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Homeowner Berated By Neighbor For Having A Wood-Burning Stove That ‘Harms The Environment’

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HOAs and neighbors.

They can be the bane of one’s existence.

People just can’t seem to mind their business and property.

So many of these issues end up on Judge Judy and it’s obvious why.

Case in point…

Redditor begrudgedhome wanted to discuss his experience and get some feedback. So naturally, he came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

He asked:

“AITA for telling my neighbor and HOA to stuff it and leave?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I (25 M[ale]) own a lakeside property that was legally and officially given to me by my parents.”

“I have been living here for six years and have some great neighbors along with some not-so-great ones.”

“Of all my neighbors, I have only ever had problems with one who lives right next door named Mariette.”

“She first moved in early this summer as she had the former house on her property demolished and rebuilt.”

“My problems started with her over her the use of my wood stove and fireplaces.”

“With the temperatures getting colder I have started to use them daily.”

“My house is not equipped with any form of heating outside of the wood stove and a fireplace.”

“This means that from fall until spring I will constantly have them going to keep my place warm.”

“My family never outfitted the home with anything better because it was for weekend trips and we would winterize and leave it when things got cold.”

“My parents thought of adding oil heating when I moved in however I opposed it because it was a waste of money and didn’t mind splitting logs.”

“Five days ago after having received my shipment of logs for the fall I was approached by my neighbor Mariette.”

“She came around asking for my parents to which I said that they don’t live here and that I am the homeowner.”

“She didn’t believe me and said that I was too young to be a homeowner before leaving.”

“Later that day I heard a knock at my door and thought it was my girlfriend so I gave my usual greeting of ‘Hey Sweet Cheeks’ while opening the door.”

“Unfortunately, it was not her and it was Mariette again so I apologized quickly and asked what she wanted.”

“Once again she wanted to speak with my parents to which in a more stern tone said that I was the homeowner.”

“This time she finally got it and said that I am violating H[ome] O[wners] A[ssociation] policy by using wood-burning fireplaces indoors and outdoors.”

“In response, I said that as new as the house looks I am not a member of the group and that the town permits fireplaces and burning yard waste.”

“She then went on to ask why I even needed them because they do nothing but harm the environment.”

“I went on to explain that while the house exterior looks new the house actually has been around since 1930 and still uses a wood stove and fireplace heating.”

“She didn’t believe me yet again and said she would be back with an inspector.”

“Yesterday once again she came with another person who introduced themselves as an HOA inspector.”

“They tried to talk about my fireplaces but I shut them down immediately and said that I am not a member of their group.”

“The guy then tried to lie by saying that the HOA is in control of all the properties in the area.”

“I immediately called him out on the lie and said that he is either lazy or a moron for not knowing that I am not with them.”

“We went back and forth one more time before I told them I will not listen to them and to stuff it and leave.”

“Am I an a**hole?”

Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Many Redditors declared OP was NOT the A**hole.

“NTA – If this continues inform the HOA that if they continue to harass you, you have no issues looking into legal counsel.”

“Also, let your neighbor know that she is not allowed on your property and if she comes over she is trespassing.”  ~ HistoricalInaccurate

“I would tell the HOA same as the neighbor, they are not to step foot on your property or you will involve the police.”

“In my state, I think it is best to send that in writing by certified mail and keep the proof they received it so there isn’t any question when you call the police.” ~ HedgehogOptimal1784

“My neighborhood has 2 HOA Inspectors.”

“They drive around to make sure nobody’s trash cans are visible.”

“That nobody has construction equipment or dumpster without a permit, that everyone’s curb trees are properly maintained, that there aren’t any toys, bikes or anything of the sort in your front yard.”

“And most importantly, to ensure that none of us have planted native grasses or plants in place of the ecologically disastrous turf they require.”

“Yes, these roles are professional busybodies, paid for with our HOA dues.”

“I hate it here.”  ~ Obtuse-Angel

“This. The HOA guy feeling free to trespass under a made-up authority would incentivize me to involve the police as well.”

“And lol at the environmental concerns.”

“One person burning wood over the winter isn’t the cause of global warming.”

“Individual carbon footprint was literally a marketing invention by British Petroleum. NTA.” ~ pdubs1900

“Get a lawyer anyway.”

“There are dozens of stories on r/f**khoa where the HOA tries to play games and get you to join.”

“Sometimes there is no HOA!!!! It’s just some lady collecting dues.”

“Often we see stories where the HOA fakes a signature or gets a visitor to sign.”

“A lawyer will protect you, keep them at bay, and will sue the crap out of them if they step out of line.”

“Also get some cameras.” ~ GagOnMacaque

“NTA. Sounds like she’s going to be a real pain.”

“Much as I hate to say it, it’s time to lawyer up… or you’re going to be harassed by her AND the HOA.”

“Also, she’s entirely incorrect.”

“A fireplace puts smoke particles into the air but as the wood is usually from dead/fallen trees or trees being cleared for another purpose or sustainably grown wood.”

“It is FAR more environmentally friendly than other ways of heating.”

“Carbon footprint near zero as opposed to fossil fuels.”

“You are not dealing with someone who has a good connection with reality.”

“Speak with a lawyer, send a letter to the HOA letting them know that your neighbor is using them to harass you.”

“She’s already made them pay for an inspector, and that it may end in legal troubles.”

“As a good neighbor to the members of the HOA, you hope that this heads-up about her behavior saves them future headaches and costs.” ~ maroongrad

“Exactly. CO2 is a bi-product of combustion.”

“This includes the burning of wood.”

“Not only that, but it produces less heat per amount of carbon released into the atmosphere, so the carbon footprint that results from burning wood is high.”

“Not to mention the unfiltered ash/soot production is also a form of pollution.”

“So the neighbor is right about it not being environmentally friendly.”

“Doesn’t mean she is in the right for the way she’s acting though. NTA.”  ~ Careless_Winner_3092

“NTA. Be prepared to fight this in court though.”

“It may not come down to it, but being proactive at this point can only help you.”

“Get in touch with a lawyer, and start keeping meticulous records of all interactions moving forward.”

“Don’t threaten them with legal action, just keep records and take your lawyer’s advice.”  ~ throwawater

“NTA, but to be on the safe side, get a lawyer in on this.”

“Are there CCRs associated with the deed to your house?”

“They could make you a member of the HOA, whether you like it or not.”

“That’s why most mandatory HOAs work.”

“Not saying that’s what’s going on here, but a lawyer can tell you.”  ~ b1lllevansatmariposa

“NTA. Might not hurt to get in touch with an attorney and have them send a preemptive cease and desist letter to both the neighbor and the HOA.”

“Then keep a couple of certified copies on you and call law enforcement as necessary should they decide to harass you.”

“An ounce of prevention now might save you a ton of hassle down the road.” ~ Munchkins_nDragons

“HOAs are evil.”

“You aren’t part of theirs, and they have NO right to tell you what to do, as long as you’re within the law.”

“The real law…not the rules they make up.”

“Like the others here, I believe you should get legal counsel, and make sure they know they are not allowed on your property. NTA.”  ~MerelyWhelmed1

“NTA. However, if you can afford a new heating source, you should consider it.”

“Wood stoves ARE really bad for the environment.”

“If you can’t afford it, then don’t worry about it: there are much bigger pollution sources out there.”

“But if you have the cash, it would be an environmentally conscious choice.”  ~ etds3

Well OP, Reddit is with you.

With you and it sounds like they’re dead set against HOAs.

HOAs really are an issue these days.

Hopefully your neighbor calms down so you all can live peacefully.