January 22, 2024 at 7:34 am

Construction Owner Says Neighbor’s Complaints Aren’t His Problem. Neighbor Proves Him Very Wrong And Destroyed His Business.

by Addison Sartino

Source: Reddit/ProRevenge/Pexels

This is a story of how patience is key, and how letting someone else get revenge for you is by far easier than doing it yourself.

The setup…

I live in one of those doubled up houses where they build two houses adjacent to each other with mirrored layout, so we share a wall but are otherwise completely separate.

For years, the house next to me belonged to a nice old lady who you never really noticed or had any trouble with. When she died and the house was resold, the troubles began.

The other half of the duplex the writer lives in has gone from quiet to rowdy.

The target is someone who I will refer to as Jack Sparrow, for reasons that will become clear later. Jack owns a sizeable construction business, does some real estate on the side. He buys the house and rents it to a bunch of foreign construction workers that work for his business. I say foreign because it is relevant to the story: there are rumors Jack is doing some shady stuff to have these work for him dirt cheap, by claiming that they’re national workers in their native country (and paying them according to that wage, and not the much higher minimum wage of my country). Not exactly on the up and up. Possibly unreported labour as well.

Anyways, he stuffs 4-6 of these in said house for them to live while they work here.

The new neighbors have no regard for the writer.

Now I do not have anything against foreign construction workers. But these guys living next door have two traits that are very problematic: they are extremely loud and they do not give a **** about anyone else. We’re talking non stop music and partying starting Thursday evening throughout the entire weekend, untill they leave at 5 am Monday morning to go to work.

The never-ending party is truly never-ending.

Seriously I dont know how or when they sleep, it is literally non stop. We’re talking ‘I’m wearing headphones but still cannot hear my own sound over their music’ loud, since it would appear that they’ve designated the living room (adjacent to the shared wall) as the party room where the fun happens.

After giving the benefit of the doubt, the writer simply can’t handle it any longer.

At first, I do the neighbourly thing and just suck it up, thinking ‘its just one party, just one weekend’. After the third one in a row, I go over to ask them to turn it down, since y’know, night disturbance, its technically illegal to blast music this loud (hearable on the street and across the street by my other neighbours who have also complained).

Despite the writer’s rising anger, no change is made.

I’m met with a halfhearthed ‘so sorry, will fix’. Except nothing changes. I go over several more times, each time angrier, each time met with ‘but its not loud’. If I can hear your music in my own house, over my own tv and music, I would say that it is in fact, too loud.

Well, that went well.

I contact Jack, since he is their landlord, and explain the situation, after which I’m met with an abrupt ‘sorry not sorry, not my f*****g problem’. Basically Jack told me to get f****d.

So I involve police, and call them every time things get out of hand. After about a dozen calls, sometimes even twice in the same night, it is clear that even regular police interference doesn’t help the situation.

Thankfully, our writer knows a thing or two about the law.

I should mention that I am a lawyer, so I know what the next legal steps are. I also know that other than a token paper from a judge saying ‘their music is too loud’ I’m not really going to get anything.

Things would (like they already sometimes had) become a cat and mouse game where they would blast their music extremely loud to anger me off or to wake me up, for a few brief moments, so that by the time I could get proof or police show up, there would be no music.

I’m deadlocked with my only further option being pretty useless and a waste of time.

Knowing about the law doesn’t help with anger though!

At this point I’m biding my time and just waiting till something changes. I’m not saying that I condone people who bludgeon their neighbour to death with a rusty pipe, but I do somewhat understand what would drive someone to that point.

The mistake

One day I’m at home and I notice quite a lot of ruckus next door, more so than usual. Suddenly, I see through my garden window that a wall is being partially torn down.

You see, sometime over the years, the neighbours had built a small adjacent side building adjoining the main house. It was right on the border between us, and when the gardens were being refenced, the wall was used as a divider to save on fencing.

Said wall was now in the process of having its top part ripped off by a crane.

Being a courteous neighbor is clearly out of the question at this point…

I was not informed of any of this, which, while not technically needed, would have been the nice thing to do.

I go take a walk so I can take a look at what we’re doing and see that they’ve torn down the entire sidebuilding, the remaining wall between our gardens is the only part that has been kept intact (and even then, not the top part).

Cue the lawyer brain!

Being a lawyer, and specifically, a construction/permit lawyer, I know two things:

S*** like this is not allowed without a pre-approved permit from the city

Bet they didn’t know he had access like this…

There is no way in hell they have said permit, as I would have seen the application for it (I regularly have to check the online (public, accessible by everyone) application to see what permits are being applied for my job, and when I do I tend to look over to my own area, just so I can keep up with what is being planned in my area)

Aha! Here we go.

This is it.

The moment I have been waiting for, the situation has changed and the time has come to exact revenge.

A quick email sent to the municipal authorities lets me do my civic duty of reporting a potential crime, the fact that someone is building or demolishing stuff without a permit.

Since this is a simple report, no response happens since I’m not an official victim or anything yet.

Patience is key…

Since no further construction happens for a few days and everything was removed, I assume that was that and they would only tear down the side structure since it was starting to fall apart due to age.

Neighbours have moved all their stuff that was in said building onto their lawn and haphazardly covered it with a tarp.

Finally! The city steps in.

The next week, more construction materials are being delivered and construction starts. I send a new email to city services, with new pictures, saying that apparently, there is more planned, and that I hope they undertake the appropriate action.

Instant response less than an hour later: They’d called Jack after the first time to inform him that what he was doing required a permit, and he had ensured them that he didn’t know that (BS, he’s in construction, of course he knows) and that he would stop construction and request a permit.

They called him again after my email, reprimanded him for not following his earlier promise and he said again he would shut it down.

Hold it in…

I happened to be working from home that day, and had to stop myself from waving to the construction crew as they left.

And what are you gonna do about it?

Later that day I get an angry phone call from Jack, who accuses me of reporting him and that I would be sorry, he would come after me for damages for his delays.

I respectfully inform him that even if I reported him (reports are in my name, but not published and anonymised in later files) I wouldn’t have done anything wrong, because from the looks of it he didn’t have a permit and should have known that before he started working illegally without one.

I end the call before I start to sound too happy with things.

Let’s crank it up a notch.

Jack has at this point, no idea what I have initiated with this.

He is Jack Sparrow and I have just rung the bell that awakens the kraken that will destroy him, he just doesn’t know it yet.

The kraken

Let the expert explain…

You see, there is a good reason why most people consult an expert and or a lawyer when they want to apply for a permit. The rules involved are so convoluted and needlessly complex that navigating them as a non professional is extremely hard and time-consuming, and a single mistake can torpedo your entire case, forcing you to do it all over. I have killed entire projects (and have seen clients projects killed) by pointing out that on page 127, section 35-1-A, something was left blank that should have been answered.

You’re not gonna believe it.

I did some digging and found out that the previous owners of the houses had actually consulted each other about the sidebuilding, and agreed on making the wall (part of) the divider between their gardens. So much so, that they shared the costs of it. And the ownership. That wall that he destroyed part of? It was also my wall. Which of course, means I’m entitled to damages, but that is not the important part.

Mic. Drop.

The important part is that he needs my permission, to do anything to that wall. So when he applied for a permit a few weeks later (added bonus, rowdy neighbours stuff is still out in the open, covered by just a tarp, since they expected this to be a quick smash and replace job that would take a few weeks at most) I went to city center and looked at the application. Noticed that they were planning to do some stuff to said wall that I own 50 %.

So how is Jack gonna get around this?

So I filed a complaint, following proper procedure, about the permit, namely that even if granted, it could never be executed, since Jack needed permission from me in regards to the wall, and he didnt have it (nor was I intending to grant it). This should kill his permit, since permits cannot be granted if you know in advance they cannot be realized. No sense granting a permit to build a certain kind of house when you know they’re never actually going to build it.

Smooth talking can only get you so far….

Now, Jack was a bit of a smooth talker, and as a construction entrepreneur, had his connections, and permits are a political decision here just as much as a legal one. So despite a 100% correct legal objection that should have killed his permit, it went through. He actually called me about it to gloat a little.

Money is not an issue when it comes to revenge.

No worry, one can appeal a permit in my country. The only requirement is that you pay a 100 euro fee, which I gladly paid. The appeal instance is a subnational instance, and does not care one bit about Jacks political ties or the half hearted bull that the city officials wrote to justify granting the permit in spite of the concerns I raised.


They terminate his permit without any hesitation on the aforementioned legal grounds.

Jack sees his permit blocked until he fixes the issue, which he can’t, because I’m not really inclined to agree with his plans for our wall, you see.

What went from a quick and noisy project has now developed into a full blown fiasco.

At this point, going through two lengthy procedures, it has been over 7 months. The neighbours have had an unfinished construction project in their yard the entire time, forced to store their stuff elsewhere, something that was always supposed to be ‘a temporary thing for a few weeks while we build’ turned into something that was taking months, with no end in sight.

But wait, there’s more.

The above was the administrative part of the matter, him getting the permit.

Jack is more than a jerk – he’s now a criminal too!

Now doing construction work without a permit is also a criminal offense. And of course, my report got passed around to the appropriate instances, so now Jack was also the subject of a criminal procedure for construction offense. Not only did he risk fines and jail time, he was a construction business and used his own construction business for the work he did on the property. So his company was also on the hook, and one of the sentences that can be given in these types of crimes is to be prohibited to do construction or construction related activity as a business, either permanently or temporarily.

Not only was he personally on the line, his entire business was as well.

Who wants to spend their money on a mess?

During this debacle, Jack tried to sell the property. This didn’t really go too well because of a few reasons.

One, the property was inflicted with an illegal situation: the demolished side building was torn down illegally, and until said illegal status was resolved, it would stick to the property. Which tends to kill the property value quite a bit, since nobody wants to buy something that they’ll have to spend time and money on to make legal again by either rebuilding the torn down building, or getting a regularisation permit for it. Made even worse by the fact that he applied for said permit and had it denied, so he couldn’t even claim that said permit would be super easy to get.

It just keeps getting better…

Secondly, is Jack never intended to sell the property in its current state. What he, as I now know, has done in the past is buy cheap old houses like the one next to me. He puts some of his crew in it, who can’t complain about the sub par accommodation. They thrash the place because they don’t care and he lets them, then when the place is done, he tears it down and sells it to a developer or develops it himself.

Jack has put himself between a rock and a hard place.

However due to his construction crime and the accompanying status for the property, step two was not an option. He couldn’t renovate it the way it needed to be (small renovations would not be enough), because covering the crime was always a requirement in any permit he would request for the building, and because of me, he couldn’t cover it.

Couldn’t sell it either, because the place was trashed, and any developer looking at it would dip out when they realized there was a construction issue and a vocal neighbour who would oppose anything big that they would try to do there, lost of easier properties to develop than that one.

In conclusion

All eyes on Jack.

Anyway, that is where we are today.

Jack is staring down the barrel of a criminal court procedure that is about to happen where he is risking his business and livelyhood. His existing projects also gather special attention from city services now, since he is now outed to them as someone who cuts corners on permits and regulations.

He cannot really sell the property unless he cuts a massive loss, since in its current state it is absolutely trashed. He cannot develop it or sell to a developer because all development plans involve the adjoining wall, which he cannot use in big ways unless he gets my permission.

There’s enough karma to go around.

The rowdy neighbours are stuck living in a smaller house than what they had, in a place they trashed but that cannot really be renovated or fixed in the major way that it needs.

They have quieted down a lot, possibly because Jack blames them for his current situation (which isn’t wrong, I suppose).

And all our writer had to do was send a few emails!

I have awakened the kraken and set it off on Jack Sparrow, and it utterly ruined him. And the best part is that I had to do very little to do it.

All I really did was nudge the abomination that is municipal bureaucracy and point it in his direction, and they did the rest.

Wouldn’t that be sweet?

I could tell you that he called me to complain and even beg about letting him use the wall the way he needs it to, so that he can get on with his business and fix the issues and use them to show his good faith in court in the criminal procedure, that he was losing money and customers over this and was in danger of losing his entire business, and that I then smugly replied with ‘not my ****ing problem’.

But he didn’t, so for now we’ll just have to imagine that he did.

The comments section went wild for this story!

One person said the writer hit the “nitrous button” for him.

Source: Reddit/ProRevenge

Another reader shared of a similar story.

Source: Reddit/ProRevenge

This person was eager to hear updates from the hearing.

Source: Reddit/ProRevenge

Congrats to this writer.

Playing the long game really does pay off!

If you liked that story, check out this post about a group of employees who got together and why working from home was a good financial decision.