(WSVN) - He wants to paint his house. His neighbor says no. How can one neighbor block another from painting? It’s happening, and they asked Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser to try to figure it out.

This won’t surprise you: a lot of people in South Florida don’t like their neighbors.

Rene Garcia, wants to paint: “I asked the guy in a good way, get permission to clean and paint my other side. He refused it.”

Rene’s neighbor, Daryl, didn’t just tell him no.

Daryl Partlow, no to painting: “You come back on my property, I am gonna call the PD and have you arrested for trespassing.”

Rene and Daryl live in a zero lot line neighborhood in South Dade, meaning each owns the land on one side of their house. Their neighbor owns the land on the other side all the way up to the wall.

Rene Garcia: “Zero lot line, and I’m supposed to be able to go four feet and to allow me by law to paint a fix on my side.”

After Rene power washed and then painted three quarters of his house green, he explained to his neighbor why he believed he could stand on the four feet of Daryl’s property to paint this wall.

Daryl explained why he felt he couldn’t.

Daryl Partlow: “He is not licensed and insured. This is my property. Anything happens on my property, I’m responsible for it.”

Daryl did give Rene a way to finish painting his house.

Daryl Partlow: “By law, he has to have a licensed and insured contractor go back there.”

Rene’s reply? Not only does he need the wall painted, the woodwork needs to be repaired. He says he would have to do it because he can’t afford to hire someone to do it.

Rene Garcia: “I don’t have $3,000. We don’t – I don’t work; I’m disabled.”

His house looks strange. Three sides are green, one side is pink.

Rene Garcia: “I would like to get over there to be able to paint, fix my house and be able to finish my house.”

Daryl then made it very clear what would happen if Rene steps on his property to do that.

Daryl Partlow: “You step back over there again, I got something for your ass.”

Not a neighborly thing to do, so, Howard, legally, who is right?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “Rene has the right to go on his neighbor’s property to paint the side of his house, because he has what the law calls a four foot easement, but if the neighbor won’t let him, he cannot go on the property. He has to hire an attorney and go to court, where a judge will force the neighbor to let him paint and can force the neighbor to pay for his legal fees.”

To avoid a court case, we had a suggestion: that Rene and Daryl sign a hold harmless agreement, where Rene would promise not to sue Daryl if he was injured while painting the side of his house.

Rene said OK.

In an email, Daryl wrote back no, unless he has a licensed and insured contractor, that Garcia has contacted the police over 25 times with false police reports, adding in bold print, “He is not welcomed on my property.”

Rene Garcia: “I called the police, yes, a few times. More than a few times. I would say more than 10 times.”

Rene said his calls about Daryl to the police were legit. Clearly the two will never agree on anything, and this pink wall is going to remain pink, since Rene cannot hire an attorney or a painter.

Rene Garcia: “I don’t have the money to go ahead and do it, and that’s what my problem is. I’m behind the eight ball, and I can’t do much. I can’t do nothing, really.”

Unless a lawyer or painter comes along and offers to help Rene for free, that one wall is gonna be pink for a long time, and this is why you should get along with your neighbors.

Been painted into a corner? Got zero chance of solving it? Cast your lot with us, and let us brush up on your legal options.

With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
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