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June 1, 2012


How to Start a Neighbor War (Based on True Stories from the Annals of Real Estate)

by terresteinbeck RODEO REALTY

Forget the heartfelt embraces as your long-time neighbors move away. Or those memorable moments sharing good food and conversation with that wonderful family next door. If you’re really itching for a wonderful time, you need to embroil yourself in a neighbor war.

A Feud for Every Fence

As an experienced Los Angeles realtor, I’ve witnessed the lion’s share of fiery feuds. And if ever there was a region of the city designed for major conflict, the one I call home is IT. I mean, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, The Grove, and Hancock Park all are sitting on square or rectangular lots that offer owners three prime sources of conflict – a fence on the right, on the left, and in the back. I like those odds.

Typically, fence ownership is shared by the neighbors on either side of the boundary. The problem is, said neighbors often don’t agree on that little issue known as repairs. Who foots the bill? When should they be done? To turn these seeds of disagreement into a full-scale eruption, do the following:

  1. Create remodeling plans that hopefully neighbors won’t approve of.
  2. Once you receive the thumbs down, re-do the fence between your two properties, making sure your work is a major eyesore for the neighbor who refused approval.
  3. Get earplugs to dull the sound of your neighbor’s furious howling.

Such an incident occurred in my territory, triggering a twenty-year feud that has lasted to the present day.

Branching Out

If you prefer more natural sources of conflict, tree root systems and branches make excellent battle-triggers. By way of background, trees belong the person who owns the property from which they grow. Once the beautiful branches extend over the property line, however, they’ve invaded your neighbors’ airspace. If you’re the encroached-upon neighbor, you can really launch a beauty of feud with this simple action:

Trim the branches of the invading tree, making sure you do a horrible job so that the once- beautiful tree withers into what resembles a gigantic twig. Then dawn the best protective gear money can buy and seek the nearest shelter.

These proven approaches should get you started. More fine points of feuding will be coming your way in future installments. In the meantime, start trimming those trees!

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