Q: Last year my husband and I bought a duplex apartment in Jersey City after living in New York City for 32 years. Our back windows overlook our neighbor’s backyard, which has an above ground pool filled with filthy water. When we arrived last August, the pool was bright blue and inviting. But now the water is an eyesore. We, like our neighbors downstairs, are concerned that mosquitoes breed there. With summer approaching, we would like the pool to be cleaned. But how should we proceed? Is it pushy to approach the owners? Is there an agency we can call to intervene?
A: Last fall, the owners had to winterize the pool, treat the water with chemicals, remove equipment and cap the top for the season. Some owners drain the water into an above ground pool, but it certainly shouldn’t be neglected and exposed. Animals can drown or build nests and leaves or dirt can cause damage.
“When things heat up, they want to clean that up right away because bugs and pesky critters will start to fester,” said Evelyn Schubert, a customer service representative at Creative Master Pools, in Lincoln Park, NJ, who has a pool near her. home currently being treated and covered. “If we were to look into that now, the water should be clear. Something died for a year. We had to completely drain the water, brush it, clean it, treat it.”
Your observations from last summer indicate that the pool is in use and may be cleaned for the summer in the coming weeks. Homeowners generally start opening their pools in early April, according to Ms. Schubert.
You could wait a few more weeks and see what happens. But now you may want to introduce yourself to your new neighbors and ask them what their plans are for the pool. Frame the conversation in a positive light. Tell them that when you first moved in, you noticed that the water looked so inviting. Are they planning to open the pool this season as well? Depending on how the conversation goes, you can express your concerns about animal safety, mosquitoes, and aesthetics, suggesting that they cover the water for the winter.
if If you cannot convince your neighbor to improve conditions, you can report the situation to Jersey City, especially if an animal becomes trapped in the water or the weather warms and the pool remains neglected. You can file a complaint online through the city’s online portal or contact the Resident Response Center by calling (201) 547-4900. You may get more attention if your downstairs neighbors, who are also concerned, also call.
But before you report the owners, keep in mind that you are new to the area, and this is the start of what could be a long relationship. You may not want to alienate your new neighbors the first year you arrive. You may want to give it some time and see how they take care of the pool in the future.
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