What if you’d bought a house in a good neighbourhood, moved in, and then realized that you had a major rat problem caused by the old ladies next door? The LA Weekly tells of Scott and Liz Denham, who had that very problem: Unchallenged by Health Officials, Elderly Twins Fed Local Vermin Population.
"You start to realize that, as you go to that property, ‘Wait a minute. Something isn’t right here,’" says Scott. He hadn’t paid much attention to the house next door. But now, he noticed, "You couldn’t see in any of the windows. I don’t know if it was tarp, but it wasn’t just curtains. It was blacked out. You couldn’t see in the house. The front door was rotted."
When he crept closer,the odor — "a urine stench" — was "unbearable." By the end of their first long weekend in the Palisades, Liz was stressed out, peering at shadows. The more she peered, the more rats she saw. Standing in her own master bedroom, she found herself at eye level with a group of rats who clearly had a routine, slipping methodically in and out of drains and cracks on her neighbors’ outside wall.
She saw three rats squeeze out of a roof drain in a precision, shoulder-to-shoulder group, Ratatouille-style. Another rat pack traveled along the dusty, reeking hedge on the property line. The hedge was a rat highway, and it swayed under its commuters’ weight. [continue]
I love the way the writer of this article, Max Taves, includes information from so many different sources. Hurrah, Max! A fascinating read.
Stories like this make me want to climb on my soapbox to give my one piece of house-shopping advice: go interview the neighbours before you buy a house. They’ll tell you if there are crazy old ladies feeding rats, or if the dog-breeder down the street lets her 74 hounds yip and howl for hours. People selling a house don’t want you to know these things, so they’ll try to arrange it so that you don’t find out. Ask questions, and walk through the neighbourhood at different times of the day when you don’t have an appointment.
We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.
Excellent advice. We drove by our prospective house (the one we didn’t buy) at all hours of the day and night. Didn’t need to talk to the neighbors; it was crossed off our list when we were treated to all-hours boombox “concerts”–and I do think talking to the neighbors, in the guise of introducing oneself to the neighborhood, or frankly just wanting to dish the dirt, is an excellent idea.
The house I have now? I was told it was noisy because it’s across the street from an elementary school, but in reality it is only noisy for a few minutes in the morning and about half an hour after dismissal time. Not bad at all.
For an investment in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, it’s well worth the effort. I agree.