My Neighbor is Harassing Me. What Can I Do?

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‘I have lived on my property for 30 years. A family moved in two lots down from me about 4 years ago. The man made himself a nuisance right away, coming over every time I would get home. If I wasn’t outside, he’d beat on the door . My yard is fenced and he would climb the fence. When I was not at home he would burn his trash in my “burn barrel.” That was the last straw. I confronted him about being in my yard when I was not home, he got angry and has been vindictive since.

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

I have a horse and put her (with me being present) in the ditch in front of my house to eat some grass. He stopped in my driveway and asked if I was going to leave her there since there was no place for her to run. I informed him it was not his business and to move on. He became verbal and physical, attempting to hit me. For several days, he would stop in front of my house looking around in my yard.

A few days later, someone from the Zoning Board came and asked if I had a building permit for the addition I’d done on my house. I have to admit I did not have a permit. Since I live in the country, a lot of the residents build things with no permit and nothing is ever said. I knew right away who had complained. Just for spite, this man two doors down had. Not to worry though, as I went and obtained a building permit. After that he called and complained about my cook shed (kitchen and bathroom). This shed has been there for 25 years; no one ever complained.

The next day I went and talked with the sheriff and completed an incident report on everything that he had done. They knew of him well. I was informed that his son was just out of prison was living there and his step-daughter’s boyfriend who was just out of jail was living there.

Now the Zoning Board is telling me that I am in violation of the code by my shed being too close to the property line and I have to move it (the posts are in concrete). All of this because of a jerk who likes to make trouble.

Now today, he and his son are in his golf cart, continuously riding up and down the road, yelling.

My question: Is there anyway that I can stop the Board from forcing me to move my shed? Also how do I get this man to leave me alone?’

Unfortunately, your position with the Zoning Board is independent of who brought you to their attention and why. Either you are in violation of the local ordinances or you’re not, and you’ll need to deal with them
on that basis. Before you actually move any permanent structures, you should inquire whether it is possible to get a variance to allow this longstanding but non-conforming use to continue.

As for your neighbor, difficult neighbors are always a tough problem, because you’re still neighbors afterward. You could match him tit for tat, but that tends to make things escalate, and that’s worse for both
of you.

You made a good start by discussing this with the Sheriff, and obviously to the extent he does something illegal that’s the route to take. For just nuisance behavior, your ultimate option is to file a civil lawsuit. This can be expensive, and shouldn’t be undertaken lightly (again, he’ll still be your neighbor at the end of the lawsuit), but consulting with a local attorney and possibly sending him a cease and desist letter might be the next step if talking to him directly continues to not work.

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Author: House Attorney

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