Dealing with nightmare neighbors
Home sweet home -- for many it's your biggest financial investment and you work hard to take good care of your home.
But for some people, nuisance neighbors make home life a nightmare.
"It's an eyesore," said Dan Beach.
That's how Dan described his next door neighbor's home that has old air conditioning units, furniture, junk and piles of debris littering the property.
"I spend a lot of time with my property and I like to keep it up, and to have the property next door look crummy, it's really, really hard," said Beach.
"Have you tried to talk to your neighbors?" asked News 6 Investigator reporter Eryka Washington.
"Of course, I always do," said Beach.
That's where Orange County Code Enforcement stepped in.
Chief Officer Bob Spivey recommended calling 311 to report any concerns. You can be anonymous.
"Most of our complaints involve junk vehicles. Overgrown lots could be substandard housing and zoning," said Spivey.
He said within 24 hours your complaint is investigated by a code enforcement officer. Homeowners in violation are notified, and must comply or pay a fine. If they don't, they can get fined up to $200 daily or $1,000 for a repeat offense. If they don't pay, a lien can be placed on their home.
News 6 visited a home in Orlando that's on Code Enforcement's violation list. Overflowing trash cans, stacked coolers and debris cover the entire front porch.
Brett Black received code violation notice.
"Do you feel like you should clean up your yard?" Washington asked.
"Well, I usually keep it pretty clean," said Black.
"It's a little messy right now, sir," said Washington.
"Yes, it is," Black said.
"Can you understand your neighbors' concerns, sir?" asked Washington.
"Yeah," said Black.
"So Code Enforcement did let you know? Are you going to clean up?" Washington asked.
"Yeah," Black said.
Even in upscale neighborhoods like Keene's Pointe, where most properties are immaculate, a house has been cited for trash, junk and debris.
"Some of the neighbors have complained about code violations. We wanted to come to you and ask you. Do you have any response?" Washington asked the alleged violator.
The homeowner had nothing to say and slammed the door.
Lorenzo Williams is a supervisor at the 311 call center.
"Most of the calls are not people who are mean-spirited or trying to retaliate," he said. "They are asking for help. They see something that they feel is wrong."
Code Enforcement marked one home as an "unsafe structure," which is a violation. But the owner who lives in the mobile home had few words for News 6.
The unidentified man said, "You don't have to film me, you're here to film the house."
"You're standing directly in front of the house, sir," Washington said.
"No, I'm not," said the man.
"Yes, you are, sir," said Washington.
To avoid conflict, you can take a photo of a violation and send it to code enforcement anonymously through their app called OCFL311.
Brian Rogers said his issue with his neighbor's home isn't with the aesthetics.
"There is literally 30, 40, 50 cars on any given night," said Rogers.
His nightmare is what he calls "shady activity" next door.
Rogers said, "We really started to see a lot of high traffic going in and out (at) all hours of the night."
It's so gotten so bad, Rogers said he has contemplated moving to get away from his neighbor.
"I've been out there and taken down license plate numbers, which is probably going to get me shot one of these days," said Rogers. "You got to do what you got to do."
News 6 contacted the Orange County Sheriff's Office and they recommended residents call 911 if they see illegal activity. You can also report to Crimeline.
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