Crystal lives in a nice neighborhood (And friendly. I’ve met more of her neighbors than mine). Everyone takes care of their yards and the exterior of their homes. There is no HOA. There are smaller, one-story houses like Crystal’s house, and larger, two-story houses. An attractive, one-story brick house is next-door to Crystal’s house. At a cursory glance, other than having a few crepe myrtles in need of pruning, it looked fine the day Crystal first looked at her house and made an offer. The grass was a normal height, and it didn’t draw any particular attention to itself.
A few weeks later, you couldn’t say the same. Things started to grow, and grow… Thigh-high grass now covers the front yard, all kinds of weeds are growing around and into the crepe myrtles, and a huge vine is threatening to block a drainage culvert on Crystal’s property. As the church lady would say, “It’s disgraceful.” And it is vacant.
Crystal walked down to the neighbors on the other side of the offending house and introduced herself. She asked if they knew who owned it. Boy, did she get an earful. His frustration obvious, the husband gave especially colorful details of run-ins he and other neighbors had had with the woman who owns it. I loved Crystal’s description of the husband, “Down to earth.” LOL There were a series of “discussions” with the owner: first asking her to cut the grass, then more agitated and direct conversations, and finally, after she kicked one neighbor off her property, the man stood in the middle of the street and screamed, “Cut your grass.” She apparently hates and has problems with all her surrounding neighbors. So the house sits and slowly rots. I’m not a psychiatrist, but I’m pretty sure she’s enjoying this. Who would allow an investment like that to decay? My nonprofessional opinion? A nut case.
The story goes that she got married and abandoned the house. Well, not at first. She moved to another part of town after her marriage. Her new husband wanted her to sell it, but she wanted to keep it “just in case” she ever needed a “backup plan.” During the first year, someone came every couple of weeks during the summer to cut the grass. After that it was every month or two, and now someone comes about twice a year to check on things. This has continued for seven years.
Crystal called the county. An inspector came by on Thursday. Crystal was at work, but we just happened to be there. H was digging up an ugly crabapple tree in Crystal’s front yard. The inspector said that the County’s criterion for acceptable grass growth is one-foot. He put a “warning” on the front door to cut the grass, and told H to tell Crystal to call in one week, and they will cut it. He also said that she could call them anytime it reaches one foot and they will cut it. I know her. She will be out there measuring it with a ruler. I’m sure they will bill the homeowner for this maintenance. The neighbor on he other side of the house told Crystal that the county put a lean on her door once. He assumed it was because she hadn’t paid for pervious grass cuttings.
The neighbor told Crystal that a tree from her yard fell in their backyard and their Homeowner’s Ins. had to pay for the damage. He said there’s still a huge gap in her fence that she has never repaired, and the weeds are hip-deep back there. Nature is reclaiming it. The inspector said he was only allowed to go as far as the front yard. He could not look at or do anything about the backyard, which means Crystal will have to deal with the vines growing through her fence. We have a robust real estate market here. Houses in that price range are snapped up as soon as they hit the market. Crystal’s neighbor told her that the guy who owned her house went next-door and cut the grass before he put the house on the market.