Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: TinyVulgarUnicorn on April 10, 2014, 05:21:54 PM

Title: Overreaction? I Don't Want To Be "That Neighbor" UPDATE #25
Post by: TinyVulgarUnicorn on April 10, 2014, 05:21:54 PM
So my DH and I just moved into our first house (town home technically) about three weeks ago and we absolutely love it.  All of the property is taken care of by maintenance crews and it's run by an HOA.  End background

Unfortunately, a guy just moved in next to us about a week ago and he's already causing problems for me.  He's been taking the popcorn off of all of his ceilings and he's left an absolute mess on our front walkway all the way up to the front street.  I met him for the first time on Sunday and asked him to please clean it up since it's making a mess.  He promised he was going to clean it up, but by Wednesday it still wasn't cleaned up so I went to my neighbor of the other side of me and asked her if she had the number of the HOA people so that I could lodge a complaint.  While we were talking, he drove up and she asked him to clean it up ASAP and he made the excuse, "I know, I'm so sorry, but we finished really late last night so we couldn't clean it up.  A few other people have complained..." and he looked at me pointedly.  She said she didn't really care, but he needed to clean it up ASAP as it was against HOA rules.

His way of cleaning it up was to wash it off the walkway into the grass and shrubbery because it'll "eventually disintegrate."  Honestly, I'm not happy with how he handled this, but I don't want to become "that neighbor" that complains every time he does something like this.  My husband says that I overreacted and that I need to consider the fact that he's going to be our neighbor for the foreseeable future.  Am I being ridiculous?

If he does something again where I need to ask him to stop doing something how do I approach him without seeming like "that neighbor?" 

I've included pictures of the mess he left.

(https://scontent-a-lax.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/t1.0-9/10175987_10202338763204853_1295244001100187522_n.jpg)   This is his front door and my front door is on the other side of that wall on the left-hand side of the picture.

(https://scontent-a-lax.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/t1.0-9/10154049_10202338763244854_2749543450155440395_n.jpg) This is our shared front walkway.  This stuff goes all the way to the street.
Title: Re: Overreaction? I Don't Want To Be "That Neighbor"
Post by: EllenS on April 10, 2014, 05:34:39 PM
I would cut him a little slack during the move-in period and not mention anything if it just temporarily looks bad for a couple of days.  Unless the popcorn has asbestos in it, that would be something he totally should not be doing without proper tools/containment/permits.

Once he settles in you can get a feel for what sort of neighbor he'll be long-term. If he is continually making messes in the shared space and not cleaning it up, I would mention it, very calmly, once each time. And document.

I don't think you overreacted this time, but you could be at high risk of overreacting if you escalate or keep jumping on things before he's even completely moved in.

Title: Re: Overreaction? I Don't Want To Be "That Neighbor"
Post by: m2kbug on April 10, 2014, 05:36:50 PM
While annoying, I would let this go.  How often do you think he'll be removing popcorn from the ceiling?  This is a one time deal.  As long as you're not getting in trouble for it, there's nothing to worry about.  Obviously you're not the only one to complain.  If his remodeling continues to cause messes, he'll get letters and fines.  In fact, washing the mess into the bushes could get him in trouble, but it won't be permanent, so I'd drop it, personally.  I don't think the mess looks all that bad and hopefully the worst of it.
Title: Re: Overreaction? I Don't Want To Be "That Neighbor"
Post by: Deetee on April 10, 2014, 05:39:18 PM
You are in HOA so things are very different from my experiences. They have very strict rules about the way things look. I would never, ever move into an HOA for many reasons.

That said, in my opinion [see important disclaimer about how I would never live in an HOA] you are being "that neighbour". That doesn't look like a "an absolute mess" on the front walkway. It looks like a bit of white stuff on the walkway. Before I saw the pictures I was imagining piles of rubble.

I agree  with your husband that it is better to good relations with the neighbour than a pristine walk.
Title: Re: Overreaction? I Don't Want To Be "That Neighbor"
Post by: kckgirl on April 10, 2014, 05:42:53 PM
I think you're already "that neighbor." That looks like dust from remodeling that got on his feet. It will be over soon.
Title: Re: Overreaction? I Don't Want To Be "That Neighbor"
Post by: artk2002 on April 10, 2014, 05:43:10 PM
Ack! I hope he had that stuff tested for asbestos before he started to remove it himself. Depending on when it was applied, they used to mix asbestos fibres in before applying. In my complex it ranges from almost nothing to nearly 12%. Removal of asbestos requires certified personnel wearing full protective gear.
Title: Re: Overreaction? I Don't Want To Be "That Neighbor"
Post by: TinyVulgarUnicorn on April 10, 2014, 06:06:55 PM
Ack! I hope he had that stuff tested for asbestos before he started to remove it himself. Depending on when it was applied, they used to mix asbestos fibres in before applying. In my complex it ranges from almost nothing to nearly 12%. Removal of asbestos requires certified personnel wearing full protective gear.

That was my worry at first too since our town homes were built in 1977, but apparently the couple he bought the house from had it tested before he moved in and there is no asbestos in the popcorn that was tested.
Title: Re: Overreaction? I Don't Want To Be "That Neighbor"
Post by: cicero on April 10, 2014, 10:43:12 PM
Sorry but I agree with PPs - this is annoying but hopefully very temporarily so. I, too, was envisioning piles of rubble. When people remodel, some degree of dust and noise is to be expected, but it is usually somewhat contained and temporary
Title: Re: Overreaction? I Don't Want To Be "That Neighbor"
Post by: JenJay on April 10, 2014, 11:47:20 PM
Are the pics from before he swept it into the grass? Because in all honesty that doesn't look that bad to me. I can appreciate that you didn't want to track it into your house, but I don't think sweeping that into the lawn will be an issue. It looks like a small enough amount that it will be gone after the next rain.
Title: Re: Overreaction? I Don't Want To Be "That Neighbor"
Post by: Marbles on April 11, 2014, 04:15:27 AM
While annoying, I would let this go.  How often do you think he'll be removing popcorn from the ceiling?  This is a one time deal....  I don't think the mess looks all that bad and hopefully the worst of it.

Yes, exactly. I wouldn't get on his case about it unless he starts making a habit of it. Honestly, I'd rather be on good terms with a handy neighbor.
Title: Re: Overreaction? I Don't Want To Be "That Neighbor"
Post by: secretrebel on April 11, 2014, 06:55:55 AM
Are the pics from before he swept it into the grass? Because in all honesty that doesn't look that bad to me. I can appreciate that you didn't want to track it into your house, but I don't think sweeping that into the lawn will be an issue. It looks like a small enough amount that it will be gone after the next rain.

Agreed. It looks completely trivial to me. It'll be gone the next time it rains.
Title: Re: Overreaction? I Don't Want To Be "That Neighbor"
Post by: Vall on April 11, 2014, 06:57:54 AM
I pick my battles with my neighbors carefully and I would have let this one go awhile.  I would probably have the same views that your DH has.  He just moved in---maybe he hasn't even gotten settled yet.  He's probably got a mess with remodeling right now.

I would be more in the mode to welcome him to the neighborhood.  I would have taken over some cookies and introduced myself.  After talking a little bit, I might mention that someone would probably complain if he didn't clean the sidewalk when he was through---just as a neighborly heads up.  You'll probably be living next to each other for a long time and I'd want to get off on the right foot.
Title: Re: Overreaction? I Don't Want To Be "That Neighbor"
Post by: SingActDance on April 11, 2014, 09:13:15 AM
Agree with PPs. It's some white dust. How else could he have cleaned it up besides hosing off the walk?
Title: Re: Overreaction? I Don't Want To Be "That Neighbor"
Post by: Bexx27 on April 11, 2014, 09:27:57 AM
Agree with PPs. It's some white dust. How else could he have cleaned it up besides hosing off the walk?

I was wondering this, too. How did you expect him to clean it up?
Title: Re: Overreaction? I Don't Want To Be "That Neighbor"
Post by: Magnet on April 11, 2014, 09:46:59 AM
I would bring it up with the HOA.  In my building, people who are renovating are required to put down paper to pick up this type of stuff.  And the paper must be removed each day.  Just remember, once you raise this issue it will apply to you too.  BTW, popcorn ceilings?  One of the most unattractive things that came out of the 80s and that's saying a lot.
Title: Re: Overreaction? I Don't Want To Be "That Neighbor"
Post by: mspallaton on April 11, 2014, 10:30:53 AM
I think you're already "that neighbor." That looks like dust from remodeling that got on his feet. It will be over soon.

I'm sorry, but I have to agree with this.  I wouldn't even have noticed the footprints beyond a passing nod given the pictures you posted.  It will clear at the next rain.

Here's the thing -- moving in and remodeling are incredibly stressful and dirty jobs.  Things get scratched, paint gets chipped, dirt gets rubbed off on people.  And it is going to keep happening over and over until the remodel/moving are done.

I've moved with my parents five times and three times as an adult and each and every time I do not even begin the clean up until the moving is done because it will just get mussed again.  I've not ever had a neighbor complain and of those 8 moves, 5 (3 of the child moves and 2 of the adult moves) have been into HOA communities.

I get wanting your living environment to look a certain way, but the only thing you're doing right now is prolonging the amount of time it will take him to get settled by making him stop and clean something that will get dirty again right away.  I would recommend an apology by way of a polite note or baked goods, letting him know that while cleanliness is very important, you understand that his move-in/remodel time isn't indicative of how he will be as a neighbor and that you want to start over.

At least - that's what I would do if I were in your shoes.
Title: Re: Overreaction? I Don't Want To Be "That Neighbor"
Post by: Luci on April 11, 2014, 11:41:29 AM
 I would not have taken it up with HOA or the neighbor, but I would have walked on the grass instead of the sidewalk. I'm sure there is more of that dust in the grass, too, but at least it would have sifted down and I wouldn't be tracking it into my car and house, where it would be a bear to deal with.

After he hosed it down, which we did at our own home after a drywalling project, I would be back on the sidewalk.
Title: Re: Overreaction? I Don't Want To Be "That Neighbor"
Post by: perpetua on April 11, 2014, 12:00:43 PM
This is why I'm glad I am never likely to live in a HOA. I agree with the PP who says you already are that neighbour. How is this affecting you? I don't understand. It's a bit of dust on a pavement.
Title: Re: Overreaction? I Don't Want To Be "That Neighbor"
Post by: mich3554 on April 11, 2014, 12:54:26 PM
That doesn't look too bad.  A little rain will wash it away and it will be gone.

Sorry, it seems to me that you are already "that neighbor".

Turn this around.  How would YOU feel if you were doing work on your unit, and while you tried to contain it as much as possible, it spilled over.  Would YOU want to deal with YOU?
Title: Re: Overreaction? I Don't Want To Be "That Neighbor"
Post by: Really? on April 11, 2014, 01:07:26 PM
hi

I'm not saying I'm a fan of HOA's but they are there for a reason. Also if he's making a mess now that he's just moved in what's going to happen in the future.

Hopefully it gets straightened out.
Title: Re: Overreaction? I Don't Want To Be "That Neighbor"
Post by: Amanita on April 11, 2014, 02:23:12 PM
I'm in agreement with the folks who were saying that the photos you posted really don't look all that bad. It's a temporary situation, one that will be resolved when the remodelling/renovation ends. It's not worth getting off on the wrong foot with a new neighbor, or trying to get him into "official" trouble.
Title: Re: Overreaction? I Don't Want To Be "That Neighbor"
Post by: TootsNYC on April 11, 2014, 02:25:45 PM
hi

I'm not saying I'm a fan of HOA's but they are there for a reason. Also if he's making a mess now that he's just moved in what's going to happen in the future.

Hopefully it gets straightened out.

Well, I'd think that in the future, his remodeling will be done.
Title: Re: Overreaction? I Don't Want To Be "That Neighbor"
Post by: Morty'sCleaningLady on April 11, 2014, 02:25:54 PM
I would bring it up with the HOA.  In my building, people who are renovating are required to put down paper to pick up this type of stuff.  And the paper must be removed each day.  Just remember, once you raise this issue it will apply to you too.

I know it's an unpopular opinion, but I would as well.  You've approached him once.  A neighbor has approached him with you as a witness.  It's a common front door, so the likelihood of that dust getting tracked into your or your neighbor's homes is pretty high.  If you have a long haired 'hair' dog like I do, it would already be in the carpet, upholstery, etc.  If it does contain asbestos, that's a huge problem.
Title: Re: Overreaction? I Don't Want To Be "That Neighbor"
Post by: fountainof on April 11, 2014, 02:26:16 PM
I really like it when people improve their properties so for me if it was cleaned up in a couple of days I would be okay with it.  From the pictures it doesn't look too bad, I probably would sweep it myself before I would notify the HOA.  As you did I may mention it to the neighbor but I would cut him some slack and allow him a couple of days to get it done.  If this happened for months on end then I would take it to the HOA.

Rules of an HOA are there for reasons and if you try to enforce them you also must be aware that someday the neighbour might do the same thing to you.  For example, the HOA has probably quiet rules (ex after 10pm) and you are good with that until you have a baby with colic and then you have lots of crying and while you are trying your best you just cannot obey the quiet time rule.  Many neighbours would be reasonable about the noise of someone with a baby, however, if you are "that neighbour" someone is probably more likely to complain to the HOA.
Title: Re: Overreaction? I Don't Want To Be "That Neighbor"
Post by: shhh its me on April 11, 2014, 03:54:11 PM
I would bring it up with the HOA.  In my building, people who are renovating are required to put down paper to pick up this type of stuff.  And the paper must be removed each day.  Just remember, once you raise this issue it will apply to you too.

I know it's an unpopular opinion, but I would as well.  You've approached him once.  A neighbor has approached him with you as a witness.  It's a common front door, so the likelihood of that dust getting tracked into your or your neighbor's homes is pretty high.  If you have a long haired 'hair' dog like I do, it would already be in the carpet, upholstery, etc.  If it does contain asbestos, that's a huge problem.

I don't think OP would be rude to report it the HOA , but I also think that would make her "that neighbor".

I lived in a Condo for 18 years I still remember that one neighbor who complain about a door being slammed literally once (it was sticking) after 18 years of listening to normal  occasional cupboard banging and door slamming from all the neighbors. I still don't think kindly of her.  AS petty as it is, had she ever slammed one of her doors (or violated any other rule) again after that (I moved shortly after) I wouldn't have let it go as I had been for the previous 18 years.
Title: Re: Overreaction? I Don't Want To Be "That Neighbor"
Post by: TinyVulgarUnicorn on April 11, 2014, 05:23:53 PM
*Sigh*  Yeah, I figured I was being "that neighbor."  Thank you for your guys' posts.  It's really, really hard getting a dose of reality and hearing people say that you're being unrealistic, but it was necessary and I needed to hear it.  This is why I go to eHell because it's good to know that my idea of cleanliness for outside shared living spaces is unrealistic and what I consider an absolute mess is not considered that bad by the vast majority of people.  Plus, you guys just prevented me from starting WWIII with my neighbor which is good because he's a really nice guy otherwise.  Plus, I don't blame him for wanting to get rid of the popcorn ceiling...it's really ugly.

I know there were some questions so I'll try and answer them:

"How would YOU feel if you were doing work on your unit, and while you tried to contain it as much as possible, it spilled over.  Would YOU want to deal with YOU?"

We just did work on our unit last week.  We replaced all of the kitchen and bathroom appliances, remodeled the downstairs bathroom and replaced all the carpet downstairs with hardwood.  We specifically requested with all of the contractors that all messes be contained in the house and any outside messes be cleaned up before they left our house that day.  There was one mess that one of my contractors made and didn't clean up, but I cleaned it up immediately as soon as I saw it.  I also went to both of my neighbors and apologized to both of them for the noise issues and told them that they could contact me at anytime if the noise was too much and I would see what I could do. 

As for if I would want to deal with someone like me?  This is a hard question to answer, but TBH?  Yes - I would rather have a neighbor that bugged me all the time about keeping the place spic and span rather than have a neighbor that didn't take care of the shared property to "my" standards.  This is one of the main reasons I come onto eHell though, because I don't want to be that crazy neighbor that demands unrealistic things of her neighbors.  My cleanliness issues are my own and "my" standards are not shared by the vast majority of people so I need to learn to scale it back a lot which is a lot easier said than done.         

"I was wondering this, too. How did you expect him to clean it up?"

I guess I was expecting him to sweep up as much of it as he could and to hose down the rest that he couldn't physically sweep up.  I'm not sure about the legalities of washing construction waste into the curb gutters which is what I was mainly worried about.  AFAIK, when you wash stuff into your curb gutters it goes straight to the ocean without being treated which can be a problem for the environment.  The problem with allowing the rain to take care of it is that we live in Southern California and we haven't had rain in over a month so stuff stays around a lot longer than it does in wetter climates.  Again, in the grand scheme of things it's not that bad and it'll be gone before long so I'll try not to worry about it. 

   
 
Title: Re: Overreaction? I Don't Want To Be "That Neighbor" UPDATE #25
Post by: Deetee on April 11, 2014, 05:36:54 PM
I just wanted to thank you for coming back and acknowledging the responses. I always appreciate it when the OP comes back to "finish the story" and doubly so when they come back to admit they were wrong (which is tough-I've posted and found my opinions were not shared at.all.)

Thanks for the update!
Title: Re: Overreaction? I Don't Want To Be "That Neighbor" UPDATE #25
Post by: Marbles on April 11, 2014, 08:06:27 PM
OP, I appreciate you coming back to acknowledge what we've been saying.

As a fellow Californian (Hi!), whose area is already on water restrictions, I would caution you against thinking of hosing off the sidewalks as being a necessary cleaning step. (This year, at least.  8) )
Title: Re: Overreaction? I Don't Want To Be "That Neighbor" UPDATE #25
Post by: TootsNYC on April 11, 2014, 08:40:13 PM
I just wanted to thank you for coming back and acknowledging the responses. I always appreciate it when the OP comes back to "finish the story" and doubly so when they come back to admit they were wrong (which is tough-I've posted and found my opinions were not shared at.all.)

Thanks for the update!


Ditto!
Title: Re: Overreaction? I Don't Want To Be "That Neighbor" UPDATE #25
Post by: lollylegs on April 11, 2014, 09:25:52 PM
OP, I appreciate you coming back to acknowledge what we've been saying.

As a fellow Californian (Hi!), whose area is already on water restrictions, I would caution you against thinking of hosing off the sidewalks as being a necessary cleaning step. (This year, at least.  8) )

I agree with all of this. I'm not a Californian but I do live in a drought prone town with water restrictions and the thought of hosing down the path every single day makes my toes curl.
Title: Re: Overreaction? I Don't Want To Be "That Neighbor"
Post by: jackie jormp jomp on April 15, 2014, 08:55:05 PM
I think you're already "that neighbor." That looks like dust from remodeling that got on his feet. It will be over soon.
My thoughts. It's not a big deal.