Author Topic: Should I tell my neighbor?  (Read 8626 times)

dandarc

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Should I tell my neighbor?
« on: January 17, 2014, 05:15:57 PM »
Clicked on the wrong line of a search on the tax collector's website and turns out my neighbor has not paid property taxes since moving in 2 years ago.

Should I mention this to her (grad student from out of state) or mentally file it under "none of my business"?

olivia

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Re: Should I tell my neighbor?
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2014, 05:20:42 PM »
What kind of a relationship do you have?  I'd definitely want to know if I was inadvertently not paying my taxes, but I'd probably be pretty mortified if my neighbor was the one who told me.  Maybe she knows and doesn't care?! That's probably not the case-if she's from out of state she may just not know what exactly to do or may have assumed it was part of her mortgage payment. 

This is a tricky one…maybe an anonymous note taped to her door would do the trick. 

Eric

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Re: Should I tell my neighbor?
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2014, 05:22:25 PM »
As a long time renter, can you explain this process to me?  Is this not like another bill you get in the mail?  Or re-phrased, is it possible for her to not know?

BPA

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Re: Should I tell my neighbor?
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2014, 05:24:44 PM »
How is it possible not to know?  Does she not own the building?

luigi49

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Re: Should I tell my neighbor?
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2014, 05:27:10 PM »
It will be none of my business.  They probably know.  You will get notification if you don't pay.

Shor

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Re: Should I tell my neighbor?
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2014, 05:42:07 PM »
If it is none of your business, then you should start the note off with 'I know it's none of my business but...'

They might or might not know, because maybe they aren't the direct owner? Like if the parents owned the house/land I assume they would have the property bill be sent to them directly. Otherwise how would that work for a landlord who owns multiple properties all over the city?

Regardless, it's better to get them looking down the correct path to resolve this than to have a lien and eviction notice posted one fine summer afternoon... I assume no one appreciates those...

dragoncar

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Re: Should I tell my neighbor?
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2014, 05:46:37 PM »
If they are they owner, then I say none of your business.

If they are renting, then maybe they should know that their landlord may be on thin ice.  An anonymous letter could work.

Spork

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Re: Should I tell my neighbor?
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2014, 06:09:18 PM »
How is it possible not to know?  Does she not own the building?

I'm with BPA.  Unless there was some ridiculous snafu with the address ... or some snafu with a mortgage lender/escrow.  I guess that's possible.  (I had a lender screw it up once... BUT EVEN THEN... I KNEW!  The county was very vocal about it.)


Russ

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Re: Should I tell my neighbor?
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2014, 06:35:20 PM »
It's pretty easy to find out who owns the place; all that's on public record with the county just like the tax info. If she doesn't own it DEFINITELY let her know. If she does, depends on your relationship with her.

Shor

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Re: Should I tell my neighbor?
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2014, 06:37:07 PM »
At the end of the day, the OP has two choices:
1. Leave it alone, let the government handle things in their own way.
2. Provide a common courtesy notice to the current resident. They would look further and the OP leaves with a clear conscience.

If you were the resident, wouldn't you want to have been given the chance to look further in to a problem you weren't aware of before? They'll probably call their parents, figure out what's going on and get the issue handled so they aren't blind-sided by it later on.

If they do know of it already, they'll ignore this note just like all the other warnings they've gotten before it.

If it's a lawful person, you just helped give them a fighting chance at avoiding a disaster. If it's an ignorant person, it won't be anything they don't already know. The choice seems perfectly clear to me. Can someone please explain the 'none of my business you're gonna get punted to the curb' perspective?

dragoncar

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Re: Should I tell my neighbor?
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2014, 06:41:18 PM »
I said it before, but people keep responding about the relationship with the neighbor.  If you leave a note or whatever, she never has to know it's you.

Shor

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Re: Should I tell my neighbor?
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2014, 06:45:38 PM »
I said it before, but people keep responding about the relationship with the neighbor.  If you leave a note or whatever, she never has to know it's you.

Agreed. Wait, are people saying that if they didn't like the person they would purposefully try to help them get evicted by staying quiet? Really? You're that cold-hearted to this misunderstood 18-56 year old female who is working her way through college on out-of-state tuition?

Wait... after 1 year of permanent residence, isn't it no longer out-of-state, or does that vary by state?

luigi49

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Re: Should I tell my neighbor?
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2014, 06:56:05 PM »
At the end of the day, the OP has two choices:
1. Leave it alone, let the government handle things in their own way.
2. Provide a common courtesy notice to the current resident. They would look further and the OP leaves with a clear conscience.

If you were the resident, wouldn't you want to have been given the chance to look further in to a problem you weren't aware of before? They'll probably call their parents, figure out what's going on and get the issue handled so they aren't blind-sided by it later on.

If they do know of it already, they'll ignore this note just like all the other warnings they've gotten before it.

If it's a lawful person, you just helped give them a fighting chance at avoiding a disaster. If it's an ignorant person, it won't be anything they don't already know. The choice seems perfectly clear to me. Can someone please explain the 'none of my business you're gonna get punted to the curb' perspective?

Some people don't want their neighbors to know whats going on in their life hence the mind your own business.  Especially when you are in that close proximity.   

dandarc

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Re: Should I tell my neighbor?
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2014, 07:14:28 PM »
Thanks for the advice - sounds like the anonymous note is the way to go.

impaire

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Re: Should I tell my neighbor?
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2014, 07:15:57 PM »
I'm going to come out on the side of telling her--leaving her an out ("Oh, perhaps it's a mistake, but I clicked and ... . You may want to check with your assessor that you're not going to be in trouble for their mistake!")

And then never mention it again.

dandarc

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Re: Should I tell my neighbor?
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2014, 08:07:25 PM »
Quote
How is it possible not to know?  Does she not own the building?

Here's why I'm gonna tape a note to my neighbor's door on my way out tomorrow morning:

My now wife bought a new car in 2009.  We met shortly after this.  About a year later I went to meet her parents I think for Thanksgiving.  On the way back, she was driving and got pulled over for speeding on the interstate.  This is when we found out that:

A.  She did not have an insurance certificate in the car - at least she had insurance so this was not a big deal however the other thing . . .

B.  The car had not been registered at all - she had been unaware of this for over a year.

Amazingly, the cop let her off with a warning - I think he probably just didn't want to do the paper work.  In my wife's case, the paperwork about the car's registration had been mailed to her parents house (she too was an out of state grad student) and they didn't find it important enough to even open the letter.

So if my neighbor, who I think does own the condo, had a similar arrangement with important documents being mailed home, maybe she really doesn't know about this.

dragoncar

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Re: Should I tell my neighbor?
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2014, 09:07:07 PM »
I said it before, but people keep responding about the relationship with the neighbor.  If you leave a note or whatever, she never has to know it's you.

Agreed. Wait, are people saying that if they didn't like the person they would purposefully try to help them get evicted by staying quiet? Really? You're that cold-hearted to this misunderstood 18-56 year old female who is working her way through college on out-of-state tuition?

Wait... after 1 year of permanent residence, isn't it no longer out-of-state, or does that vary by state?

No, that's not quite what I meant.  Some people seem to be thinking that if you tell the neighbor in person, it might make things awkward (eg "why are you looking at my tax report???").  I'm just saying it doesn't have to be awkward because the neighbor doesn't have to know you know.

Nords

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Re: Should I tell my neighbor?
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2014, 10:19:11 PM »
Clicked on the wrong line of a search on the tax collector's website and turns out my neighbor has not paid property taxes since moving in 2 years ago.
Should I mention this to her (grad student from out of state) or mentally file it under "none of my business"?
I'd leave an anonymous note.  If it's anonymous then they never have to feel obligated to discuss ("defend") the situation with you.

When I bought "my first condo", I also did not pay my property taxes for two years.  It turned out that my lender was collecting my property taxes in their escrow account, but they were having cash flow problems and "borrowing" from my escrow account to make payroll.  The state never notified me there was a problem because they were pestering the lender.  The only reason I discovered the problem was because I attempted to refinance the property and found out that I was a deadbeat.

shadowmoss

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Re: Should I tell my neighbor?
« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2014, 03:53:19 AM »
I was talking to a new neighbor when a sherif's deputy, large guy with a pistol on his  hip, was noticed to be on his porch looking around the door for identifying information (this is a mobile home).  My neighbor went over and started cussing him out.  The sherif started talking about past due taxes.  The neighbor, still cussing, said he had owned the place for a month and so he didn't owe any taxes.  While the sherif was discussing the finer points of tax law I made an exit stage left and walked to some other neighbors who were outside and asked about taxes.  I bought my place about 6 months ago and no one mentioned taxes to me.  Turns out, after I called the State tax office, yes, I was delinquent.  They still had the previous owner listed as owning the place, even though I had changed the title at the DMV (again, this is a mobile home), so I never got the tax notice.  They would still take the mobile home.  The previous owner wouldn't care, she got her money.  My neighbor got hold his previous owner and she took care of it.  Turns out it was another mobile home she owns that was delinquent anyway.

The point of this is, property owners don't necessarily know about the taxes due.  Both of us came here from out of state, so we didn't even know to check for tax leins when buying these places.

marty998

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Re: Should I tell my neighbor?
« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2014, 04:53:28 AM »
Every awkward social interaction in life (indeed everything in life) comes back to a Seinfeld episode/quote. e.g. how to start a conversation:

"hey how bout those Knicks?"

"hey how bout those high Property taxes, harder to pay them these days, how do you manage them?"

Noodle

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Re: Should I tell my neighbor?
« Reply #20 on: January 19, 2014, 07:26:45 AM »
If you decide you want to tell (and if I did, I would probably preface it with one of these stories about how easy it is for tax notices to go wrong), DON"T use an anonymous note. You're trying to keep your interactions from getting awkward...but if she's the kind of person to be embarrassed, then not knowing which of her neighbors wrote the note means being embarrassed around ALL of them. I was once the recipient of a anonymous comment at work (that my boss passed on to me, to make it worse) and it was hideous. Much worse than the person coming to me in person and saying what they had to say.

Spork

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Re: Should I tell my neighbor?
« Reply #21 on: January 19, 2014, 07:56:55 AM »
You could always dummy up something fake from the county or some made-up collection agency.  Legal?  Dunno.  But it would get the job done in an anonymous fashion without the "which neighbor knows" stigma.

mushroom

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Re: Should I tell my neighbor?
« Reply #22 on: January 19, 2014, 08:32:57 AM »
Yeah, I don't think I'm a huge fan of the anonymous note either. Imagine being on the receiving end of an anonymous note - even if it was helpful, wouldn't it always bother you a little bit and make you wonder who wrote it?

I like to read advice columns for fun and I don't think I've ever seen "anonymous note" being the way to go.

Silverado

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Re: Should I tell my neighbor?
« Reply #23 on: January 19, 2014, 07:43:47 PM »
We got an anonymous note about our idiot dog once. Only thing we didnt like was not being able to say thank you. We had no idea she was barking nonstop after we left. We were gld to get the info, and changed how we did things. Would have liked to say thanks. But clearly made sense why the letter had no name.

dragoncar

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Re: Should I tell my neighbor?
« Reply #24 on: January 19, 2014, 08:01:16 PM »
If you decide you want to tell (and if I did, I would probably preface it with one of these stories about how easy it is for tax notices to go wrong), DON"T use an anonymous note. You're trying to keep your interactions from getting awkward...but if she's the kind of person to be embarrassed, then not knowing which of her neighbors wrote the note means being embarrassed around ALL of them. I was once the recipient of a anonymous comment at work (that my boss passed on to me, to make it worse) and it was hideous. Much worse than the person coming to me in person and saying what they had to say.

Just sign it "Always watching you, Your Secret Admirer"

Greg

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Re: Should I tell my neighbor?
« Reply #25 on: January 19, 2014, 09:53:32 PM »
Clicked on the wrong line of a search on the tax collector's website and turns out my neighbor has not paid property taxes since moving in 2 years ago.

Just say "Hi" and introduce yourself if you don't know each other, and let them know using the language above.  Sometime's it's an oversight, sometimes not.  Either way no need for anonymous notes. 

Rural

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Re: Should I tell my neighbor?
« Reply #26 on: January 20, 2014, 03:48:13 AM »
Just tell her some way. Likely it's a greedy or incompetent mortgage company and she has no idea she's likely to lose her home. Don't worry about the hows, jsut find a way to let her know now, before it's too late.