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Broken down cars & boats in neighbor's yard - what to do?

Please suggest a good way to handle this situation:

Over more than 6 years my next door neighbor has accumulated a broken truck (> 6 yrs), two broken cars (one for 5 yrs and another for 5 months), a rusted boat trailer with speed boat (5 months), and now a storage trailer. We almost never see him since he is working, volunteering, or out and about. These are all on his property, but the 3 largest ones are on our border, and several are within 50 feet of the street. The neighbor on the other side has been trying to sell her house for > 6 months without any luck!

Five years ago when I suggested that they donate the truck to NPR, I was told that they could not find the title to the truck.

Obviously, none of these vehicles are a priority. We live in a neighborhood in a town with about 18,000 people. We are not out in the country without zoning laws. My husband is about to talk to the town since he does not like conflict, and never sees the fellow.

We have a similar loser neighbor on our street. Every time she bought a new car, she’d also keep the old one, and it stayed in the driveway. She had several broken down cars and one RV with moss growing on it.

For years we talked to her and she wouldn’t see reason

So we finally contacted the city and informed them of the situation. The neighbor was given an ultimatum, and shortly after that all of the broken down vehicles were gone

Some people can’t help themselves, so you have to take matters in your own hands

This particular lady is a certified hoarder. Her garage is stacked floor to ceiling with junk. Her house is the same way. She just has little paths to get to the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, etc.

I urge you to not do anything nasty or illegal

I agree. First, find out if he can be forced to fix or move the vehicles off his property. If so and you can’t talk to the neighbor, then leave a nice note suggesting that the cars be fixed or moved. If he doesn’t respond, then go to the local government. If the other neighbors contacted him before, just go to the local authorities. He will never know which off you contacted the authorities and you shouldn’t have to worry about retaliation.

Just talk to the city. Most have ordinances against this type of thing. If not a city of this size should have. They have the power to force a clean up.

I would avoid confronting the person and just go straight to the town/city and file a complaint.
You wouldn’t want them retaliating and making life miserable for you and your family.

We had one that we called Ma and Pa Kettles place and it was the same if not worse.
They had two broken down boats and about six vehicles in non- running condition.

It would be different if these were cars that were being repaired, but none were being repaired and they all had grass 3ft high around them.

Some municipalities even require State registration or they will be ticketed.


I concur w/the above advice to contact the city rather than the owner of the vehicles. In many cases the city will try to keep the name of the person who complained confidential. If it were to turn into a court case though – like if the owner got a ticket and fought it in court – then the person’s name who made the complaint might have to be revealed. Still, I think it makes more sense to let the city handle it.

If the city has no code against it, then you could try talking to the owner. I doubt he’ll move anything just b/c you complain though. You need to give him some incentive probably. Real estate investors know these kinds of tricks and do it all the time. If there is a neighboring property that is reducing the value of their investment, they’ll buy the property next to the neighbor and rent it out to a bunch of motorcycle enthusiasts. After enough Sunday morning motorcycle tune-up sessions, the offending neighbor will list their property for sale, then the investors will buy it up at a reduced price (who wants to buy a house next to a motorcycle tune-up club?) , and build two new houses, one on the offending neighbor’s property, and another on the motorcycle property.

I lived in a place where there were 2 or 3 old rusty car engines strewn on the neighbor’s property. After a year or two they were covered by bushes and couldn’t be seen. Problem solved.

My husband is about to talk to the town since he does not like conflict, and never sees the fellow.
Not this. Your husband needs to have the courage of his convictions and demonstrate intestinal fortitude and talk to the guy, like a man. Let him know how you all feel, that he's trying to be nice about this...but he's perpared to take the next step, if and only if he doesn't get results by asking nicely. Even if neighbor dosen't see eye-to-eye on this, he'll at least having grudging respect for somebody man enough to talk straight up about the opposed to somebody who goes behind the back and rats him out.

I mean, I am shy...grew up painfully shy and conflict-averse...and even I appreciate the absolute need to "man up" and do what needs to be be done. I would go so far as to say I, as a third party, would change my sympathies in this case if it was handled poorly.

I would avoid confronting the person and just go straight to the town/city and file a complaint. You wouldn't want them retaliating and making life miserable for you and your family
LOL what? You seroiusly DON'T think they'd immediately know (or strongly suspect) the next-door neighbor did this? They'd be MORE (not less) likely to retaliate against somebody who snitched behind their back, vs. somebody who had the [guts] to stand tall and handle it like a grownup.

Unless your reality is much different from mine, @Yosemite, informers are held in contempt, and generally experience retaliation, on general principles.

Personally, I’m of the live and let live type. You’re complaining about their vehicles and maybe with some digging that neighbor may find a few violations on you too.

As to your neighbor not selling their house, maybe the reason it’s not selling is because it’s overpriced or needs a ton of TLC, or a combination of both. I’m not privy to details so…

what you see as junk, your neighbor may see as thousands in scrap value

^Well, then cash it in already! Heck, OP should have a friendly chat with neighbor and float the idea of cleaning and hauling the scrap with him, and splitting the proceeds somehow. That would say (implicitly) 1) I’m a friend, not enemy, and 2) I’ve noticed the scrap metal, and I’d be happier if it wasn’t there.

Consider how this example most likely goes over with the neighbor, versus neighbor getting a citation…and figuring out he’d been snitched on.

Why would they suspect that any neighbor reported the mess. Most cities and towns have ordinances against inoperable vehicles and machinery cluttering up a yard. Most have someone on the city/town staff that watch just for these things, Ordinance violations!!! Most cases the city/town will try to keep the name of the person who complained confidential.

The world is already full of people who use violence and that’s why I suggest going thru the proper channels.

It sounds like you @meanjoe75fan are one of those that would rather threaten the neighbor that confronts you about a concern.


I ve noticed your in my yard and my business and I d be happier if you weren t…

^NO, I wouldn’t, and I resent your implicit slur upon my character. You have zero knowledge of me and my propensity (or lack thereof) towards violence, and it is improper of you to make such remarks absent such knowledge.

“The world is already full of people who use violence and that’s why I suggest going thru the proper channels.”

Again with the implicit references to violence! Where did I say ANYTHING about “you should rough the guy up?” I said man up, go over there and tell your neighbor, honestly, your beef and why you feel that way. Tell him you want to AVOID going to the authorities, but you’ll do it, if you have to, to get results.

I’m mostly bothered that you offer the most spineless possible answer to the problem. The world is already full of spineless snitches, too, and it doesn’t need any more. Doesn’t courage and pride in personal character count for anything these days?

We had neighborhood targeted inspections, The stucco was falling off the house leaving the lathe exposed. rotting eaves with aluminum soffit dropping on our car with pigeons roosting in the attic space. we went to look at buying the place and the pigeon droppings were obnoxious, Could not breathe in the upstairs rooms.

My aunt had the same problem with the guy next door who thought that the end of the street was on his property so he could just fill it up with cars he was trying to sell. From what I understand the city did convince him to remove the cars from the end of the road but as far as all the cars and a boat on what was supposed to be a deck/patio overlooking the Columbia River it was easier to just put up a fence so that all the other stuff wasn’t visible from the house without impacting her view of the river too much. After my aunt died a few years ago the house was rented out to the daughter of a former owner who knew exactly how to handle this problem neighbor.

The building next door looked just terrible. Not because of junk in the yard, but because the paint was peeling off in sheets (some of it onto our property). It’s a small apartment building and we figured the owner would paint it eventually, but it got worse and worse. We called the city to see what laws might apply and next thing we knew they had sent an inspector our who was amazed we’d puts with it so long. He ended up ordering all kinds of repairs we hadn’t even noticed needed doing. The building owner did what was required, it looks much better, and he had no way of knowing we called in the city.

It’s very likely there are regulations against your neighbor parking wrecks all over the place. You have already hinted and suggested and shown plenty of patience. There is absolutely nothing wrong with making some calls to find out what the local regs are and who enforces them. You may find they take this sort of thing quite seriously (as we did) and that you don’t have to do much to get things started. I suspect you’re not the only ones bothered by their junk.

If I wanted to improve the appearance of my neighbors property I would offer to store some of those vehicles on my property. That wouldn’t satisfy the scenery critics. That is why we put up walls, to protect others from the view of personal possessions.

Small towns may not have a code enforcement staff, you may have to call on the county for assistance. .

First, I don’t think you need a title to junk a car.

Second, if the OP knows there is a problem with the title, doesn’t that also mean he has discussed the issue with the guy? If he has, then the next step is the city/township/county/whatever. If they can’t deal with the problem, then there’s no dealing with it.

“Talk like a man” " man up"
Boy, my wife and daughter would get PO’d thinking they had to “act like a man” to get things like this done. I would easily send one of these two out if I wanted the job done right and diplomatically. The first trip should be to do some research in local ordinances; not to the guys front door. Get armed with facts as entering that arena with out them encourages conflict. I don’t have the patience…they both do and neither has to “man up” to “get’r done”.

QuoteIt sounds like you @meanjoe75fan are one of those that would rather threaten the neighbor that confronts you about a concern.

I never said that you would turn Violent over this type of situation…I said threaten.
I purposely worded it that way to get this reaction. You flew off the handle at the word "threaten"
so don’t you think it’s likely that the hoarder will take their suggestions the same way.

Maybe I did cross the line and I apologize if you took this comment as an insult.

Just because they come to the door to talk about this, the hoarder may threaten to have them arrested for trespassing. Then when they complain to the city/ town/county, the hoarder will definitely know who complained. Then who’s tires get slashed, water in the gas or scratched up car and no way to prove it’s the neighbor.

I have two neighbors that feud all the time and it’s just crazy.
One mowed a little over the lot line and the other but in a line of rocks to keep the neighbor on their own side. Heck I would have gone out there and offered that they should mow all the way to my house. The less I have to mow the better.

Normally people that hoard wrecked vehicles and such all over their yard have zero regard for any neighbor or pride in the neighborhood, and are not about to clean things up unless they have to. No neighbor will have that power, but the city /town /county has.

I’ts not spineless, it’s just a safe way to handle someone that you hardly know. Remember they rarely see the man.