Having neighbors can be a serious headache.
Especially when they feel entitled to use your property.
One guy struggled with this on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit when his neighbors made demands for how to use his lawn.
But Redditor FaultFabulous wasn’t having it, which created some serious pushback in the neighborhood.
Now the Original Poster (OP) wonders if he was in the wrong for not wanting to share.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for not letting my neighbors’ kids play on my lawn?”
The OP recently made a big move.
“I’m a man in my early thirties, I’m an MD (Dermatologist) and recently I decided to move out of my apartment to a place with more space, especially a lawn, so that my dogs (I have two) can have more space.”
“I spent a lot of my time in my clinic (private practice) and due to that, the two of them spend a lot of time alone. That being said, more space would definitely be advantageous for them.”
“I searched for quite a while before I found a house that I liked (had a big lawn [that is also fenced in]) and ended up buying it.”
“It’s in a very tiny neighborhood in my city and quite a calm one which is always great. I’ve moved to this house about a week ago and haven’t had any real troubles at all. Everyone seemed friendly enough.”
But then the OP got a big surprise.
“Last Friday however, when I got home and went to the lawn to play with my dogs, a woman came to knock on my door.”
“She’s one of the neighbors and is part of their association. I’m not and I have no plans of ever joining them, but they don’t harm me, so it’s fine.”
“I went to answer the door to see what she needed. She was pretty nice at first, welcoming me to the neighborhood and all that.”
“But afterward she said, and I quote ‘So, I know you’re new, but we would like to ask you to keep your dogs inside your house when you’re out. The kids like to play on the houses’ lawns, and they are afraid of your dogs. So, you need to put them inside when you’re not at home’.”
“For a moment I didn’t quite believe what I heard and asked her to repeat, and she indulged me like this was a common occurrence.”
The OP wasn’t having it, which the woman didn’t appreciate.
“I just told her flat out, ‘No, the lawn is for the dogs. Your kids have no business going on my property, nor do you have any grounds to make that demand.'”
“She did not take that well.”
“She told me she was going to contact the association and all other kinds of stuff.”
“I just told her flat out that she could call the Pope for all I cared. It was my property and my say in it stays.”
The neighbors didn’t appreciate it, either.
“Oh boy, how wrong was I to say that.”
“She left fuming and apparently, throughout the weekend started to spread rumors about me to the neighbors. People who would smile at me or say ‘good morning’ no longer even look at my face.”
“Honestly, I’m more pissed than anything. But seeing this many people believing my actions were that of an a**hole?”
“It makes me wonder if I’m not in the wrong. I mean, they were just kids, I could have let them play in the lawn.”
“Anyway, I decided to ask Reddit for help here. AITA?”
“Should I just have let them do what they want?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some assured the OP he was NTA.
“You are categorically NTA.”
“‘No, the lawn is for the dogs. Your kids have no business going to my property, nor do you have any ground to make that demand.'”
“This is bang on.”
“The entitlement of certain parents never ceases to amaze me. It’s your property. Even if you didn’t have dogs, you might just want peace and quiet.”
“This is before we even get to possible legal issues about being aware others are using your property as a red center for their kids.”
“How to avoid pariah status in the neighborhood is another matter, but this person is a toxic a**hole.” – Cato_95BC
“Honestly, I’m wondering how well she’d take to OP sunbathing on her lawn with a margarita each weekend? ‘Sorry, could you keep it down? I like to use this lawn, so please stay inside.'” – saltpancake
“NTA. That woman is insane.”
“You have a fenced-in lawn on your property. That is your space. Yours and your dogs’ space.”
“To say ‘please don’t use your property which you bought, so that my kids can use it’… I mean, she has to be literally insane to think you’d accommodate that.”
“My advice is to find out if there is a community message board or FB page. Go there and explain like this:”
“‘I’m new to the neighborhood, want to introduce myself. I’m frequently out with my dogs on my front yard. They are extremely well-trained and friendly (as am I!) So please come by and say hello if you’re passing. I look forward to meeting you all.'”
“‘I did receive a request to keep my dogs off their own lawn so that the neighbors’ children could use my lawn as if it was their own. I’m sorry to say I can’t honor this request, as I moved here to give my dogs the space, exercise, and attention they deserve. I hope you can all understand why I felt this request not to use my own lawn was unreasonable.'” – ifimhereimrealbored
“I’m replying to my own comment to add that – because of the pandemic – my neighbors’ dogs are my son’s best friends. We have a shared lawn outside our condo that has basically become a dog park. My toddler runs around with them, shares food, plays catch, etc.”
“The idea that this crazy lady’s kids are scared of your dogs, and therefore your dogs should stay inside… I just can’t get over that. She should teach her kids how amazing dogs are and then politely ask if the kids can play with the dogs sometimes.”
“ETA: Told my husband about this post and he said, ‘I’ll be right back, I’m going to go ask our neighbors to stop parking in their own garage because I want to put a pool table in it.'” – ifimhereimrealbored
“Agree with this completely.”
“The house next door to mine was empty for a few years. I know the owner. They moved out of the country and left the daughter, who lives in another state, to manage it. She didn’t want to deal with it for a while.”
“Anyway, the driveway is not as steep as mine but still a bit of a hill, and always empty. My kids enjoy riding their bikes down the driveway, and knowing the owner wouldn’t mind and wasn’t there, I would let them.”
“BUT… six months ago they finally rented the place out.”
“Now a family with college-aged kids lives there. We were outside and my kids were riding their bikes and naturally went to their driveway.”
“No cars were out front and I don’t think they were home, but I told my kids to get off their property, it’s not ours, and someone lives there now. It’s common courtesy to stay off of other people’s property, unless they have already expressed that they don’t mind.”
“This woman is awfully entitled to think her kids have any right to play on your property and has a lot of nerve to tell you to keep your dogs inside. Ignore her. Talk to your neighbors.”
“Best of luck, OP, and enjoy your new home. Inside and out. NTA” – happytragedy15
Others agreed and said the dogs should come first.
“Let’s not forget about the puppers – the best way to take full control over and send a clear message is to build a nice tall fence (edit: one that strictly adheres to the bylaws of your association of course- so no one can try and fine you or have you take it down) and not even have to worry about the possibility of liability of kids on your property.”
“Maybe some signs with some not so subtle warnings to any potential trespassers (Cuz that’s all they really are)” – VVeganJusticeWarrior
“Not only this, but I would worry about the dogs’ safety if the neighbors persist. OP is NTA. Especially since the yard is fenced.” – Roaming_Cow
“Yeah… I’m probably being really paranoid but I’m a little concerned that AH parent lady might try to harm OP’s dogs now out of spite.” – OrdinaryOrder8
“Unfortunately you aren’t being too paranoid. People will lie with everything in them to have another person’s dogs taken away or be put down because of a perceived slight. Better to be safe and cover all bases and make sure the dogs are safe as well.” – thepoopetrator1245
Some also pointed out the kids could be a liability to the OP.
“Obligatory post about OP being liable if the kids get injured on his property. NTA” – Expert-Feedback
“Essential at this point. We all know that the liability thing is going to get pulled by one of the AH neighbors who believe they are entitled to OPs yard.”
“Cameras too. Because clearly, no does not mean no to these people. I can’t wait until one of them shows up at OPs clinic or calls them and expects special priority because they are NEighBoRs” – SexySouthernB
“NTA but get cameras for your garden to cover yourself.” – Here_for_tea_
“The legal issues are the biggest worry. If a kid got hurt on your property, you can be held liable, even if they were knowingly trespassing.”
“Protect yourself. Maybe reminding all your neighbors of this may go some way to mitigating the anger when they all realize they could be in the same boat.” – Far_Administration41
Talk about frustrating.
But it sounds like this subReddit was in agreement, in favor of the OP’s position. There are plenty of other places for the kids to play. The dogs should be able to keep their own yard.