Do You Have a Neighbor from Hell?

Ah, neighbors — you either love ‘em, you put up with them, or – yes– you even hate them. Last week, the Inman blog had a post about a Noisy Neighbor from Hell (subscription wall, sorry). And just this week, an oldie but goodie was making the e-mail rounds in which a neighbor war in Utah led one neighbor to install a vent on his house in the shape of the middle finger salute (photo above). He would not remove it until his neighbors apologized. They did and he did.

Both of these stories brought back bad memories of my own noisy, rude, obnoxious neighbor who moved in next to me here in Seattle about 4 years ago. Like any city parcel, the lots are small and the eaves of the houses nearly touch — that’s how tight things are. So when our dear, reliable, responsible, smart, courteous neighbor sold her house and moved, she sold it to someone who is her polar opposite: rude, inconsiderate, and vulgar. Our new neighbor was a single mom, was about 20-something and had a young, 4-year-old daughter about our daughter’s age.

  • The first thing my neighbor-from-hell did was install a 6-foot stockade-style fence around her property with the “nice side” facing her property. Isn’t that a no-no?
  • Up until 1 a.m. most nights, she would sit on the steps of her front porch — with 2-3 friends — and drink wine and smoke cigarettes, laughing and talking as if no one else existed. Our bedroom happened to be in front, right above this nightly party and we could hear EVERYTHING as the cigarette smoke wafted through our bedroom window. When we asked if she would keep it down or move inside, they became belligerent, vulgar, and even louder.
  • One night while taking my trash out to the back yard, I heard grunting coming from her backyard and yup, you got it, she was having sex with her boyfriend on the back deck that was high enough not to be blocked by her stockade fence. I should’ve just run for my camera, but somehow my first thought was, “We need to move.”

We did eventually move for job reasons, but when I hear others tell their bad neighbor stories, my stomach churns with the same, sickening feeling I had with my neighbor-from-hell. It was so bad I never wanted to come home from work, which is pretty bad! Maybe that “Make My Neighbor Move” feature suggestion wasn’t so far-fetched after all.

P.S. I wish I had this guy to help counsel me. Lots of hellish stories here…