In Part I, I explained that social services has no authority to force a person to stop the behavior that’s causing a very foul odor to affect neighbors.
Contact your HOA. I e-mailed the president of my HOA and complained of a “sewer gas” stench coming from the access points to my water pipes, plus the baseboard heating vents. At the time I did not know that the foul odor’s source was the squalid living conditions of the neighbor.
The HOA president was in business with the HOA secretary, who was the landlord of the men who were causing the foul odor.
The HOA president said he couldn’t do anything about it, but that the landlord would be coming out next day to check the problem (which he never did). Again, at the time, I didn’t know that the neighbor was responsible for the foul smell.
The HOA was not willing to cooperate. It’s the HOA’s responsibility to enforce action on the property owner to solve this problem in a timely way. If you’re battling a reluctant HOA:
1) obtain the HOA rules and regulations and highlight every bit of language explaining the HOA’s responsibilities, 2) use e-mail so that you have a written record of all correspondence, 3) hold off on threatening legal action against the HOA because they might change their mind – as mine did.
Initially my HOA scoffed at the idea of taking action against neighbors who were causing their foul smell to internally intrude upon my home. The HOA treasurer was the landlord for tenants who lived on the other side of these foul smelling neighbors.
Though he didn’t want to lose his tenants (who had also complained), his approach was lackadaisical.
Because I did not feel that the HOA was coming on like a locomotive to fix this problem (I didn’t know it at the time, but prior to my complaints, four other tenants had complained), I wasted no time contacting the police.
Events eventually unfolded that led to the property owner changing his mind, so it never reached a point where I had to rely on anything in the HOA rules and regulations.
Nevertheless, the rules and regulations are vital to have on hand. Simply pointing them out to a reluctant HOA may be all that’s necessary to get them hopping.
In my case, the HOA president e-mailed me and said that he was going to impose a fine on the property owner if the situation was not corrected. This may be all that’s necessary to get a landlord to straighten out his tenants or evict them.
If the HOA doesn’t seem to be moving (and you’ll know this quickly enough), then call the police. In Part III, I explain how to get the police involved as much as possible when you have a neighbor living in squalor whose foul stench has invaded your property.