Dear Edith: Recently, a man with a toddler moved into the apartment next door to me, and since then, I haven't had any peace. I've tried to be understanding, but the plain fact is I don't want to live next door to this noisy kid and I was here first. Do I have any rights in this situation? -- S.
Answer: You can certainly make a fuss to your landlord. I'm not sure there's much he or she could do, though. Except for designated senior residences, landlords are not allowed to discriminate against tenants on the basis of children.
Perhaps you have an artistic quilt or rug you could hang as a decoration on the adjoining wall to deaden some of the noise. Beyond that, it's either live with it or move.
You didn't say whether you're bound by a lease. A lawyer might have advice about whether your not receiving "quiet enjoyment" would justify breaking a lease without any penalty.
Edith: We need your opinion/advice/wisdom on the following dilemma: We have been working with a Realtor for the past year to help us find a smaller home. He has been terrific and attentive. Recently, our nephew joined another real estate company and is now selling real estate. We feel that we should stick with the person who has spent so much time with us. On the other hand, a family member is a family member. The sale and purchase will be a substantial amount. In your experience, which way should we go? -- X. X.
Answer: You do have a dilemma there, and there's no simple answer. You might stick with that terrific agent to find your next home and then, when it's time to sell that home, list it with your nephew.
At that point, you might even explore the possibility of co-listing it. If both brokerage firms are willing, it is possible for two agents to share the marketing and the commission. That way, you'd have the benefit of experienced service, and your nephew might learn something along the way.
Ms. Lank: To settle my grandfather's estate, the lawyer says I need to get an appraisal of his house. Can't we just use the tax assessment figure? -- P. I.
Answer: No matter how often assessments are reviewed and how careful an effort is made to keep them in line with possible sale price, assessed value is seldom a dependable guide to market value.
You may not need to pay for an elaborate appraisal. Sometimes a simple one-page report will do.
Ivy Keeps Coming
Dear Ms. Lank: I have lived beside my neighbor for over 40 years. He has never been much of an outdoor person and does very little to keep up his yard. Years ago, before his wife died, they had ivy planted in their entire backyard. She kept the yard up, but now, all he does is mow once in a while. At one time, they had a cement basketball court installed in their backyard, but that has been covered with ivy for many years.
In the last several years, the ivy has been spreading across the property line, and I constantly have to pull it away from my yard. When I mention the situation to him and encourage him to make a permanent improvement, he sprays some Roundup along the edge. Of course, that doesn't help for long.
Recently, I noticed a large spread of ivy from his yard behind the storage shed in my yard. I have a lawn service, and I asked them to take care of it for me. I mentioned this to my neighbor, and he said he would spray, but he's up in years, as I am. I told him that my lawn service was going to take care of the ivy in my yard but that he needed to do something to correct the situation permanently. I have very little hope of that happening.
He and I are not on the outs over this, and I don't want to create an unfriendly situation, but I'm wondering whether there are any steps I can take to prevent that but still get a permanent resolution to the ivy encroachment. Any suggestions will be appreciated. -- G. H.
Answer: Your lawn service may have some suggestions. I suspect, though, that your best bet is just to let them take care it, accept the situation and relax.
Contact Edith Lank at www.askedith.com, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 240 Hemingway Drive, Rochester NY 14620.
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