I need help with a trespassing neighbor

aggieroseMay 19, 2014

Hello. I don't know where the right place is to post this, but I thought I would start here. Long story short, I have a very crazy male neighbor who continuously climbs our fence and goes into our yard. He also keeps a ladder leaning against his fence and climbs it to look in our yard daily. We have called the police on him twice. He has also been found in our neighbors yard. In order to arrest him, he has to be caught in our yard so I'm now looking into getting a camera to monitor the spot where he keeps his ladder. Does anyone have a recommendation for a good outdoor security camera that isn't very expensive? I can't spend much on one but I need one that I can always monitor and one that will work well.

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jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

I once had a neighbor lady who liked to spray our plants in our yard with round-up. So I bought a camera/VCR and that took care of that problem after I caught her in the act...
Sadly security equipment is not cheap...You could use a regular VCR but tapes only last 6-8 hours and would have to be changed often... Maybe check locally and online for best prices...

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 7:46PM
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charleney(8a PNW)

If I am not mistaken, Costco had one, I think it had about 4 cameras on it. It was on sale at that time. I don't think it was terribly expensive. You might check on Costco Online.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 8:33PM
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Aggierose, why is he doing this???? I know you have called the police and all, but have you spoken to him directly? What is his reason?

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 8:35PM
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jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

I just rememembered I have night vision cameras which were not cheap.
You do not need night vision cameras if hes in your yard in the daylight.

I am curious too why is he in your yard also? Have you talked to him?

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 9:07PM
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Get a big dog!?

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 10:07PM
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Check a sporting goods web site for wildlife or deer or game cameras. they have motion detectors built in. Camouflage too.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 10:17PM
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What a freak.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 12:05AM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

You need thornier climbers :)

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 12:27AM
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How about motion activated sprinklers? He sounds mentally unbalanced, and perhaps potentially dangerous. Take care , and keep the authorities involved.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 12:52AM
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The motion activated sprinklers sound perfect! They'd douse him with a short, strong stream of cold water and he'd likely yell, alerting everyone. You probably also need motion activated security lights so he can be easily seen. Too bad you can't create booby traps for him, but he would hurt himself and sue you. He'd likely win. Plant Mermaid against that fence. He would definitely have to figure out some other method of getting in to the back yard! Good luck! Kim

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 4:16AM
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We live at the top of a hill and he lives right behind us at the bottom of the hill and he has a pool. When we get really heavy rains, his pool gets a lot of dirt in it from the run off from our yard. He thinks that we are deliberately doing something that causes his pool to get dirty. He climbs the fence to wonder our yard to see what we have done. Of course, we have done nothing. Why would we??? We have an easement that runs along our fence and because of that, he thinks that it's public property and he can access it whenever he wants, regardless of the fact that he has to climb our fence to do so. Each time his pool floods, he knocks on our door screaming, cussing, and threatening us. He then put a ladder up on his side of the fence so he can climb up the ladder to look in our yard whenever he wants. He does this daily. The police have been called twice and have told him that he absolutely does not have any right to come into our yard. The first cop that came out reminded him that we live in Tx and if he keeps climbing fences, especially at night, he's going to get shot. Yesterday they made him remove his ladder and told him the next time he is found on our property he will be charged with criminal trespassing as well as stalking. But, I have to catch him doing it and a camera is the best way to prove that he was in our yard again. Although he has never denied that he comes in our yard and has always admitted it to the police. I'm just tired of living next to a crazy person. He is incredibly scary and I'm truly in fear for my safety. My husband travels for work a lot and I'm home alone with my 5 year old triplet girls quite often. My husband wants the police to do extra patrols and watch our house while he's gone because he's scared of what the neighbor may do. We added an extra fence in our yard to create a dog run so our dog wouldn't be able to get close to the fence because we were afraid he was going to poison him. I make my kids play on the opposite side of the yard because I'm scared he will be watching them if we are close to his house. Every neighbor around him has had some sort of issue with him and he is on "no speaking" terms with all of them. I wish he would just move.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 9:03AM
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I've never heard of motion activated sprinklers, but I love that idea! I'll have to look into it. I did just buy a Don Juan climber to plant in the spot that he typically climbs, but I'm not sure if it's going to be thorny enough. I may look for something thornier. It's a fine line because I want it thorny enough to hurt him if he tries to climb through it, but I still have to be the one to maintain it!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 9:06AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Simple inexpensive home security cameras are a big deal in tech development these days, because there's plenty of money to be made. The iPhone of the systems (in terms of ease of use and popularity) has not yet been introduced, but if you have just one location you want to monitor, the solution is a lot more simple and you could find something relatively affordable. I was looking into them myself as a pond monitor. Look at Dropcam and Canary and see if they will meet your needs at all.

Maybe also plant a groundcover that will reduce soil run off? erosion may become a problem for YOUR property, regardless of your neighbor. The texas gardening forum may be able to suggest something that will help.

OF COURSE the man has no business on your property, but perhaps if he knew you made a small effort to reduce mud in his pool, that might reduce his mental problem.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cnet on diy home security

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 9:17AM
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If your looking for a nasty thorny rose they don't come much meaner than " Harrison's yellow ". if he wants to get into your yard that bad let him work for it. If that doesn't work buy yourself a paintball gun and every time the comes on your property blast him good

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 10:39AM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

I have lower neighbor issues too.

I would:

Hire a licensed/insured contactor to come and place a roll of the run off stopping hay things. They look like a giant hay hose on your side of the easement and add a couple of trees to block his view on your side of the hay and easement

And I would add more thorns down there

A game camera can be under $100 and look for scarecrow for the sprinkler

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 11:46AM
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I appreciate all the suggestions. It's hard to explain, but the way our yard is, the dirt that would be washing away into his yard isn't hurting our yard at all. It's also an area where our sprinklers don't reach so it I plant anything at all it would require that I either spend the money to add another zone to our sprinklers, or, stand out there all summer in our 100+ degree Texas weather with a water hose. Not to mention the cost of water where I live is through the roof ($180-$200/month with only watering once/week per watering restrictions and no pool). I also refuse to plant anything that will be an eye sore to me. The city, the HOA, and the police have been out several times and have all said we have done nothing wrong and that it's up to him to figure out how to divert the water run off. The mud getting in his pool has only happened twice in 2 years. We are in the middle of a severe drought here in Tx so it's not like we get downpours on a regular basis. My goal now is to catch him on camera doing the things he does to get him thrown in jail. He has been warned with stalking charges from the police, which is a third degree felony. If I can get him on camera, he will be charged.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 12:19PM
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I'm sorry you're caught between such a rock and a hardplace, Aggierose. This is the type of thing meant by motion activated sprinkler. It requires you turn on a hose to the sprinkler and leave it on all the time you want coverage. The trick is to leave it on just a trickle, so if/when the hose bursts, and you KNOW eventually one is going to, you don't have a flood and waste a ton of water. All that's needed is enough pressure so when something interrupts the motion sensor, it sends out a burst of high pressure, cold water through the Rainbird sprinkler. The main down side is, no matter how you have the motion sensor set up, ANYTHING interrupting it will trigger the water blast. It's great for deer and other vermin repelling, but it can't tell the difference between them, the crazy guy next door or YOU, so you have to remember it's there. That was the main complaint from customers when we sold it at work years ago. A sudden, strong blast of cold water out of the blue scares the beans out of you when you don't expect it. Good luck! Kim

Here is a link that might be useful: Scarecrow sprinkler

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 1:07PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

Can you dig a ditch to stop the water from going into his pool? Plant some big thorny cactus near the fence? I'm sorry you have such a crazy neighbor. God Bless you and help you!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 1:13PM
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jameya(zone 5/ central indiana)

We went out to rual king and bought 2 cameras for 40 dollars a piece and set them into record through a vcr. The problem with that is, the tape only records for 4 hours at a time and it gets annoying. So we bought a dvr recorder off amazon to hook into them. Now it records 24/7. It lowered the homeowners too. But I seen a set with 3 cameras, and the dvr for 175. Check there.
Also if your cable company is comcast, they now offer a service for 40 a month (not sure how much install is, but I seen equipment comes with package for free) and you can check your cameras from any computer and cell phone from anywhere and it records 24/7 as well.
I was having issue with people stealing 300 dollar worth or solar lights in less then a week after I put them out. And when I had the vcr I was mad to find out that my lights got hit again the very first week and it just so happen it had to of happen within an hour of the vcr tape clicking off and me waking up, and with them cemented into the ground. Grrrr.
If it was me, I would invest in cameras because not only does it keep you safe from this crazy guy, but also anyone else whom could come by, or if another crazy moves in. Especially if your alone with little ones often. Its just great piece of mind ~ just in case~ its awful to live in a world like that where its almost needed.
I guess your other option would be to send a certified letter to this guy and just try to ask him what he thinks should be done about this issue. And explain that it does not happen on purpose, and if everyone has to live there for a while, try to make nice and see what he says he would like to see happen. I know you said the run off doesn't effect your yard, but it could effect others, and even if its not him living there someone else that moves in might as well that has the issues, and I know you can't please everyone, but a compromise might be a good thing if it keeps the peace. Then again, you said its happened a couple times in a couple years, so it don't seem like its a constant issue and hey, things do happen, its called mother nature. And he just might be one of those people that are never happy no matter what you do and enjoys and thrives off nit picking and making others crazy.
I feel for you, and it will prolly take some thought on what you want to do, and the best way to just make him leave you alone.
Goodluck :)

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 1:24PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

I have neighbor issues like I mentioned

But for me and probably because I have to mediate things like this, I like to address the issue more down the middle.

If he has only had mud in his pool a couple of times then one would think the would only climb the fence then but sounds like he does more often. It would be worth it to me to not see him and hide him behind trees. I would use a landscape contractor just for the pool liability issue. Same with the hay roll. It might not be pretty but it beats the neighbor.

If he has been such a thorn in everyone's side. You might be able to get the home owners association to install the trees you buy for you with the hay roll As far as watering goes, pick a drought tolerant native, 100 feet of hose is $20 at Costco. 100 feet of drip line and fittings will run any other $20. Hook it up to your hoses bib on dribble while you make and eat dinner and your watering is done. Once established they should rarely need more water

You would be amazed at how just posting "surveillance cameras in use" signs will solve issues even if you don't have them I would start by buying a few and posting so he knows he could get caught on tape

The other option is to move. Life is too short for dealing with idiots. And idiots enjoy what they are doing and are unlikely to change

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 2:14PM
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You need to file a restraining order with the police dept.
I have a neighbor exactly the same, only he just looked over the fence all the time by standing on a large pot. He complained about water from our yard going into his yard and hurting his cactus, geese it was monsoon time.
He doesn't do it any more.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 2:30PM
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I don't know how involved your HOA is in what you can and can't do in your yard, but the suggestion of taking it up both with the HOA and the police (restraining order) are great. There must be some responsibility the HOA possesses as far as my mud flowing from rains. IF there is an erosion issue, that should be the builder's responsibility. If it's too long since construction, or if the HOA has already obtained a settlement from the builder for any issues, then it should be solely the responsibility of the HOA. My sister had water issues with her condo and the HOA was responsible for restoring the exterior walls damaged by improper grading and restoring her master shower which had crumbled from exterior water infiltrating the structure. As long as you have not altered the drainage, then it should be up to the HOA to fix the problem. If the crazy neighbor has changed things, creating the problem, then the problem is his.

You KNOW the idiot is probably looking for some way to injure himself on YOUR property so he can collect damages. Sounds outrageous, but that's often the way it works all over the country. Add the "wild west" gun laws so prevalent in southern areas and you definitely have a potentially dangerous situation on your hands! I would certainly investigate all avenues with the HOA and their culpability in the claimed erosion issue and the legal restraining order. If nothing else, you'll be building your defense, legally demonstrating your case for feeling threatened for your life should you have to "dispatch" him. I wish you all the luck in the world! I'm afraid you might need it! Kim

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 3:35PM
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michelle_co(z5 CO)

If you need something quick and simple, a wildlife trail camera would work if you have a good place to put one. I use those for wildlife watching all the time, and used mine for a time when we had a crazy renter next door.

I do think you should have a proper system in place because he sounds like he has serious issues, but a trail-cam could be installed by you the day you buy it. I have the Bushnell 8 MP trail cams, about $124 at Amazon.

You could also buy a dummy camera or two to hang until your proper system is in place. They are something like $6 at Amazon and have a LED light to make them look serious. Point a couple of those at the fence. They are conspicuous and look real.

And get your real system installed in the meantime.

I also agree about approaching the HOA to deal with the water run off issue. That sounds like the best long term, real solution. Plus if you do ever end up in court, you will be able to show that you were very proactive in trying to solve the problem... It will help you when you have to talk to the police, too. And just maybe, it would get him off of your back for good.

Please be safe, I hate this kind of stuff... It's too scary.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 5:27PM
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Here is place that may have what you are looking for: http://www.supercircuits.com/
No matter what you do make sure you have a Plan B. By that I mean, are you willing to take him to court. What happens if he takes you to court. etc etc
In the mean time I would print up a nice sized sign that read 'Smile You Are On Candid Camera' and place it where he can't miss reading it. Let him wonder where the camera is.

If he still doesn't stop then a board with a ton of nails in it sticking straight up, placed where he enters your property, and covered with mulch/leaves should get his attention.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 7:49PM
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jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

Exposing the camera for your neighbor to see may cause more problems...

What I did was put up a small hidden camera. (No sound) Check out laws in your area...

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 9:34PM
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Absolutely, check the laws about secretly filming him, though IN your yard, ON your property and not in his, should be safe. Also, any booby trap you set will bite you in the butt. Often, the courts rule against the one setting the trap because emergency personnel or perhaps children might fall prey to them. Better to take the legal routes and possibly set up the cameras. Those shouldn't be able to be held against you legally. Kim

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 11:43PM
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kidhorn(7a MD)

it doesn't seem like the guy is all that dangerous. All he's done is look around your yard. I wouldn't set a trap. It might trigger an angry reaction and you can get yourself in trouble.

Putting a camera up to prove he's been in your yard isn't a bad idea, but I don't see how you can keep him from looking over the fence. I'm pretty sure it's not illegal to look in someone's yard. The only thing to prevent him from looking over the fence is to plant a row of tall vegetation within the fence border. Maybe something like an arborvitae.

Good Luck

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 2:14PM
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Small yappy dog. The kind that is skittish to strangers but family and barks nonstop at new things and is fearless. Chihuahua.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2014 at 8:44AM
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Personally, I would move.
Life is too short, and this guy is dangerous.
He obviously has some kind of mental problem, you are not the only neighbor he is bothering.
His excuse to violate your privacy by climbing into your yard is dirt in his pool.
What did he tell the other neighbors?
You have 2 options.
Either go buy yourself a gun and become very familiar with it, and also a small yappy dog, which will alert you 24/7, or move.
If it were me, and I was alone alot, and I had children to protect, I would move.
Cameras, roses, even an order of protection won't protect you unless you learn to shoot a gun, and WILL USE IT.
Good luck to you.
I'd be out looking for homes already. LOL!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2014 at 11:17AM
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alameda/zone 8

Academy has game cameras that work well. At most feed stores, you can buy solar electric fence equipment - put a hot wire on top of the fence - guarantee you he will not climb over it. A rotweiller isn't a bad idea either.......see how he likes a chunk bitten out of his leg. Catch him on camera - take him to court, get restraining order - take action via the law. If all else fails, tell the police he is spying on your girls and you think he is a sexual predator.....that will get him locked up for sure. Would be great to catch him on the camera getting into the hot wire. Good luck, sounds like a real nut case who is doing this for his own perverse amusement.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2014 at 12:29PM
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A Jack Russel or what I have here, a retired brood breeder Toy Fox Terror, would be perfect! Very attentive, very loving, extremely territorial, they even chase and bark at birds and lizards. Let him show himself at the fence and these (two Toy Fox Terrors and one Chihuahua) will sound as if they are about to eat him alive! If they're out front and the neighbors trip their electric gates, you'd think it was the end of the world, or the fire was racing through the jungle in a Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movie! Lula, the youngest, has earned her nickname, "Godzilla", for how she tears through the garden on her way to be SURE no one is entering HER domain. She puts up a GREAT bluff! Kim

    Bookmark   May 22, 2014 at 6:57PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

In the last heat wave I did not worry about leaving windows open. A chihuahua Maltese mutt knows when lady bugs walk across the street.

You will never miss a knock at the door or a gate opening for sure. And not so much of a concern about eating the neighbors instead of warning about them

    Bookmark   May 22, 2014 at 7:32PM
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Dachshunds work too.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 8:15AM
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ilovemytrees(5b/6a Western, NY)

Why not try to do the right thing and do something to help stop the runoff? Good grief. Just because he's a jerk doesn't mean you shouldn't respect what he's going through, don't you have a conscience?

Just because he's had problems with other neighbors doesn't absolve you of at least trying to mitigate the intrusion of all that runoff.

It makes absolutely no sense to sit in your house and stew over this, call the police repeatedly, and go out and buy cameras when you can call a contractor to see what you can do to stop the runoff.

I would be livid if I was in this guy's position and saw that my neighbor did NOTHING to alleviate the situation. No, I would not tresspass anyone's property, but I would be finding out what my options were....

"He climbs the fence to wonder our yard to see what we have done. Of course, we have done nothing. Why would we???"

Because you are a human being with a brain, and you don't live in a bubble. You could do something about it, however, you've made the choice not to, so how is that working out for you?

Use your problem solving skills, and do something about it.

This post was edited by ilovemytrees on Fri, May 23, 14 at 8:40

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 8:34AM
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ilovemytrees, it's not my responsibility to make sure water doesn't run into his pool. The city, the HOA, and the police have all told me it's up to him to fix the problem, not me. Furthermore, had he come to me initially when the problem first happened and spoken to me nicely and had an adult conversation then we would have helped where we could. But when the very first thing he did was to come into our yard repeatedly and then proceed to knock on my door screaming, yelling, cussing and threatening me,,,,well, I have no desire to help him out what so ever. We are excellent neighbors and if any of our other neighbors had this issue, we would be doing what we could to help them. However, I do not extend myself to help people who are abusive and don't abide by the laws. He needs to be arrested. I don't even know what we can do to help. We don't do anything to cause the run off. There is only about 12 inches of space by the fence so planting trees is not a possibility. I could plant a few plants but then I have to water with a hose on a regular basis which we may not even be allowed to do as our city is strongly considering going to only twice/month watering. And why would I want to plant plants that I don't even want knowing it's going to require water when we are in such a severe drought right now? We probably won't be able to water enough to keep our lawns alive, much less newly planted plants. I'm glad you aren't my neighbor. You sound like you may be just like him, always expecting others to solve your problems. He built his pool at the bottom of a hill. Why would anyone do that and not consider the possibility of water running downhill into their pool? How is it fair that it is now a problem I must solve? I can stand on my back porch and easily see the water in his pool, even with a 6 foot fence between us. That's how low his pool is! He will need to come up with a solution or continue to get water in his pool during very heavy rains, which has only happened twice in 2 years.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 3:52PM
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And whose to say it's your dirt in his pool? He doesn't have dirt in his yard? This guy is a jerk and I agree with the police, this is texas buddy and the people I know would shoot first and ask questions later. Plant a New Dawn, killer thorns. Good luck. I would suggest a game camera too.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 9:47PM
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Dachshunds work too.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 7:35AM
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I think it's pretty easy- too easy- to get caught up in the blame game. Your neighbor thinks he is a victim, and that his victimhood justifies his trespassing on your property. From what you've described, he doesn't sound dangerous, but more like someone who doesn't have a clue about social interactions of any kind. Of course, living near someone who's not being able to recognize boundaries is scary, but I didn't hear you describe him as violent.

I kinda like the suggestion of writing him a letter, but I would take a different tack.

1) Agree with him that he's a victim, by sympathising with his plight: "It is really unfortunate that the contractor who installed your pool didn't alert you to the inevitable problems resulting from run-off due to poor siting"... something along those lines. So, yes, he is a victim, but someone else is to blame- not him, and certainly not you!

2) Offer friendly advice regarding solutions. You are a gardener- he may have no idea that he can fix the problem himself by planting appropriate erosion-controlling plants on HIS SIDE of the property line. If erosion control isn't your area of expertise, you could ask for zone-appropriate advice at one of these forums- the native plant forum might be a good source? But the point is that you can offer him free advice about how to fix the problem on his own. Give him a list of things he can plant (and that you wouldn't mind seeing from your side of the fence!) that can keep dirt from washing into his pool.

Keep the tone of the letter civil, if not friendly, and don't undermine your effort with an accusatory or threatening tone. The point is to try to defuse a situation that is bothering both of you without trying to assess where the blame lies.

Once you have a letter drafted, get it vetted by someone from your HOA to get a second opinion about its legal appropriateness, and also so that they know you're making an effort to help your neighbor, even though they agree with you and the police that the situation is not your fault.

I sure hope you are able to find some way to resolve the situation so that he doesn't feel like he needs to keep monitoring- and trespassing on- your property.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 3:58PM
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My guess, he'd poison a dog. I'd try the restraining order, maybe buy a BB gun.


    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 4:18PM
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