I’ve seen the future and you can’t afford it

Posted: June 4, 2011 in City of Phoenix, Personal
Tags: ,

UPDATE:  The City has backed off and acknowledged the property does not violate City codes.  My ex is living there and maintaining the property while I live in another part of the city with the kids.  All is well and for once, no one tried to take advantage of my situation. Maybe there is hope after all.

I received a letter today from the City of Phoenix that I am in violation of city ordinances at my old house.  Evidently an inspector stopped by the property on June 1st.  They are threatening with fines of $2500 per violation if the issue(s) are not dealt with. The only real problem is that the letter doesn’t tell me what they actually found to be in violation and of the list of potential violations in the letter, none of them exist on the property….not now and not on the day the Inspector visited the property.

First let give you some background.   The yard had gotten out of control during the month of May with lots of overgrown weeds and a tree that had been killed the previous winter in a cold snap.  Of course, there are dead trees all over the city from the same cold snap, but I am sure those residents aren’t getting such notices.  There are also houses all over the same neighborhood that have grass and weeds about a foot high or more because they are either: 1) occupied by an elderly resident who can’t maintain the property or 2) are rental properties that neither the landlords nor the renters care about taking care of the yard.  But they aren’t getting these violation letters either.

No, my property is getting noticed because they think it is vacant and one of the neighbors complained.  Never mind that my neighbors aren’t great landscapers either.  The elderly man to the West of me set his front yard on fire one day….I still don’t know why.  The large black swathe of burnt ground remained un-repaired for months.  His backyard is an absolute wreck full of junk and falling down wooden shade fencing, etc.

The neighbors to the East of me routinely scavenge the trash of the dirt alleys behind the houses for things that I suppose they think they can reuse or sell.  So they end up with a lot of trash and crap that they pile up in an old pickup truck bed that is permanently ensconced in their back yard.  The trash can be seen over the 6 foot tall block fencing from my backyard and the alley because it often towers as high as ten feet.  Also their front yard is basically dirt with occasional weeds and crab grass that they beat back periodically with a weed wacker.  There is no other vegetation in their yard.  In fact, my front yard was all stone and had some lovely bougainvilleas plus two young trees.  The weeds and the crab grass would encroach into my yard all the time and it was impossible to keep it out for any length of time.  We were constantly spraying weed killer and digging out grass. So these trashy ass neighbors are the ones who probably complained.

But I had moved out of the home in April and I should have been maintaining the yard, nonetheless.  That I admit. So the yard was out of control in May but my soon to be ex, I will call him A for privacy’s sake, was going to re-occupy the house and take care of the yard.  So the last weekend of May, A went over there and removed the one dead tree, cut back down all the way to the stone covered ground all the grass and weeds in both the front and back yards.  He also locked the gates to the back yard, swept off the driveway, porch, sidewalks, etc.   He’d also moved back into the house and had all the utilities turned back on.

When the inspector came by on June  1, the house was occupied and it was being maintained properly.  However, he decided that there were still violations, didn’t bother to indicate what they were and left a note that City would contact us.  A. has called the inspector twice now and the Inspector has failed to call us back.  Instead I get the letter in the mail today that my yard was in violation and again there are no specifics.

The City of Phoenix has been struggling under a crushing deficit from reduced income as so many states and cities are right now.  I truly hope that they aren’t preying on the poor families that are in the unfortunate position that I face in order to get easy money through supposed violations. I plan on sending them a not so kind letter with photos of the cleaned up property and photos of my shitty neighbors’ properties for contrast.  And if they think they can fine me for non-existent violations that they never specified, they have another think coming.

  1. Nick says:

    What happened? I ended up getting one of those letters as well, and I didnt have any issues except a few leaves (which I removed now) from my neighbor who used a blower recklessly. I’m basically going over the whole yard everyday, until the 18th when they come back.

    • drangedinaz says:

      My ex moved back into the house and cleaned up the yard….he maintained it until the house got sold. Ultimately the city never followed up beyond the threat. But don’t expect that they won’t follow up….because that will be the one time they do. These kind of things almost always happen because a neighbor complains. If you are on friendly terms with your neighbors, just drop into the conversation the notice that you got from the city and how you’re on top of the situation. This will probably mollify them and nip future complaints in the bud.

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