WATCH: Ornery Neighbor Scaring Off Prospective Buyers?


brighton colorado neighborIf you thought foreclosure signs were bad for home sales, wait till you get a load of this Brighton, Colo., homeowner's spray-painted disclaimer.

Titus Terranova, the implausibly named homeowner whose property abuts a home for sale in the rural Colorado town, has taken it upon himself to give prospective buyers the lay of the land.

In bright red letters painted on the side of his recreational vehicle, Terranova scrawled the following:

"WARNING / 3 Rottweilers / Loud Parties / Loud Music / Loud Cars / Anti-Horse / Fireworks / Call for more info."


We understand the public nuisance warnings, but "anti-horse?" He lives in horse country!

(Click here to see the home at the center of the dispute.)

The sign can clearly be seen from Terranova's neighbor's master bedroom window and several other vantages that are bound to catch prospective buyers' attention. The Realtor attempting to sell the home, Renee Lalonde, is at her wit's end.

"We have no legal recourse," Lalonde told AOL Real Estate. She says that she has emails that show previous buyers have turned down the property because of the neighbor's sign, but worries that the case would not hold up in court.

How Homeowners Can Fight Back

Brighton, Colorado homeBut there may be hope, according to James Benjamin, a Denver real estate attorney. If it can be proven that Terranova is causing intentional emotional distress, he says, it's "akin to someone walking up and hitting you in the face."

Because Terranova's antics may be causing real damage to the homeseller's chances of unloading the property, the sellers may be entitled to not only monetary compensation, but also an injunction against their boorish neighbor's signage. In effect, the sellers could seek a "mandatory injunction" to force Terranova to remove the warning, and a "prohibitory injunction" to prevent him from putting up a new one.

If Terranova were to be shown to have sabotaged a closing on the property, Benjamin notes, the sellers could sue for interference with contract. If, for instance, the home would have closed for $400,000 without Terranova's alarming signage, but later sells for just $300,000, the sellers could seek the $100,000 difference. And in today's anemic housing market, there's a very good chance of lost home value.

Finally, a jury could add punitive damages to the mix. In Colorado, Benjamin says, these damages can equal the amount of actual damages done -- essentially doubling the judgment against Terranova. And from the looks of this video, he hasn't done much to endear himself to his community members.

For those interested in touring the home, see the listing here.

See other homes for sale in Brighton, Colo., at AOL Real Estate.

See also:
How to Avoid the Neighbor from Hell
First-Time Homebuyer's Guide

Realtors' Latest Challenge: A Surge of Squatters



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