imagine what has happened to property values. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. –- DUMPED ON IN DELAWARE
DEAR DUMPED ON: I agree that if their property has become an eyesore, it could affect the value of other homes in the neighborhood. Inquire at City Hall whether or not there are codes or ordinances in place that restrict homeowners from leaving junk on their lawns. Then ask the offenders if they might like some help in cleaning up their yard, and offer to lend a hand. Perhaps some of the other neighbors would also like to help.
If that doesn't work, you and the rest of the property owners should consider starting a neighborhood association that will have some clout. And, of course, consult a lawyer who specializes in real estate law.