What to do when you have problem neighbours

7 July 2020

Having to deal with not so pleasant neighbours can be quite an intricate business.  We want to offer you a list of solutions that can help in this uneasy task. Founding out the best way to deal with problematic neighbours can turn into a real headache. Many people fear to purchase property and then find out that they have horrible neighbours.  However, you do not have to just smile and tolerate a neighbour’s unbearable behaviour or stress on the block. If you choose a proper approach, you can change it into a great opportunity to develop a friendly relationship, build a more positive network for your and other neighbours around you. Here are some recommendations that may help you:

In the first instance, check if you are not that one bad neighbor.

It can quite easy to find why exactly your neighbour drives you crazy, however, it can be much harder to come to the conclusion that you are that one neighbour that causes problems. Moreover, you can not tell your neighbours to change their behaviour if they have complaints about you. Thus, make sure you are a true model of the good homeowner before you decide to approach them. Ask yourself these questions: 

  • What is the usual level of noise? Loud music, TV, or even machinery may drive nuts your neighbours at any time of a day. Sometimes even common noises like mowing of lawn can become a true problem if you decide to do it early in the morning or late at night. 
  • Is your companion animal is friendly and quiet? Loud, dangerous or roaming dogs, and sometimes cats can become a real no-no for neighbours. 
  • Are you usually a tidy person? If your child’s toys are scattered all over place or lawn has become too wild, it can cause complain. Moreover, neighbours may even begin to think that your untidiness may hurt their values. 
  • Are you respectful of property borders?  Do not let your fences, trees, and other things occupy your neighbour’s territory unless they certainly say they are okay with it. Thus, always make sure you agreed to these questions with your neighbours. 
  • Are you using a talion law? For example, if you decided to park over the property border because neighbours’ dog is too noisy,  you would never find out who really started this fight and any possible solution. 

Thus, remember, retaliation, howsoever it is small,  is never a better way of dealing with horrible neighbours. As soon as you are sure you are not taking part in revenge activities against neighbours, you can calmly approach your neighbour to discuss burning questions. 

Build a friendly relationship. 

Many surveys related to neighbours’ relationship shows that one in two people does not the names of their neighbours. As a result, this can turn into a real hitch to resolving any issues in a peaceful way. Thus, do not be afraid to introduce yourself when you have an opportunity. This will help build a stable rapport that later will help resolve issues more quickly. It will become quite difficult for your neighbour to continue their behaviour if they have friendly communication with you.  

To start this pattern, try to tell your neighbour in advance that you are having repairs, or renovation, or party, or anything else that might cause commotion or noise. 

Stay diplomatic and friendly

 Be diplomatic and friendly
Be diplomatic and friendly

Do not go angry on full mode when you approach your neighbour about the issues they may cause. Just try to talk about it in a friendly fashion or when the matters are more critical ask to meet for coffee to discuss them. That will show that discomfort is much bigger than they think.

More often than not neighbours just do not understand they are creating an issue, thus try to avoid straight and aggressive accusations.  Try to step in their shoes and think that such behaviour is not because bear a grudge against you but simply because they do not see that they do something wrong.  

Be apprehensive if your neighbor complains about you

As it is quite significant to talk about issues to your neighbour constructively and calmly, it is also important to be cooperative and attentive when your neighbour accuses you of bad behaviour. Of course, their complaint might be not quite understandable to you. For instance, the neighbour might complain about leaves from your tree that fall on their territory. However, it is crucial to be friendly than just be right. Answer to any kind of complaint the way you would want them to answer to yours. If you are ready to make everyone’s life better and easier, they will probably want to do the same. 

Evade gossiping about any neighbor

Regardless of how bad your relationship with neighbours, gossiping about will not do you any better. In any case, try to keep your thoughts or news about neighbours to yourself. However, if these gossips are related to you and your life, straightly approach your neighbour and discuss it without the presence of any third party. 

Be nice to neighbors’ kids

If your home is located in a cul-de-sac that has mostly family neighbours, you probably see and meet a lot of children playing outside. Everyone knows they can get a little bit noisy. Get acquainted with their parents and try to be nice to children.  If you are friendly to them, they will be more respectful to you when you ask them to lower the noise. 

Become kind of their friend to make these requests softer, If you like babysitting, provide help in watching kids off and on so their parents can have evenings to themselves. If you like to bake, try to make extra cookies or whatever you are doing for the neighbours’ children. While these children become older, you will see how these small gestures will pay off. 

Do not accuse the pets

Do not accuse the pets
Do not accuse the pets

One of the unpleasant things that may turn any good neighbour into bad one is when their pets are unattended. For instance, their cat may leave the home and ruin plants in your garden, or your neighbour’s dog might leave its droppings on your territory. Thus, remember that pets are just animals who do not know all rules from the human world. However, their owners still should be responsible for their actions. 

If you have a constant issue with these pets, try to show some empathy toward your neighbour.  You may tell them such a phrase: “I know how sometimes annoying it can be when you have small issues with your animal companion.” Try to offer your help in taking care of animals if you wish.  Moreover, if they know nothing about the problem, you have to tell them about it without being too critical.

If we are talking about a specific problem like cat ruining your plants, you need to ask your neighbour if they know about city ordinances about pets being allowed permitted to run loose. Do not forget to add that you do not like ideas for the control department to show up at the neighbour’s doorstep. If your neighbourhood near a forest or preserve, try to mention that some wild animals might unintentionally harm their cat that sometimes does not have instincts to protect itself. If your neighbour still does not react, go to the local garden centre and ask them for a certain product that can help repel animals without doing them any harm. 

Talk things out

Tell your neighbour about issues that bother you. There is might be even a chance they do not know about it. Thus, try to be direct and calm, not aggressive. Ask for their thoughts and offer possible solutions that might help resolve the problem. Remember to stay positive and calm. 

Should anything happen, document everything

With any luck, you probably will not need an intrusion of a third-party when you are dealing with bad neighbours. However, there is always the possibility that something can go wrong. As you should do your best to resolve a problem in a peaceful manner, you also should document every stage while you are at it. In the worst scenario, you will have to involve a homeowner association, the city building department, a neighbourhood group, or sometimes even local police. Thus, to maintain a record of all events, dates, emails, photos, texts that will prove your right. 

Study the according to rules before you take action

Before deciding on legal actions against your neighbour or a formal complaint, always make sure about things you are going to talk about. Consult a lawyer, contact the local housing department, or do some solid research to fully understand of what neighbourhood laws and rules you will talk about.  Ensure you are standing on the right side of the situation before you make it official. Then before taking final actions, try again to communicate with neighbour about rules and laws. 

For critical situations, contact the according to authorities

Certainly, friendly communication can not always fix things, even if rules are on your side. If you are tired of all previous actions and you still have bad neighbours, it may be time to involve according to authorities. Just be sure to consult the proper authority on your problem. Police should be at the end of all actions. For example,  a problem with neighbour’s trash in your yard can be solved by the city’s department of code enforcement. The issue of a loud or loose pet can be solved by the homeowner association. 

Evade scenarios that might cause straight conflict

Some problems between you and neighbours are likely to cause conflict between you two. For instance, purchasing a home next to one with a hoarder owner or with a shared driveway. No matter how nice these neighbours may seem at first, tensions will still rise in these situations. Besides from situation when you know neighbours quite good, try to avoid such scenarios at any cost.

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