View Full Version : Overreacting to neighbors children?

08-19-2003, 07:00 AM
Please tell me if I'm overreacting here!

Our house and our neighbor's house are rather close together. We have a long paved driveway and they have a gravel driveway. Our garage fronts to the side of their house. We've been hearing from neighbors for months that when we're not home, their kids ride their bikes up/down our driveway.

Well, last night it stormed (surprise) so we put down the garage door. An hour or so later we went out the front door to take a walk and they were riding their bikes on the driveway. The parents are on their side porch looking on. I said, "Chuck, they really shouldn't ride in our driveway, we don't want them to get hurt riding on it." and he gets defensive and says, "Well, they've never done it before." (What difference this makes, I don't know.) We walked on.

When I drove out this a.m., there are black bike skid marks in the driveway!

Here are my issues: 1. I/we don't want to be held liable if they get hurt on our property. 2. We're trying to sell the house and want to keep things neat! 3. It's just aggravates me that they do this when they think we're not around.

So I thought I would call them and say "If you could ask Jacob & Heather not to ride their bikes in our driveway we would appreciate it. We are trying to get the house sold and keep things neat and attractive and we have bicycle skid marks in our driveway now. Also, we don't want the liability or responsibility if something happened to your children while on our property."

Background(if it matters): we're really not close with these people. Last August the wife ran off with some guy to New Mexico. By Christmas, the husband had a new chickee living with him. Now the wife is back, the chickee is gone, and everything is like nothing happened and the whole neighborhood is uncomfortable around them because they're acting like everything is back the way it was before it all happened.

Am I overreacting and trying to make something out of nothing? Thanks, guys.

08-19-2003, 07:02 AM
IMHO (yeah, like I've got any "humble" opinions :), if you were staying, it would be different. You're moving, so let it go. I know that's a whole lot easier to say than it is to do, especially since your request and the way you want to put it is so reasonable, but I've never heard of a house sale not taking place because of skid marks from a bike; and you don't want to escalate the problem while you are trying to sell.

08-19-2003, 07:40 AM
If it's bothering you enough to make a post to the BB, then I would say something. Let's face it, your moving and sounds like you could care less if they ended up hating you!!!!!! I wouldn't worry so much about the skid marks, but the liability would worry me too. So go ahead and speak your mind.

08-19-2003, 07:57 AM
It is bothering me. But little things usually bug me more than the big stuff does. Go figure. But that's why I asked for more objective viewpoints before doing anything. I wouldn't want them to hate us over it, it's not major. Thanks for your opinions on it.

08-19-2003, 08:07 AM
I'd say something to the parents. Maybe we're both overreacting, but to me it is a big issue.

I have a big issue with people in my yard w/o permission. This includes children & adults. Don't get me started on the tree cutting guy who asked if we want some trees cut down only AFTER I asked him why he was wandering around my back yard!!!!

Yes, you can be held liable for an injury on your property even if you had no knowledge that someone was on your property and/or they did not have permission to be there.

Frankly, IMHO parents who watch their kids play in a neighbor's yard without permission and/or when said neighbors are not home are also the ones more likely to sue said neighbors when (yes I mean when) their child is injured on their property.

Yes, I'm a meanie. :D


08-19-2003, 08:14 AM
And one more thing to consider. Make them mad and they just might try to sabotage the selling of your home.

We have been complaining about our neighbor's dogs. So, my son had his first party in the 20 years of his life. We were here. In fact, at the time, my husband was outside sitting around the pool with them, talking. The guy called the police on them. The policeman came and was a little surprised that he didn't hear more as he drove up. He said it wasn't what he was expecting. And told the kids, Wel, just continue to hold it down and it shouldn't be a problem. My husband had commented on how impressed he was with the kids. It was a very low keyed party. Of course the guys dogs were barking,to beat the band, like they always do. But the guy sent a message. Complain about my dogs and I can make it miserable for you.

So, what I am saying...do what you feel you have to do.Call the town manager to see what your rights are. You might want to put a no trespassing sign up and tell your potential buyers, it is to keep 'lookers' away when you aren't home, maybe?

Good luck! Neighbors fall into two categories....a blessing or neighbors from HELL!:mad: GGRRRRRR

08-19-2003, 11:44 AM
While I don't think you are overreacting, I kind of think you can let it go. You have already told your neighbor that you don't want the kids in the driveway due to liability issues. So...hopefully it won't happen again, if it hadn't happened before (but right what was the point of his response). If it does happen, I think you just need to be clear about it again.

08-19-2003, 12:52 PM
you should document that you have spoken with them about their children in your driveway in a polite letter, reiterating your feelings. Don't be mean, but clearly state that for liability reasons, you feel uncomfortable with their chidren riding bikes on your property. I doubt a paved driveway would be fall into the same category as an ungated swimming pool, but these days, who knows. If they can try to sue fast food places for obesity, there is no limit...

We had a problem with a neighbor's son taking a short cut through our yard. they were furious when we sent them a letter about it. they knew but never asked if it was OK. (we accidentally discovered large footprints in the snow & followed them)
writing a letter is the lowest level thing you can do, but if other issues arising from this, you have documented and dated your position on the problem. Letters work best cause there is no confusion about who said what to whom and when. you can also choose your words more carefully than in a telephone conversation you might make when you are very annoyed.

08-19-2003, 01:24 PM
Thanks for all your responses. I know it's a little thing in the scheme of it all but it just bugs me. I think we're going to wait and see what happens. I hate confrontation (and I hope they do too) and we've made our wishes clear. If we see it or hear about it again (we have neighbors who really watch things) then we'll do the phone call and follow up with a letter to document it.

We certainly don't want to sabotage the sale of the house (the neighbor already lets his grass get knee high before he cuts it).

DH said he was going to make a point of going out to the driveway tonight to "scrub" at the skid marks. (Neighbors kitchen window faces our driveway.)He says they'll go away on their own pretty fast but he's hoping to make the point clear that we know the marks are there and we know why they are there. Hopefully that's all it will take.

I hope I can instill in my children to respect other people's property and to ask permission, and even when you know the answer will be "yes", to ask anyway for politeness sake and not take advantage of a situation or person.