Bianca Knows Best ...

... and Helps a Neighbor in Need

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Dear Bianca,

I haven’t spoken to my next-door neighbor in three months. We’ve been neighbors in the same apartment complex for over a year now, and we were pretty tight up until a falling out several months ago.

It started when he began leaving full trash bags inside the apartment corridor for days at a time. He’d set his trash outside his front door (which is right next to mine) and leave it for days. He also stopped cleaning his apartment at some point, and suddenly roaches appeared in my kitchen. I confronted him about cleanliness and accused him of causing roaches to creep into the building.

We had a huge screaming fight and we haven’t spoken since. He has continued to leave trash in the corridor and the stench of cat poop coming from his place is now unbearable. Obviously, our fight did nothing to stop the problem. What can I do?

— The Clean Neighbor

Dear Clean Neighbor,

This guy sounds like the neighbor from hell. Nobody wants to live next door to a dirty, smelly apartment, especially one that’s breeding roaches. Gross.

It’s interesting that the guy only stopped cleaning his house a few months ago. If he wasn’t dirty when you two were getting along, perhaps he is suffering from some kind of depression. Have you noticed a change in his demeanor (other than the fact that he’s not speaking to you) as well?

If you suspect there’s something more than sheer laziness going on, maybe you should try apologizing for the spat. Ask him how he’s doing, and if there’s anything he’d like to talk about. Since you’ve been angry at one another for so long, it may take time to regain his trust.

If you offered friendship again, maybe the guy would open up to you. If he’s depressed and has no one to talk to, that could be the source of the problem. Offering him a sympathetic ear could help elevate his mood, and maybe even lead to him cleaning up his act.

If this doesn’t work, however, don’t hesitate to complain to your landlord or property management company. Being a tattletale certainly won’t help bridge relations with the guy, but if they threaten him with eviction, he might hasten toward cleaning up his place. If you’re worried about retaliation, complain anonymously in a snail-mailed letter to the building’s owner.

Got a problem? E-mail Bianca at bphillips@memphisflyer.com.

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