Beware! Full-on rant ahead, complete with foul language:
I'm am pissed beyond belief at my idiot neighbor. I suppose he can't help being stupid, but still.
As regular readers know, I am trying to sell my house so that my kids and I can move "Down South" and reunite with my husband, who started a more personally fulfilling and higher-paying job almost 6 weeks ago. Part of selling a house is making it fabulously attractive to the ever-shrinking pool of buyers. To that end, my father and I have been working our butts off, cleaning the siding with muriatic acid (the only thing that returned the white vinyl siding to white), scraping and painting the garage, painting the porch and various other outdoor things, cleaning up and beautifying the landscaping, etc. I'm also working on stuff inside the house, but today I am concerned with "curb appeal."
One huge detractor from my property's "curb appeal" is the fact that my neighbor's concrete retaining wall is falling onto my property. It was leaning a smidge when we bought the house 10 years ago and has gradually but steadily gotten worse. The old lady that lived in the house for 50 years sold it in 2006 and told us that a condition of the sale was that she pay the new owner to have the wall fixed.
is what is going to collapse onto my driveway (and/or children or cats) anytime.
(which is attached to the garage just out of frame)
New owner, SK, moved in September 2006. We figured it was too late in the season so he'd have the wall fixed that spring. Nope. Nothing. All summer and fall 2006, spring and summer 2007 go by, the wall is only getting worse. SK doesn't seem to think fixing this wall is a priority. He is in his early to mid 40s and has never owned a house before. He talks all the time about how home maintenance is "so very difficult." As far as we can tell, he hasn't done any. His bushes are overgrown (the old neighbor had them trimmed 2x a year and they were never a problem - he's NEVER cut them and they scratch the hell out of my car leading to me trimming part of them back), he's let the flower gardens my old neighbor tended for 50 years go all to hell, and he mows 2 or 3 times a year. Spousehole worked for our city government, so naturally we just went to the city about the wall.
The city came out in August or September 2007 and cited the neighbor for the falling retaining wall, an unsafe floppy porch rail, and some other things that I don't really give shit one about because they don't affect me. All I care about is the wall.
SK came over to my house the day he got the citation. He can't understand why the city cares if he fixes the wall or not and I patiently tried to explain that it's unsafe - hello, it's a giant concrete wall that could crush my kids, or, God forbid, my cats. Not to mention it looks like shit and if it falls it won't retain his property very well, which is kind of the point of a "retaining wall."
SK pleads poverty and gets extensions of time to fix the wall. Then I talked to my former neighbor's son (who has her power of attorney, since she's in her mid to late 80s now). He tells me that what his mother told me was correct: the house was sold to SK "as is" (meaning he knew there was work to be done!) and that at closing they kicked back $8000 of the purchase price to SK specifically to pay for replacing the retaining wall. Let me repeat that: they kicked back $8000 of the purchase price to SK specifically to pay for replacing the retaining wall! He's claiming he didn't think the wall was that important and that he can't afford to fix it, but the closing papers show he walked away from closing with an $8000 specifically to fix the motherfucking wall.
Now SK's claiming he didn't get any money at closing for the wall (As Kid Rock would say, I was born at night but not last night -- I have the paperwork, asshole!), but it's not going to matter. He told my dad yesterday (I won't speak to SK) that he's been a renter all his life and this whole homeowner thing is more work and hassle than he expected, especially if the city is going to make him fix stuff, etc. So his solution is that he contacted his (subprime) lender and told them he doesn't want the house anymore and wants out of his mortgage, etc and THEY AGREED. Asshole SK quit-claimed the house to his mortgage company (deed in lieu of foreclosure, since he stopped paying the mortgage a couple months ago) and is moving this weekend. Back to the world of renting, where he doesn't have to worry about maintaining jack-shit.
Fucking asshole. Now the property is owned by some mortgage company based out West somewhere. What's the likelihood they are going to maintain the property (mowing, etc.), much less fix the wall? I'm already in contact with the city about them transferring the citation to the mortgage company and threatening to prosecute them for failure to maintain a safe property, but I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for something to happen. We had a house up the street that the former owners deeded in lieu of foreclosure to their mortgage holder, a large bank with local offices. That house sat for a year before the bank finally sold it. Though they did at least arrange for the lawn to be mowed. Hopefully this subprime lender from God-knows-where will at least do that.
Update: the city was just about to file misdemeanor charges against SK for failure to maintain his property, but now that likely won't happen since he no longer owns it and he's moving on Monday to Oregon, where he plans to live with his 21-year-old daughter until he gets a job and finds his own place to rent.