Q: For the last couple of years we have had a neighbor trash hoarder. The trash never leaves the porch. (This time it’s been since October since being moved) They have a dog in the house that never comes out to potty, so it goes in the house. They have rotting food on the porch. The roaches at night you can see in the thousands. My husband has made it a ritual to spray every couple of days. Sometimes you can kill up to a hundred coming in at my front door. The roaches carry diseases and I have an 8-year-old daughter. I’m at my wits end with this situation. (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: This sounds like a public health issue that is the responsibility of your municipality to remedy. If it is as bad as you say it is, your first call should be to the local zoning code officer. Ask him to come out and assess the situation. I am not sure of the exact procedures with your local ordinances but normally, the code officer will assess the situation and talk to the home owner. The zoning officer normally issues a citation which cites what codes are being violated and gives the property owner so many days to clean up before the hearing. You can also go to your municipal council meeting and complain if nothing is being done. You can also involve the police who will likely refer you to the code officer but may also make a referral to a mental health agency, so a home visit can be done for this person. You must be proactive.