Why I haven’t been painting as much

Living in Ottawa is great, unfortunately, our little slice of heaven is more like hell. We live at 840 Bronson Ave, while the house next door is 838 Bronson Avenue in Ottawa. Google our house, it’s K1S 4G7, it seems like a great neighbourhood besides the deafening noise from the trucks and honking which we hear at all hours, but we always figured, at least we’re close to a good neighbourhood. Alas, it’s not the busy street that’s the biggest problem, it’s bad a neighbour situation. We share a wall with people but we can’t do anything even though the other half of our building isn’t maintained.

One of the Critters

A few years ago we had a family of raccoons living in our roof. The owner of the attached house has 30 plus-year-old shingles with raw wood peeking through. It is in such bad shape that raccoons came along and pulled off the shingles and lived in our attic for months, but we couldn’t even fix his side. Eventually, the owner came along and patched up the hole, but the animals had free reign in that roof for weeks, and he didn’t do anything to clean up the mess. We’re still worried about the damage done to both properties.

Racoon home on 838 Bronson Ave

While he fixed the hole he didn’t replace the roof. The shingles were all the way off the other side for weeks. Who knows what the water and raccoon feces did to our third floor. The paint has come off on our side and keeps peeling because of the leak, I can’t even imagine what has happened to the other side where the students are living. Our side has mould and the paint just won’t stay on our walls. It’s an old house so I’m worried that the paint coming off is full of lead, and now possibly vermin scat. We’ve basically closed-off rooms in our house because of the neighbour’s neglect.

Our Walls and ceilings because of roof leak

It’s so unfortunate having to suffer because someone you’re not connected to doesn’t take care of his property. A leaky roof and evicted raccoons are one thing, but unfortunately, we still have a plague of rats around our houses. I’ve been catching rats for years now, I watch them sneak onto our property from across the fence where I try to catch them. I caught close to fifty rats last year, but there’s nothing I can do to control their population because they have a beachhead on the neighbour’s side.

It’s not only the roof leaking onto our side, we can hear everything from next door. Every bit of noise travels through the wall. We even soundproofed our side, but it makes no difference. We’re loud on our side of the wall, so I’m sure they hear us too, but imagine living next to seven students. Bronson is deafening, especially in the summer with the windows open (we can’t have air conditioning in our house as it’s all hot ancient hot water heating), and sometimes I can’t sleep because of the cars, but the partying and banging coming through the walls make it impossible to care for my mental health.

We recently fixed up our back porch, but the wall on the neighbour’s side is rotting. I’m worried that the rot will spread under our newish siding and do more damage to our side. The students don’t seem to be able to see out their windows to notice the rot because of the condensation in their windows. Nor do they notice it outside, maybe because the backyard is so small it’s hard to turn around. More likely the owner doesn’t care about the house. Usually, the owner is only there to fix anything once a catastrophe occurs. I remember hearing his living room ceiling come crashing while we were watching tv on our side, I always wondered if he fixed that. I genuinely fear that seventeen years of subwoofers and students parties has damaged our plaster too.

Unfortunately, it isn’t only the backyard that’s awful, the garage seems to be the place bigger animals live. Last year I watched skunks coming and going into his garage from our window. The smell that filled our house all summer was awful. I’ve never seen so many animals taking up residence on a property. We’re doing everything we can on our side to keep them out but it’s been tough keeping up with everything wandering onto our property from their side.

Imagine living next to a house with seven university students, this has been our life for years. There isn’t space for seven students in that house, but the owner did a bunch of work without a permit, so he made room. We’ve finally reached out to the city, so at least they’re in the process of looking into what rules were broken at the property, and which permits he may need to procure. We expect they will require the owner to make changes to the work he did, but at this point, we are resigned to the fact that he’ll find a way to keep as many students as he can by sending rent checks his way. We’ve opened case after case with the city to fight for a little peace and quiet.

The lawn

We did fight back, and we’re going to continue fighting despite how demoralizing this is. We got sick of having cars parked on our lawn. When we reached out to the city they ensured us that no cars were allowed to park out front of the house. What this means is they have to use the garage to park their car, but it’s such an old garage that no new car can fit. I was told to call the city anytime I noticed a car parked out front and the city would send bylaw over to ticket. I’m sick and tired of this though. I’m tired of having to always watch what’s going on to be sure our house doesn’t fall down because of the neighbours. We have thousands of dollars of damage thanks to the neighbour, I can only imagine what their side is like, still nothing changes. At this point, it’s like the house has great skin, but it must rotting inside if our walls are any indication.

We live in a nice house, and our side has been well maintained but the other side has been trashed by about 150 students that have called the house home. So we’ve decided that we’re probably not going to be able to live here much longer. I’ve heard them talk about the mould in the house, broken ceilings, they’ve parked on the lawn for years and nobody has cared. He took a beautiful house and let it fall apart while taking all the money he could from the property. We’ve realized that we can never have peace on this busy street especially living next to 838 Bronson Ave, and we worry about how safe our house is after the neglect coming from next door. We worry our roof that may now be rotting from the inside. We worry about the rats finally figuring out how to get inside our house from next door. We worry about the noise and violence, being next to so many students (they’re all around not just next to us) and what’s that’s doing to our mental health. We realize we can’t survive the volume coming from next door so we might as well move out. We’ve started planning to put students into our side too, I guess the parties in 2022 will be really loud with two full houses of students. At least students on our side will only be bothering other students. We’ve realized our piece of heaven is probably only suitable for students. So we’re going to move, take the rent that students or a fraternity will pay us for our house, and pay the mortgage on a new place. Since 840 Bronson is so awful, we’re going to find a new place, and while it may not be heaven it won’t be as bad as Bronson hell.

Hopefully, when we leave Bronson behind I’ll be able to get back to work.