Real NEastate: Neighbor not shoveling snow

Q: My neighbor’s house has been for sale for the last nine months. He told me it is a short sale and has moved out. He didn’t come back to cut the grass at all in the summer. Since it’s snowed and he hasn’t come back to shovel either. It’s a short sidewalk, just three cement blocks to clear. To whom can I complain?

A: This guy has moved out and moved on. Since your neighbor is selling his home by short sale, he will not make a dime from the sale. In fact, the sale will leave the mortgage lender short, as it will be getting less than your neighbor owes for the property, hence “short sale.”

Your neighbor probably figures any money or effort he puts into this property is wasted since he won’t be getting any money if it eventually does sell. And if it doesn’t sell, it will probably be lost to foreclosure. Obviously, this guy doesn’t care very much about being neighborly either, but you could call him and see if he’ll do it.

I would call the real estate company on the sign. After all, they still want to sell it and how can they if potential buyers don’t have a clear path to the door? Hopefully the real estate agent will do the right thing and either have the walk cleared or encourage the homeowner to do it. Sometimes, however, you may run across a real estate agent who may not want to spend his or her own money on the upkeep of a house that might not sell.

In the end you could call Streets Department Customer Affairs Unit at (215) 686-5560. In Philadelphia there is a $50 to $300 fine for failure to clear a 36-inch path on the sidewalk. But if you actually want it cleared, you may have to wait until it melts or shovel it yourself.

Stacey McCarthy is a real estate agent with the McCarthy Group of Keller Williams. Her Real NEastate column appears every Wednesday on See others here. Read other NEast Philly columns here.

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