Personally, I don’t have a nightmare neighbor story.
I’m lucky that throughout most of my life, I’ve mostly had wonderful neighbors. While there’s been a handful I’ve intentionally kept my distance from, most were generally cordial and over the years some have even become friends.
As a matter of fact, one of my longtime friends is a former neighbor. She and I worked together and were both surprised and happy to discover we were neighbors when she and her roommate moved in downstairs from me. That was a very long time ago. Many husbands and children later, we still talk regularly.
Recently she and her husband bought their first home in a quiet neighborhood, in a small town. About a year after they moved in, a man and his wife moved into the house in front of their house. Their driveway runs past their new neighbor’s house.
One day they noticed that the new owner was digging up a portion of their driveway. The man said he was planning to install a fence. My friend and her husband asked their new neighbor if he wouldn’t mind waiting until they had a property survey. They believed he might be digging on their property.
That introductory interaction began a cascade of psychotic behavior from their new neighbors that has been going on for at least six months now.
After that initial conversation, the guy kept digging up the asphalt on their driveway even though they’d asked him not to. My friend’s husband even offered to help the guy put his fence up once they got the results from the survey if he would just cease digging up their driveway. He stopped for a week or so. Then the the real fun started.
The guy declared to the now involved police, he wanted to remove the asphalt in my friend’s driveway. He claimed it was his property. He wanted to charge my friends for the removal. Their driveway has an easement so legally the guy wasn’t supposed to touch it. Not to mention, it’s my friend’s property.
This nightmare neighbor began randomly recording my friends with his phone. He called my friend the “c” word. The police were called, again. They suggested my friends install cameras on their property and get a restraining order against the neighbor. They did both.
The neighbor then put up a sign facing my friend’s home that said, “kill yourself”. He would eventually add the word “please” to that sign after he was served with the protective order. He also put a sign up that said, “my neighbor is a Karen”.
They had a court appearance and the guy who was previously digging up asphalt showed up to court with a cane, as though he was somehow handicapped. He is not. The mediator, who the parties met with separately, remarked, “this seems like more than a boundary dispute.”. Ya think?
One evening, my friends went out. When they returned home, my friend’s husband was on his phone checking out any activity on the cameras they’d installed around their property. There was their deranged neighbor talking directly into one of their cameras. He’d gone on their property, taken the camera off the pole and was walking around their property, carrying on a conversation, remarking “There. Fixed it.”. He broke their camera and they had to replace it.
The guy put a grim reaper and a pentagram up on his property facing my friend’s home in an attempt to intimidate them.
My friends did get the property survey back and have begun erecting their own fence. That seems to have further incensed their unbalanced neighbor and he’s put up another “kill yourself” sign.
My friends have hired a lawyer. They’ve documented everything; pictures, video and audio. The police have been to the property numerous times, but their hands seem to be tied as to what they can do. My friends have two more court dates lined up, one for the harassment and I forget what the other court date is for.
I don’t know what the laws against harassment of a neighbor are and the police can only enforce the laws. But this situation is untenable.
At the moment, this guy’s nightmare neighbor behavior seems unstoppable, and my friends are at a loss as to what to do next. They’ve done everything by the book. They’re the exact opposite of “troublemakers”. Before this nonsense they lived a very simple, easy-going, some may even say boring lifestyle.
Today is National Good Neighbor Day. Good neighbors are so important. The people on my little street are wonderful and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that. Because if I had a neighbor like this guy, I’m not sure I would be as patient as my friends have been.