Find Out If You Have a Nasty Neighbor Before Moving
A buyer sued a seller for not disclosing information about a nasty neighbor.
April 2, 2008 — -- When Glenn Melton purchased a home for his daughter in Phoenix in 2005, he thought he was giving her the keys to an American dream.
But the 1,000-square-foot starter home on a quiet, tree-lined street turned into a nightmare when Melton met the next-door neighbor, a woman who he claims screams and yells at passersby.
Melton contends that the neighbor is a nuisance and that he later learned that she had called the police with complaints hundreds of times and was arrested for disorderly conduct after pelting the home's seller with potatoes just five days before closing.
Melton, a real estate agent, asked seller Nathan Thinnes to take the home back. When Thinnes refused, Melton sued him because he believes Thinnes should have disclosed information about the nasty neighbor before he signed on the dotted line.
"This case is a little different. It involves conduct of a neighbor who may or may not have risen to [a] level where disclosure was necessary," said Phoenix real estate lawyer Richard Keyt.
Like most states, Arizona has a disclosure law requiring a seller to reveal any nuisance that could affect a sale and the state Superior Court now will decide who is right.
Melton and Thinnes were not the only people to have problems with the neighbor.
"About a year ago, she broke two windows in my house," said Frank Zampino.
"She would go in the backyard, take things out and smash them in the street," said one woman who asked not to be identified. "Then she'd stand in front of her house and scream obscenities."
Even with that, Thinnes' attorney said the case has no basis.
"[Melton] can't point to any past cases that say neighbors or their disturbances are something that needs to be [disclosed]," said Thinnes' attorney Geoffrey Kercsmar. "Did he need to disclose that he had a confrontation with her? Did he need to disclose she uses swear words?"
According to the Arizona Republic, Thinnes struggled with whether or not to tell potential purchasers about his rude 40-something neighbor, but was told by his real estate agent not to do so. The agent denied giving any such advice and Thinnes is suing him.
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