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Disclaimer: Bryan Church’s Real Estate Corner is not presented or intended to be used as investment, legal, tax, or as any other advice and should not be used as a basis for any type of decision.  Consult a professional before making any decisions.  

The Story of the “Crazy Lady and the Junk Man”

Another story that comes to mind is “The Crazy Lady and the Junk Man.” As you may have noticed, I like to give nicknames to interesting people I meet in my travels. In this instance, a home seller decided to sell his single-family home. His neighbor across the street was a problem because his home was a real mess. His wife was locally known as “The Crazy Lady” because of her frequent trips to the mental hospital. All the neighbors were convinced that her husband “The Junk Man” was the cause of all her troubles. The Junk Man was a real character. One of his goals in life was to own a junkyard, and he was successful—his own backyard! He liked to store old, beat-up used tires in his backyard. His one apparent ambition in life was to one-up the notorious Wesley Tire Fires that occasionally occur east of San Francisco.

He always kept at least five old jacked-up cars in his front yard because, according to him, he didn’t have room in the backyard because of all the tires. He also kept an old beat-up RV in the front yard where his relatives could stay, and frolic, and maybe never go home.

It was impossible to determine the outside color of The Junkman’s home—because it had been so long since it had been painted—if ever, and it was built during the 1960s. The Junkman also liked to keep a couple of incredibly huge, mangy, and vicious mongrels running around to protect his treasure trove from “thieves.” This was another name for the county authorities who were constantly trying to get him to clean things up.

With neighbors like The Crazy Lady and the Junk Man you might think that some stiff CC&Rs might be used to get him to clean up his place—or sell it and move away. However, the subdivision where he was located had been built many years ago and had very weak CC&Rs. There was also no HOA, or provision for one, to enforce the CC&Rs. The Crazy Lady and the Junk Man’s neighbors were powerless to enforce the CC&Rs and get him to clean up his home. The Crazy Lady and the Junk Man’s mess caused a lot of homes located in the area to lose value because of the appraisal principle of regression. Houses located around The Crazy Lady and the Junk Man tended to seek the level of the Junkman’s house and reduce in value. The local authorities repeatedly asked him to clean up his place, but he ignored their requests and was as stubborn as ever.

The authorities next tried to get his attention by levying fines against him for his infractions. Since he didn’t have any money to pay the fines, he laughed at that too. The last straw was when the authorities placed liens against his home. He still did nothing and let the fines accumulate. He said he wasn’t intending to sell the property anyway, so who cares about a bunch of pesky little fines? The neighbors were never able to get The Crazy Lady and the Junk Man to clean up their property. As far as I know, their home still remains in the same dilapidated condition. Someone said that “Death and taxes are the only two certain things in life.” It appears The Junkman has so far been able to escape both.


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