Is there a way to speed up the construction of the house next to mine?
August 13, 2009 3:30 PM   Subscribe

Is there a way to speed up the construction of the house next to mine?

The city-owned house next to mine (attached) has been under construction for over a year. The contracting company is apparently notorious for these long affairs, and judging from the other houses in the neighborhood that have their signage, there's no end in site. And the property is getting worse - every week there's more trash in front and on the side of it, windows are getting broken and the plywood covering some of the windows is slowly coming undone. I'm calling the company (and 311) as much as possible to complain about rats, open doors, racoons, etc. to try to set a precedent, but I'm not sure it's going anywhere. The house goes for weeks/months without ever being worked on. I need it finished before a crackhead sets it on fire (which would take my house with it), and so I can get some new awesome neighbors. Plans/schemes to get the ball rolling? I'm in Brooklyn.
posted by hellbient to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It all depends on what the hold-ups are. I am not familiar with city-owned housing construction, but I doubt there's issues with the design at this point in the progress. Usually, the building designs are reviewed and approved well before things get built, and building delays are because of building errors that don't comply with building codes, or issues of money to pay the workers and for the materials.

I'm betting on money being the issue. How is this funded?

If you want to know the time-lines, see if you can get ahold of the contractor. They probably hire sub-contractors for various elements of the building, but they should know rough timelines for the project
posted by filthy light thief at 3:41 PM on August 13, 2009

Keep bombarding your council rep about the awful eyesore/hazard right next door to you. Keywords: vermin, graffiti, drugs, return on investment, chance to expose possible contractor malfeasance and get the rep a photo op...
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 3:49 PM on August 13, 2009

Do you have homeowner's insurance (does it cover fire)?

Move your valuables out, pay a bum to torch the site under construction, accidentally leave incidental amounts of accelerant in your home, claim the insurance, move to a place with as many neighbors as you want. (IANYFL (fraud lawyer))

Follow the council rep suggestion above and use the phrase "how far does this have to go before something gets done about it?". After you have the answer to that question, you make sure that it goes that far or farther.

There may be some kind of grievance you can file if you can prove that the state of the neighboring home is substantially impacting your ability to sell your home. I can see where you might be able to sue on this front for something or another.
posted by milqman at 5:12 PM on August 13, 2009

Best answer: Call your local community board. File complaint. Find out when their next meeting is. Attend meeting. Fill out speaker card, get up and speak at the meeting. Bring pictures on a piece of poster board. Outline the timeline of the project, and definitely name the contractor!

If you have concerned neighbors, bring them to the meeting, too.

After the meeting, schmooze with board members. Be nice. Someone there can get your concern on the shortlist to be addressed. Go to a few meetings. Follow-up with any contacts.

Call your council person's office. File complaint.

Honestly, tho, it shouldn't take you more than 2 meetings to get movement. You may find out what the hold-up is. If this contractor is bidding on other projects, you can speak during public comments when their next project is up for review/approval.

When word filters through that there is an unhappy neighbor, the project next door will probably be completed in short order. The contractor wants to maintain their good standing and continue to be awarded contracts. Any politico that is doing them favors won't appreciate you kicking up a public fuss.

Just get involved in the local process and don't appear lazy about it. As long as they take you seriously (by being super organized) you should see results faster than if you continued to call 311.

In the meantime, call the Building Department and file a hazardous construction site complaint (google-fu what are serious violations in nyc and cite those items, only.) That will get you INSTANT attention. Promise.
posted by jbenben at 6:16 PM on August 13, 2009 [2 favorites]

You can probably secure the doors and windows yourself. Use screws, rather than nails, and drive them with a drill. The plywood will be much harder for weather, junkies, racoons, etc. to remove. It will also be harder for the contractor, when he gets around to doing some work. This may get a message across.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 6:28 AM on August 14, 2009

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