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Trash Talk

Mar 24, 2018 12:24PM ● By Jared Lawrence
Welcome to another entry in Love Thy Neighbor! Excited to be back and responding to your questions.

Question: My Neighbor puts their trash and recycling bins out early and is always late to put them away, if ever. I’m tired of looking at them, and having their overflowing trash and recycling blow all over. What do I do?

This is a good question, and I love talking trash! I deal with this quite often at the homeowner associations I manage, so much in fact, that most of their community rules and regulations have over a page of rules pertaining to trash procedures alone. So my first approach will be as if you are living in a homeowners association.

Most associations should have rules that stipulate when trash and recycling bins can be set out for pickup, and how quickly they need to be returned to the garage or other designated storage area. Placing cans out too early, especially when overflowing, is not only an eye sore, but a big mess if the wind blows just right. Check your association’s rules and see if there is such a rule. If so, and your neighbors are violating it, you can request that your management company, or Board of Directors, send a violation letter to the homeowner. I always like to include a time-stamped photo with the complaint and/or letter, helping to prevent the “I never leave my cans out argument” from being made after receiving said letter. If they continue to violate the rule, fines can be assessed by the association and/or Board for failure to comply.

If your association doesn’t have such a rule, ask the management company or Board to implement one. While it may seem petty, trash cans are, well a little trashy, and can quickly detract from the curb appeal of a home or even an entire neighborhood if it is a widespread issue. The rule should clearly state a time the cans can be placed out for pickup, when they need to be moved back, and where they can be stored between pickup days.

If you don’t live in a homeowners association, your options to remain anonymous are more limited. You could of course send an anonymous letter or attach a note to their cans respectfully requesting that they please try and not put their cans out so early, prevent them from overflowing, and store them out of site. Maybe even offer them to put any extra trash or recycling in your carts, assuming you have space, and assuming you aren’t worried about remaining anonymous.

As always, keep your questions coming! Outside of the column, I’m available to answer questions or offer any advice I can.

Jared Lawrence is part owner and operator of Compass Management Group, Inc., a full service professional management company providing management solutions to homeowner associations throughout the Twin Cities.
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