Old Neighbor Demanding Family-of-7 Pay for Home Damage Divides Internet

A neighbor demanding a family of seven who live next door pay for damages to her home has divided opinion online, as the parent voiced concerns they were being judged as “scum of the village.”

The parent took to Mumsnet, under username 4or5, to ask for advice concerning their neighbor’s demands for £100 ($115) over a picture that had fallen.

Explaining they have a 20-, 17-, 13-, 5- and 3-year-old, the issue centered around the eldest.

Their next-door neighbor claimed “horrendous banging” from their son’s room around 9:30 p.m. had knocked down a picture.

The older lady, who lives alone, asked the family to “cough up” money for the alleged damage, even writing a letter.

File photo of old woman at window.
File photo of old woman at window. A parent has claimed their neighbor is demanding they pay for damage to her house.
DGLimages/Getty Images

Society has changed over the past few decades, with the “borrow a cup of sugar” mentality a thing of the past in many cities.

Pew Research looked into how neighbors interact with each other in the modern world, sharing key statistics in 2019.

They found a quarter of people under 30 don’t know any of their nearby neighbors, compared with just 4 percent over 65 who don’t know anyone close by. There was no difference among parents and those without children.

Overall, they said: “A majority of Americans (57%) say they know only some of their neighbors; far fewer (26%) say they know most of them.”

Among those who are friendly with the closest inhabitants, around two-thirds of Americans would feel comfortable leaving keys with them in emergencies.

Despite that trust, neighborhood events are rare, with 58 percent of those who confirmed they know their neighbors never having a get-together.

And the site noted: “Rural residents are more likely than people in suburban and urban areas to know all or most of their neighbors, but they aren’t more likely to interact with them.”

In the Mumsnet post, the parent explained after initially asking the youngster to split the cost, their neighbor later decided to bill them for the full amount to rehang the picture.

The Mumsnetter wrote: “I explained that my 20yr old DS [dear son] sleeps in the room adjoining her house and that he wasn’t home until gone 11:30pm and went straight to bed, therefore he couldn’t have been banging anything.”

The parent thought the matter “was dealt with,” but later continued: “Anyway yesterday she knocked round telling me that my DS has a big bill coming his way, I asked what for? and she said about the picture.

“(No longer asking for a contribution, wants DS to foot the whole bill) I explained again that no one was in the room so we cannot be responsible for her picture falling, her response was ‘So you’re not going to cough up?’

“I stayed polite and sympathised that her picture was broken but firmly let her know we would not be paying anything.”

The neighbor is said have stated her family would get “involved,” as the Mumsnetter, thought to be based in the U.K., fretted over their position.

“We are new to a small village and I fear this could escalate quickly into us being the scum of the village. AIBU [Am I being unreasonable] to think it’s unfair for us to take the blame?” they asked.

The post, which can be read here, has amassed nearly 250 responses since being shared last month, as people were divided over the issue.

Sidheandlight suggested: “She may be spiteful, but I would show her kindness, sometimes loneliness can provoke issues to just have an interaction whether it be bad or good. I’d try and turn it around i.e.’Mary’ we didn’t ruin your picture but we can help you get a new one etc.”

ChristmasCurry thought: “Do not engage. If she comes back, tell her to claim on her own contents insurance, but for £100.00 it’s probably not worth it.”

Threelittlelambs said: “I’d stand firm. Absolutely ridiculous! Who’s actually going to believe this is true? The neighbors won’t care.”

A few people thought dementia might be a factor, owing to her age.

Nannykatherine suggested: “Calm down she is elderly and probably has dementia … No need to scare her. Just talk to her family …”

According to the NHS, common early symptoms of dementia include being confused about time and place, struggling to follow a conversation or find the right word, memory loss, mood changes and difficulty concentrating.

Newsweek was not able to verify the details of the case.

The chart below, provided by Statista, shows the aging population in England and Wales.

Infographic: The Aging Population of England and Wales | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

Do you have a similar monetary dilemma? Let us know via [email protected] We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.

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