Saturday, August 15, 2009

One Slumlord: There Goes The Neighborhood

Once upon a time, the Villa was a fairly pleasant place to live, but one slumlord can ruin everything. For 18 years, my next-door neighbors were an elderly couple. They put away an impressive quantity of vodka, but they never bothered me and I never bothered them. When they died, we learned old Bill had mortgaged the property for much more than it was worth. Their kids couldn't walk away fast enough and the bank ended up with the house.

Then Squidgie the Slumlord swooped in and stole it bought it and turned it into a rental. He added two more full baths (which I'm sure are not on the tax assessment) and asked an outrageous amount for rent. The only tenants willing to pay that amount were three immature little frat-brats who wanted to be able to crawl home from the neighborhood bars. And so I lived next to the Three Little Pigs for two years, who woke us all up regularly with whooping and door-slamming and dog-barking. Yes, they brought with them a 50 lb. male Pit Bull who was not neutered. Really, everybody's ideal neighbors, eh? Squidgie made it clear from day one: he doesn't care. As long as they pay their rent on time, Squidgie doesn't care if the Pigs are stacking dead bodies in the basement.

The neighbor on the other side of the Pigs, Poor B, had it even worse. The Pigs set up a giant hot tub, basically right outside of Poor B's bedroom window, and the party got louder, later, and wetter. Occasionally, Poor B would go out at three or four in the morning, and ask them politely if they would please keep it down a little. Their reply? "F___ you, Motherf___er!" Charming.

For reasons that aren't clear, Squidgie finally decided not to renew The Pigs' lease for a third year. I do know that he spent weeks cleaning and repairing the place... only to rent to the three Bimbeaux, who have turned out to be as horrible as the Pigs. The Bims are very young and very pretty (and very, very stupid), so they draw flocks and flocks of Pigs, like the previous Pigs but worse: they're just visiting and care even less about disturbing the neighbors. I have asked them several times, politely, if they would please keep down the noise between midnight and 6 am. Six hours a day: that's all I'm asking for, and yet like the Pigs before them, the Bims are incapable of even that much consideration.

They started up again last night at 3am, and I threw on my tatty cotton robe and marched over there, my crazy curls standing out from my head like corkscrews. All that racket from just two Bims and a Pig! I offered no more apologies, no more polite requests. "Go inside the house now. You can't keep waking up the neighbors."

"Uh, we're rully sorry...we'll keep it down," they started.

I was having none of it. "No, we've asked you several times to be considerate of your neighbors, so now we're going to start calling the police every time you wake us up. And then you're going to get evicted. You're going to lose your deposit and you will get sued for the balance of the lease. Go. Inside. Now." I stood there and waited for them to go inside. Much of the problem stems from the fact that Squidgie has told them they cannot smoke in the house, so they come outside to smoke, and forget that they are drunk, and loud, and stupid.

I'm tired of being the crank on the corner, but it doesn't seem unreasonable to get those six hours of quiet. City codes actually designated 11pm - 7am as "quiet hours," but the trick is getting the police to show up, especially on a Friday or Saturday night. I understand: they have better things to do. But being woken up 3-4 nights a week, when sleeping is already a challenge, when restful sleep is especially important to me, is just driving me insane. I don't believe in heaven and hell. I'm not sure I believe in Karma anymore, but if there are such things, I would have to try very hard not to be absolutely gleeful about what's in store for Squidgie.

(*To come: more about Crazytown and Poor B's attempt to sell his property.)


Kathy from NJ said...

When do the Bims sleep? Maybe you and the other neighbors should start partying when they're sleeping. Or you could try some very loud obnoxious (to them) music blasting into their windows. Or record the drunken rantings and replay them during Bimbedtime.

I'm really sorry the police don't respond but they do note every phone call. Can you call the person in charge of "quiet time" to register a complaint and maybe an official letter could be sent?

Sandy said...

Put a commercial lien on Squidgey's property for the damages you have suffered - if you get the other neighbors to go in on it (can you say "class action"?) and make it good - like a couple of million apiece - and see what kind of response you get to that.... I'll be waiting to hear.

La Cootina said...

Kathy, I've thought of pounding on their door at 8am to give them "a taste of their own medicine," but can't bring myself to do it. As far as lodging a "formal complaint," it would be pulling teeth to get the cops out here for that, and it would probably take 3-4 or more for Squidgie to do anything. Then he'd probably just send a sternly worded warning.

Sandy, Poor B has discussed the situation with an attorney but I don't think either a commercial lien or a class action suit was ever considered. I think it's just up to us (thanks a bunch!) to try and convince Bims & Co. to pretend they are civilized...

tim's wife said...

I think I would ask the police if there are fines that can be charged if the noise ordinance is continually broken. Money talks. We had a renter next door who, despite having a double lot with lots of unused yard and scrub areas, insisted on letting her dogs poop on our front lawn and driveway. Talking to her did no good so we got the cops there and told her we
were going to have her fined everytime she did this from here on out. That did the trick. She started walking them in the other direction. I know that maybe your police force is busy but your taxes do pay their salaries, their benefits and their retirement packages after 20 years on the job. I think that gives you the right to expect them to do something. One other way is to start nailing the guests with DWI's when they leave the house. It's extreme but may save the life of an innocent person someday. The bims' place won't be so popular with the guys then. There's got to be some way to rectify this. Signed, Denise who has had it "up to here" with her in-laws this week and can't wait to head home tomorrow. 8 hours of driving and 6 loads of laundry sound like heaven to me right now! :o)
Some vacation. Are we having fun yet?!

La Cootina said...

Poor Denise! There's nothing like a vacation that makes you long to get back to work, eh?

josh williams said...

Did not know this was going on. I'm far enough away not to hear the bims.We may have to consider gorilla tactics, they have worked some with the lot next to mine, elegant decay is not the ideal neighbor to choose to live next to and I have cultivated this look with a two pronged motivation. The first and foremost is I am lazy and do not notice the decay, the second is more satisfying if not down right diabolical.I like tormenting greedy people.
These tactics may lack maturity but in desperate times...