Your Kid May Be Too Young for Her Own Condo


A few months back Dave and I bought a condo in San Jose. It’s a nice place and it was damn expensive. Soon after moving in, I noticed a few cigarette butts on our patio. I had a minor freak out since I usually assume that people who are inconsiderate will continue to be so. I calmed myself by remembering that it could have been an accident and the folks upstairs might not have realized anyone had moved in down below. I reasoned that it might not ever happen again.

Soon after, I woke to discover our patio covered in ash, chew, spit, and more cigarette butts. Yes, it was as disgusting as it sounds. Luckily, it was the rainy season and the weather took care of most of the clean up within a couple days. Dave and I then went to have a talk with our neighbors two floors above us. This is when we discovered that they were college students. The parents of one of the roommates owned the place and were letting their daughter and a friend live there.

This experience started to open my eyes. Dave and I had always talked about one day buying a place for our kids to live in when they go to college, so we weren’t annoyed in principal, but it did bring up an interesting point.

If you are going to transplant your kids into a community where they do not fit, you have the responsibility to teach them well and check up on them. There should be a firm understanding before going into the situation that they are not living in a dorm. They have to respect their neighbors and the property. If they cannot do that, they will be evicted just like they would if their parents were not their landlords.

About a month ago, there was a glass either dropped or tossed onto our patio that broke a plastic pot. The danger that posed if someone had been out on the patio, terrified me. Especially since I will soon be bringing an infant out there with me. After that, I spoke with the homeowner’s daughter, asked her to clean it up and to take down an ashtray they had sitting on their railing that I was afraid also may fall.

A couple weeks ago, I found at least ten cigarette butts by our patio door directly under their balcony. I tried to call her, but there was no answer so I left a note on their door asking that they clean it up. It was a fairly polite note indicating that their ashtray (now kept on the balcony floor) may have tipped over. Then I got back downstairs and took a closer look. Our patio umbrella had burn marks on it and a couple holes, clearly from cigarettes that were still lit landing on it.

At this point, after two incidents of property damage and the danger posed to those who may be below them as they’re hurling glasses and lit cigarettes, our next course of escalation is to call the police.

So I ask all the parents out there who have purchased or are thinking of purchasing a nice place for your college-aged kids: Have you thought about how they will fit within the community? How about the affect it will have on their neighbors? Do you personally follow-up when there is a complaint about their behavior? If not, you may find the police and/or housing association taking care of the problem, which still leaves you liable as the homeowner and may force you into the position of having to evict your own kid.


8 thoughts on “Your Kid May Be Too Young for Her Own Condo

  1. Document. Photograph and document everything.

    Ask for the parental/owner info. Stat.

    Then sue for property damage. That should wake mommy and daddy up. Little fuckers. 😉

    Seriously though — Just because mommy and daddy are letting you live there rent free doesn’t mean you can destroy other people’s property. I wouldn’t let this go! (Do you have a HOA?)

  2. Yup, we’ve been in contact with the HOA, as well as most of our other neighbors here. We’ve got a really supportive community, so that’s a big bonus. The HOA has contacted the owners so hopefully that will have an impact. We have asked that they replace our umbrella so we’re currently giving them the opportunity to make it right in that way.

  3. i think this will always happen. i agree with document, photograph, document communication (email is best)

    they’ll only know if they get a bill.

  4. Ugh, we had that same situation at our last apartment. Cigarette butts, beer cans, and the odd other item all over the patio and on the grass. Once I found VOMIT in my hanging basket. I’m glad to not have any neighbors directly attached to us anymore.

  5. The fact is, in any neighborhood, these kids are assholes. I spend much of my time in parts of the country where they chew and spit and smoke cigarettes and drink beer. They almost to a t dispose and spit properly without missing trash can or spit cup. It just may be these are rude inconsiderate types who never thought twice about polluting their world because they are too self-absorbed. Make sure to get your I’m a member of the NRA sticker and display prominently. That may clean up the issue quickly. If you get the parents address, make a video and send it to them. These shits are shameful and do not care about decency.

  6. Your post seems to imply that this type of behaviour would somehow be appropriate in a dorm? Or that it is age-appropriate? The fact is, the mother/owner must be pretty awful to have raised such a disrespectful daughter. I can hardly believe this is real, especially from a girl! I’m so glad I don’t meet people like this myself. It always makes me angry that these types of things go on and don’t get attached to a person’s permanent record. Potential employers need to know these kinds of details about people.

    I hope you can collect enough evidence to file some kind of criminal complaint against her. Sounds to me like you bent over backward to give her the benefit of the doubt and the chance to fix things and she continued to behave that way. There is no excuse for that.

    Now I have to ask, do you really think it is a good idea for you to buy a place for your kids to live in? That seems like the ultimate amount of babying… Obviously I’m no parent, but typically the people who get spoiled like that are exemplified very well by the woman living above you. They are just immature and as a result don’t seem to have any integrity or pride in themselves or their own decisions. I don’t know what the right answer is. If I have a kid, I definitely want him or her to have as easy access to education as is possible, however I also know how much I despised the kind of people who got everything handed to them, and who refused to grow up. I certainly wouldn’t want my kid to turn out like that, so there has to be some other way…

  7. While the behavior might still be annoying if it were happening in a dorm, I would at least somewhat expect it there. I only lived in a dorm for a year because I couldn’t stand it. When I moved to an apartment near campus, there were still parties on Friday/Saturday night because it was an apartment near campus and most people who lived there were students. It’s unlikely anyone who was not a student would live there because they’d know they were moving into a building with a bunch of college students. It’s about the expectations.

    To clarify what I meant about “buying a place for our kids to live in when they go to college”, I didn’t mean GIVING them a place. Ideally, we would like to pay for our kids to attend college, if possible, because tuition costs are ridiculous and school is a full time job. That means, we’d also like to at least help them out with living expenses. Financially, it makes more sense to own than rent (usually). Therefore, owning the place that they live in makes more sense to us. That does not mean they would own the place. That does not mean they’d get to stay there rent-free after college. It would be similar to college students who continue to live with their parents while going to school. The only difference is that we wouldn’t be on site so like I wrote, there have to be ground rules. If they cannot respect the community they live in, they lose the privilege.

    BTW, as a woman who was once a girl, trust me, girls misbehave just as much as boys.

  8. This is pretty typical of having neighbors on top of you. That is why I always want the top floor, or just a single floor to live on. We have had all that you mentioned, the still burning butts that burned holes in our patio furniture, along with the vomit, and you forgot the used condoms, sometimes with blood on them too, assorted fast food wrappers, beer cans and wine bottles. We couldn’t get any satisfaction because the parents had a tenant’s rights lawyer that said to evict them would be discrimination against children (teenagers). Oh and more fun… they would let the toilet overflow. I had showed the mother and the teenagers how to turn off the water under the toilet, but instead the mother would just scream at the top of her lungs “OhMyGod” over and over as it flowed everywhere down into our condo, until one of us ran up the stairs and turned it off for her (talk about helpless?) and if it were her teenagers, they would be kicked back on the couch watching TV, they didn’t care, just let it flow everywhere. We were constantly buying new towels after cleanup. Horrible. Another thing to watch for, besides teenagers, is mentally ill people, they have rights too, and can do whatever they want, regardless of the impact on surrounding neighbors (screaming obscenities at all hours of the night, etc).

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