How to handle this property rights situation - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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Classical liberalism. The individual before the state, non-interventionist, free-market based society.
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#14710845
I have a friend who lives in a small unincorporated area of our rural county. Although unincorporated, the houses only have a few feet between them. Many of his neighbors neglect their homes....like severely neglect them to the point where I'm sure there would be health code violations. It's like a civil war in the area between those that keep their homes well maintained and those who have neglected them to the point they could easily be defined as dilapidated.
Now by my view, poorly maintained property generally lowers land values of the surrounding areas, so by a neighbor neglecting their property, they are essentially stealing value from mine.

According to my state code, the solid waste authority seems to be responsible for enforcing problems of waste that could be a public nuisance, contribute to lowering land values, harbor disease carrying rodents and pests that could affect the public health, etc etc. I'm sure many of the homes in the area would fall into these descriptions.

Now one friend brought up the point of if you get the authorities involved, then where would you draw the line? Should your neighbors who have ugly garden gnomes and pink flamingos have the authorities called on them for being a public nuisance? I however think there is a big difference between disliking your neighbors taste in decor vs. neglecting the property to the point that it lowers land values significantly and becomes a possible safety hazard.

Thoughts on how this should be handled from a libertarian stand point? Should the neighbors who neglect their property be free to do so despite their neighbors objections and possibly lowering land values of their neighbors and potentially causing public safety hazards? If not, then what would be a good recourse of action given that they refuse to clean it up by their own will?
#14710849
As a Libertarian, it should be obvious that despite how the neighbors feel, that person with the house and land who makes a free choice to neglect it is exercising their property rights. Unless a free, consensual agreement was made beforehand to require the property owner to comply with community standards of public upkeep and maintenance, infringing upon their property rights would be a form of oppression. Instead, the correct course of action would be to abstain from infringing upon that person's rights. As far as property value goes, we should trust in the market to sort these things out.
#14710879
If I started taking food out of your garden, you wouldn't consider it infringing on my right to eat by putting a stop to it would you? I have the right to eat, but when my right to eat starts infringing on your personal food supply, then that is where my rights would end. At least from my point of view. That is why this is even a question. A neighbors right to live like a pig is literally taking money out of my pocket if I am trying to sell my house. If how a neighbor upkeeps their property is what directly affects the value of mine, that isn't the free market deciding the land value, that is my lazy neighbor deciding my land value.
I don't think your answer really addresses the matter of public safety either. Being that the properties are so close together, if the way one person lives is causing a fire hazard or attracting disease carrying pest that wonder onto my property, then when is that considered to be oppressing me? Is there a point where how they live on their own property would be considered an act of aggression towards me and mine?
#14710881
That's the thing: you see that there is a problem when someone ends up making choices that disadvantage others, and literally take away value and wealth from them. The same is true of labor. Take your analogy about how someone else can and would infringe on your ability to eat and apply it to the real world where people, indeed, have no choice but to work for wages and have less opportunity to "eat" while a very few number of people literally take almost everything and leave you and everyone else with mere scraps.
#14710893
If you don't want to get a government agency involved, then just go and talk to a lawyer about bringing an action in court for private nuisance.

Bulaba Jones wrote:As a Libertarian, it should be obvious that despite how the neighbors feel, that person with the house and land who makes a free choice to neglect it is exercising their property rights.


Plenty of libertarian-leaning legal theorists would argue that creating a private nuisance is not a valid exercise of property rights, since it burdens the property rights of others. (mainly the right to freely use one's property). See Epstein, Richard A. "Nuisance Law: Corrective Justice and Its Utilitarian Constraints." The Journal of Legal Studies 8, no. 1 (1979): 49-102. http://www.jstor.org/stable/724047.
#14710899
Jim Smith wrote:If I started taking food out of your garden, you wouldn't consider it infringing on my right to eat by putting a stop to it would you? I have the right to eat, but when my right to eat starts infringing on your personal food supply, then that is where my rights would end. At least from my point of view. That is why this is even a question. A neighbors right to live like a pig is literally taking money out of my pocket if I am trying to sell my house. If how a neighbor upkeeps their property is what directly affects the value of mine, that isn't the free market deciding the land value, that is my lazy neighbor deciding my land value.
I don't think your answer really addresses the matter of public safety either. Being that the properties are so close together, if the way one person lives is causing a fire hazard or attracting disease carrying pest that wonder onto my property, then when is that considered to be oppressing me? Is there a point where how they live on their own property would be considered an act of aggression towards me and mine?


how about your actions increasing the house values results in higher rates, and thus higher costs to your neighbours. Your zealous mainatice and neat property is stealing money from their wallets.
#14710992
Touche...that's a good point that I've never looked at before. However the tax increase caused by keeping your home well maintained would be minimal compared to resale value lost. Let's say if all properties were equally well maintained my friend's property would be worth $100,000. Because of his neighbors property and the poor aesthetics and hazards of the neighborhood it appraises for $90,000, so a decrease of 10% or $10,000 out of his pocket if he were to sell.
Given the current levy rates in the area, $100,000 worth of residential value would equal about $400 in annual taxes. So $40 per $10,000 of value.
My friend is reasonably losing $10,000 in value on his property, while if all homes in the neighborhood were equally maintained, their taxes would only increase by $40 annually. (That would take 250 years of taxes to equal the $10,000 it drops his value by)
So who is really stealing from who then?

And again, the question of public safety is ignored. How hazardous would a neighbors property have to be to his safety before it is considered an act of aggression towards my friend...assuming you could really quantify the level of hazard?
#14711298
rising property prices attracts all sorts, hipsters, yuppies, people on high incomes which change suburbs and make living in them both dull and more expensive. Urban decay attracts more interesting people, artists, musics and people interested in living cheaply which creates a more productive interesting neighbourhood.

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