Setting boundaries with tenant/friend


I was listening Episode 12 of the podcast and thought that I would really like to set a boundary with our tenant/friend of 3 years. He’s a lonely senior that loves to talk and be around people. He rents the mother-in-law suite attached to the side of my house, and often sits outside his door and enjoys the fresh air with his dog. That’s no problem for us.

Our problem is when we’re in the backyard doing whatever, and he wonders on over to where we are to see what’s going on. OR when his dog wanders into our backyard. His dog is basically his only companion and is 12 years old. Occasionally his dog will poop in our backyard, but we only find out after the fact. Or he has to come into our backyard again to get his dog. None of which we like. We consider our backyard to be our personal space where we like our privacy.

We’ve already asked him specifically not to let the dog into our yard, but this continues to happen more often than we like. I would also like to ask that he himself not come into our yard.

Another boundary issue we haven’t addressed: We don’t like that he’s 1 person with 2 cars and 2 motorcycles on our property. Though we have the space for it, my husband and I feel like it’s unnecessary and it’s just not something we want. One of the cars can’t be used because of a transmission issue. He wants to fix the car and eventually send it to his country where he plans to retire to in about a year’s time. He also wants to send the motorcycles when he goes.

We feel bad asking him to get rid of all vehicles except for one because we know he’d have to pay for storage. We also know how much he makes at his minimum wage job and with his social security, and his income is pretty limited. It doesn’t seem like it’d be in the budget. He has no family here.

So I’m not sure what kind of reasonable consequences we can set up for these 3 issues.

Calling the police when he’s in our yard, doesn’t seem like a good approach…especially if he’s also a friend. But making the request doesn’t seem to work because I’ve already asked him not to let his dog into our backyard more than once. If I asked that HE didn’t come into our yard it would be the same. I’m not sure what can be done about the cars. It’s our fault for allowing it in the first place because it’s more difficult to say something now. Regardless, we would like to address it.

It seems like the only consequence for any problem in this situation would be to say “I’m sorry, but if you keep doing this or don’t move your cars, we’re going to ask you to move out or get rid of your dog.”

Is that really the only option in this situation, or are there other possibilities I’m not seeing?