Handling the Eyesore in Your Neighborhood

It is a problem in neighborhoods across the country. It could happen in your Northern Virginia neighborhood. “It” is the upsetting sight of a property that isn’t being maintained to the same standards as the rest of the surrounding homes. What is the best way to handle the issue, maintain relationships and retain the value of your home and neighborhood?

Usually, people want to be good neighbors and may be willing to correct the issue once they are notified that it is bothersome to others. However, they may not always agree about its urgency, and it might be necessary to seek other remedies. An overgrown yard or peeling paint may be temporary and on your neighbor’s to-do list for the weekend. Or it may be a chronic problem that could use a little intervention.

The most opportune solution may be to contact your neighbor and describe your perception of the problem. An owner-occupant may be sympathetic and more than willing to correct the issue.

However, if you suspect that the home is a rental property, check with the county tax records to identify the owner. They may be unaware of the situation and would actually welcome a notification that will protect their investment.

The next step might be to notify the homeowner’s association if there is one. The covenants or bylaws will specify how properties must be maintained. The association can assist by enforcing these covenants.

The final step would be to notify your local government office for a possible code violation. Most cities have a separate code and neighborhood services division, and some cities have 311 for non-emergency assistance.

Rationally stating your case and keeping it friendly will go a long way toward maintaining neighborly relationships. But don’t be afraid to take the steps necessary to protect the value of your Northern Virginia real estate.

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