Should this bother me?

I live in a duplex.

My attached neighbor is missing a window. Not just the glass, but the whole window, frame and all. She has a big gaping hole in her wall.

It’s been this way for about a year and and a half. I mentioned it to her when I saw it, although since it was winter I was pretty sure she’d notice. There had been plastic up, which I had thought was just plastic over an existing window for extra insulation. The wind tore the plastic and then I could see that was all that has been there.

She rents (for free, stipulation of a will that says she can live there for free as long as she wants).
The landlord was replacing a broken window, the installer dropped the new window and it’s been that way ever since.

I asked her if she isn’t worried about her stuff being ruined and she said no, she’s covered everything with plastic and put a tarp on the floor, turned off the heat in that room and shoved towels under the door.

Doesn’t sound too good to me.

My concern is, since we are attached, how much damage could spread to my house. All the rain and melting snow has to go somewhere. What about mold and rotting wood? I know from looking at houses that temperature fluctuations do quite a bit of damage as well.

What about critters getting in? It’s a second floor window, so I’m not worried about mice, but what about bats and squirrels, which could then get into the walls between us?

We have a fire wall between us in the basement, first, and second floors. In the attic all it is a row of studs with plywood between us.

I just watched an episode of Holmes Makes it Right where Mike Holmes’ crew had to come in and replace all of the windows, siding and the plywood of a 5-year-old house that had not had its windows installed or caulked properly.

So if you live beneath her it definitely will end up being a problem as rain and snow seep down behind the siding down in to your part of the house. As for how far left or right the dampness will travel, I do not know.

I would be more worried with the total lack of concern on the behalf of the landlord and this crap neighbor. People that don’t give a shit about their own stuff certainly won’t be respectful of anybody else’s.

I’d be outta there, pronto!

Agreed. I would not want to rent from someone who would allow that type of situation to persist for a month, much less a year.

No point in badgering your neighbor, tell your landlord that it bothers you and you want to see it fixed. If he doesn’t respond, get out as fast as you can.

Talk to the landlord. Yes, this could mean serious problems for the building. Even if his tenant doesn’t want it fixed, maintaining the building is not her decision.

Don’t rule out mice or rats entering through a second story window. They are excellent climbers. They can climb brick walls and up inside your walls or in the attic. Basically, I’d worry about them before you worry about bats and squirrels because they can come in through the tiniest crack.

I own my side, bought from her landlord.
The entire house was owned by my neighbor’s sister, who died several years ago.
The entire house is part of the estate but they can’t sell that side of the house until the woman next door dies or moves out.
Who knows, they may be taking their time fixing it hoping it will make her move out more quickly.

Mostly, I’m just concerned if any water or critters could make it over to my side.

Another concern is if somebody were to break into her side, if they went into the attic it wouldn’t take more than a good kick to get into my side of the attic and into my house. I need to put a lock on the attic door soon.

That has to be a code violation. I’d call the city.

You are screwed. As said above, they are slow-motion destroying the entire building you own half of.

Get the city involved. And call a lawyer. A threatening letter to the estate / landlord might get some action. Meantime, read the fine print on your homeowner’s insurance and make darn sure not to skip a payment on it.

It’s kind of what I’m afraid of, even if it doesn’t affect my half, if that half falls down or rots away it will affect me eventually.

I really like my neighbor, she’s in her 70s, very quiet and nice. My son cuts her lawn and shovels her snow, so every now and then she pays for somebody to do both of our yards. It’s a nice surprise when you go out to shovel and find out it’s already been done.

I don’t want to make any trouble for her but it needs to be fixed.

The reason I worry about bats and squirrels is because I had a bat living in my attic - fortunately only one - and the squirrels have chewed a hole in the roof over my deck.

I live in town and I have had more trouble with wildlife here than I ever had when I lived in the country.

How the HELL can you own half a building? :confused:

This whole deal sounds waaay fishy.

Whoever is in charge of the estate is being seriously negligent about maintaining an asset of the estate. How can they expect to sell it and get a decent price (once neighbor lady moves on) if her side of the duplex is in ruins? The other heirs (if any) need to get on the executor about this issue, stat. Is the “landlord” the executor?

If she’s living there for free, she’s not renting, by definition.

No different than owning a row house, it might be one eighth or one tenth of a building.
One of more unique set ups I’ve seen is a row of townhouses in which the lowest level of each two houses made up one unit.

Sari I do think you may be dealing with a code violation. You have a vested interest in the health of the building since you are attached to it.

Here is a link to Report A Concern for your city.

At least it’s a start. If they can’t do anything you’ll know; if they can - great!

Attached houses. See these in Pamplona’s Calle de la Media Luna, for example. There are two round windows and two gates because each half of the house is independently owned.

Ever heard of a condominium? That’s basically what this is, except there are only two units involved.

Sure. I live in what is called a twin, but it is the same arrangement side by side. No fewer than eight families have lived in the attached house in the 44 years I have lived here. Fortunately, they have all maintained the other half. My son lives in such a house and it is called a condo legally. Mine isn’t. But nothing fishy about it. I think there is only one single house on my street.

Get a city inspector out there. NOW.

Unless the place is so far gone that the City will condemn it and raze it.

Eventually (as in, 2 months MAX) you may wish to look into having a cheap (HD is good for “Cheap” and little else) window tacked up and 4 boards to cover the gap.

A GOOD handyman could handle this but, since it is on the second floor, I’d be inclined to find a glazier with a truck with the name Painted on and a glass-hauling rack in back.
By the time they get to that point, I’d trust them to have a ladder and the phone number of a reliable pair of hands.