What to do about Problem Neighbors?
Dealing with bad neighbors is a fragile business. Here is the way to improve things on the block.
Figuring out how to deal with bad neighbors can be a significant battle. There is nothing worse than purchasing a home and then realizing you have nightmare neighbors. However, you don't only need to grin and bear your neighbors' undesirable behavior or tension on the block. With the ideal strategy, you can turn it into a chance to construct a fantastic connection, develop a more favorable atmosphere for you and the rest of your neighborhood.
Here's how to deal with bad neighbors
1. First off, be sure that you're not the bad neighbor.
It's simple to find out exactly what your neighbor is doing to drive you nuts, but it's somewhat more difficult to understand how your behavior may be affecting them. Because you'll never get a neighbor to shape up if they believe you are the issue, make sure that you're as near a model homeowner as possible prior to approaching them. A few hard questions to ask yourself:
- What's your noise level like? Loud TV, music, or machines can drive neighbors bananas every time daily. And even ordinary noise, from say, yardwork , should not be waking them up in the morning or preventing them from enjoying a calm evening.
- Are your pets quiet and friendly? Noisy, threatening, or roaming dogs -- as well as roaming cats -- can grow to be a sore spot for neighbors.
- Can you keep things clean? If your yard is overgrown or your children' toys are strewn all around the place, it may become an eyesore. Neighbors might begin to worry about your poor home upkeep damaging their home value.
- Do you respect property lines? Do not allow your trees, fences, or any other property encroach on a property line, unless your neighbors specifically say they are alright with it. It might appear fussy, but it might prevent a variety of disputes.
- Are you currently playing tit-for-tat? If you started parking over the property line because their dog barks a lot, you'll never figure out who was actually in the wrong -- or find a solution. Revenge, no matter how minor, is not effective at dealing with bad neighbors.
As soon as you're convinced that you are not engaging in any bad-neighbor behavior, you can approach your neighbor to talk about what's bothering you.
Develop a friendly relationship.
Survey revealed that one in two Americans doesn't even know the names of their neighbors -- which may be a significant hindrance to solving conflicts peacefully. Introduce yourself at the very first opportunity so that you get a strong rapport to build upon if a problem arises. It'll be a whole lot harder for your neighbor to keep causing you grief if they see you as a friendly face.
To begin a routine of excellent communication, tell your neighbor beforehand any time you're having a party, doing renovation, or whatever else which may create noise or commotion.
Assume good intentions.
Do not go in guns blazing if you approach a neighbor about what's bugging you. Drop by and approach the subject in a friendly manner, or, in the event you want to gently escalate the situation, ask that they meet you for coffee. That will suggest that the matter is a huge deal to you.
Neighbors frequently don't understand that they're creating a problem, and it's ideal to avoid appearing like you are accusing them. Place yourself in their shoes and begin by imagining that their problematic behavior isn't because of any ill will towards you.
Be sympathetic if your neighbor complains.
While it's crucial that you bring up problems to your neighbor in a constructive manner, it is just as crucial to become considerate and cooperative once you're the one accused of bad behavior. The complaint may not make much sense to you -- for instance, leaves from a tree on your property falling right into your neighbor's yard. Nonetheless, it's more important to be more friendly and accommodating than to be"right." Respond to any complaints or requests the way that you'd like them to respond to yours. If you are eager to try and make their lives better, they will be more likely to do the exact same for you.
Document everything, just in case.
With luck, you won't ever need to involve a third party when sorting out how to deal with bad neighbors, however it is always possible. While it's well worth doing whatever you can to resolve a problem peacefully and voluntarily, it's also advisable to document every step along the way just in case. On the off chance you have to call for a homeowner association (HOA), a neighborhood group, the city building department, or perhaps the local authorities or a lawyer, keep a record of applicable dates, times, emails, texts, as well as photographs, so the facts are at your fingertips for those who need them.
Research the rules before taking action.
Before turning your complaint into lawful action or an official complaint, be sure to understand what you are talking about. Speak to the local housing department, consult with a lawyer, speak with your HOA, or just do some good Googling to get a sense of what the neighborhood rules and the law have to say regarding your dilemma. You need to be certain that you're on the right side of things prior to making a major deal out of it. (For one of the most typical neighbor problems, have a look at this useful manual to easements.) Afterwards, in a gentle and friendly manner -- you can let your neighbor know that the law or rules are on your side.
For critical issues, contact the authorities.
Obviously, friendly conversations don't always fix everything, even when you're in the right. If you've tried everything else and the problem neighbors have not ceased their offending behavior, it might be time for you to get the police involved. Just be sure that you consult the right authority about the problem -- and always make the authorities your final stop. For example, an issue with garbage all over a person's yard can most likely be resolved with the city's code enforcement department. Along with a noisy or frequently loose dog may warrant a call to your HOA prior to the police or animal control.
Avoid situations likely to trigger conflict.
Some scenarios between neighbors are almost guaranteed to trigger conflict -- for instance, buying a house next to one which shows signs of being a hoarder house or one having a shared driveway. However likable your neighbors might appear, tensions will likely rise in situations such as this. So if you don't know your neighbor exceptionally well, it is best to prevent the possibility entirely.