Brownstoner's Astoria Renovation blog:
We had been warned by the seller, the former tenants and the other neighbors that the owner of the one house we share a party wall with was… difficult.
We tried to start things on the right foot with with all the neighbors, giving them an apologetic letter outlining the scope and schedule of the work and giving our and the contractor’s phone numbers for any problems. A few weeks into the work, we approached the afore-mentioned neighbor because we needed to dig a foot into her property to waterproof the walls of the extension, at a point where there was only an old cement patio.
She refused us access (even though legally we could have forced the issue). Well, we explained, we would need to come onto her property to apply the brick facing to the extension later in the project. She still refused.
Our neighbor would rather stare at an unfinished cement block wall than allow us onto her property to give a nice brick facing.
Then she suggested that if our contractor gave her a good price on some work she wanted done, she would let him have access. Well, the price — current Queens above-board building prices — was not what she — old Astorian mindset — was prepared to pay.
Then suddenly we got a visit from a DOB inspector because of a complaint. Our work was causing “cracks in a party wall.” Complaints are anonymous, but there is only one party wall — on the side with this neighbor. Most people, if they had cracking, would contact the owners or the builders, show them the problem, and demand to know how they were going to make it right. We have never heard anything from the neighbor directly, and no one has seen the claimed cracks.