DEAR BOB: One of the reasons I am selling my house is the noisy neighbors next door. They are a “hippie couple” who are normally quiet during the weekdays. But on some weekends, their loud motorcycle gang friends come to visit to drink and do drugs. I had to call the police on several occasions. The results have always been warnings with no arrests or further legal action. However, every time I phone the police, the neighbors become quiet until their next party. Now that my home is listed for sale, do I have to disclose to my buyers that I live next door to hippies who have motorcycle friends who drink and do drugs? These folks are renters but the owner is a relative, if that makes any difference –Ellen H.
DEAR ELLEN: You ask an extremely difficult question to which there is no right or wrong answer. Many real estate agents and attorneys would say, “If in doubt, disclose.”
Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.
Also, the fact you called the police on several occasions indicates this is a serious problem. I notice your letter comes from a state that requires written disclosures of home defects.
If I were in your situation I would carefully disclose the situation such as “Neighbors occasionally become noisy,” which is the truth. Ask your real estate attorney for further details.
LACK OF RENTERS IS A BIG PROBLEM
DEAR BOB: We recently bought the house next door to our residence when it became available in a probate sale. Our goal was to control who lives next door to us. However, we are having trouble finding renters with decent credit and references. We have run newspaper ads, Internet ads on craigslist.org, and even notices on nearby supermarket bulletin boards. We set the rent at just enough to cover our mortgage payment, property taxes and insurance. So far, the only serious applicants are welfare tenants who want us to accept Section 8 government subsidies. In reading the newspaper classified ads, it appears there is an oversupply of rentals in our middle-class area. What should we do? –Marvin S.
DEAR MARVIN: Perhaps your rent is too high. In many communities, there is an oversupply of residence rentals and an undersupply of qualified tenants. The result is declining rents.
Just because you set the rent at the total of your monthly expenses doesn’t mean the rental value of that house equals that total.
However, if the local Section 8 housing authority is willing to pay the rent you seek, don’t make an outright rejection. Check out the subsidized tenant as you would any other applicant. Personally, my very best and very worst tenants were on Section 8.
NO AUTOMATIC RIGHT TO EASEMENT OVER NEIGHBOR’S LAND
DEAR BOB: We recently bought a rural six-acre parcel with a house. At the time of purchase, we didn’t realize how difficult the access is. Only after we moved in did we realize if we could drive over a neighbor’s land for about 500 feet we would have easy access to the rural road. When we politely asked our neighbor, he said “Absolutely not.” But then I recently read in your article about an “easement by necessity.” Can we get such an easement over the neighbor’s land? –Marvina E.
DEAR MARVINA: An easement by necessity is only available for a landlocked parcel with no road access. It is not obtainable for a parcel that has access to a public road, although that access might be inconvenient.
Unless your deed refers to an easement over your neighbor’s land, since you already have access, although it is inconvenient, you have no legal right to an easement by necessity. For full details, please consult a local real estate attorney.
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