Are bad neighbors driving you to the brink of madness? Maybe your neighbors’ dog is barking at all hours of the night. Or maybe a pile of garbage has been sitting in their driveway for weeks. Whatever your neighbors are doing to draw your anger can be a frustrating situation to resolve. Searching for an effective and non-aggressive way to deal with your bad neighbors is best. After all, your neighborhood is a shared living space that each of its members has the right to enjoy.
Here are seven simple tips that can help you resolve your neighbor-related issues!
1. Be Polite.
Before attempting anything extreme, start by politely asking your troublesome neighbor to consider the issue. It could very well be that your neighbor is completely unaware of your frustrations. If this is true, your neighbors are not being intentionally rude and would likely work with you if they were given the opportunity.
All you need to do is knock on your neighbors’ door and introduce yourself. Take the time to explain the issue to your neighbor in person. Remember to be courteous and specific. Let them know exactly what they are doing that is driving you crazy, without seeming rude or aggressive. You don’t want to turn the situation around and have them viewing you as the bad neighbor.
Expecting your neighbor to read your mind and know what bothers you is unreasonable. Be clear about your concerns and be ready and willing to compromise. While never hearing their parties again might be of no objection to you, it’s often unreasonable to ask for them to completely change their lifestyle.
If your complaints draw their sympathy, they are more likely to listen. Instead of saying “your music is too loud,” try something like “your music is keeping me up past my bedtime.” Approach your neighbors with a problem and be willing to work toward a solution. By doing so, you’ll be more likely to find success than if you simply charge in and demand specific behavior.
2. Avoid Notes.
Leaving written notes to address concerns with someone’s behavior is ill advised. Notes are too easy to ignore and their meaning can be misinterpreted. Though it might be hard to summon the courage, facing your neighbors in person is more likely to yield results.
If leaving a note is necessary, pay careful attention to its tone. Read the note over to make sure that no part of it can be confused or is likely to upset the recipient. If you aren’t careful, a note can be turned against you if the dispute ever draws the attention of others, like the police or the rest of the neighborhood.
3. Offer a Hand.
Depending on the circumstances, offering a hand might make your neighbors more willing to try and fix the problem. For example, if you are tired of their ill-kept yard you might offer some help with lawn-care. Maybe you have some tools they can borrow to make the job easier.
If the problem isn’t something you can fix, offering a hand gives the impression that you are dedicated to finding a solution. This helps your neighbor see that whatever is bothering you is indeed a problem and not a minor inconvenience.
Avoid offering money or hiring help. Many people resent the idea that they can’t afford to fix their problems.
4. Recruit Other Neighbors.
If a bad neighbor shows no sign of changing their behavior, getting some support from the neighborhood is the next logical step. If your neighbors’ behavior is bothering you, then the odds are good that it’s also bothering some of the other local residents. Talk with your neighbors to test the water: see if they are equally bothered and, if they are, whether they would be willing to sign a letter or statement concerning the behavior of the troublesome neighbors. Remember, there’s strength in numbers. Being approached by a group of upset individuals will be much more difficult for the bad neighbors to ignore.
Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean that you should form an angry mob and gather on your neighbors’ front porch. You don’t want to promote an “us vs. them” mentality. You all live in the same neighborhood and should therefore contribute to creating an inclusive space that can enjoyed by all members.
5. Document the Problem.
If asking nicely didn’t work, it might be time to consider more serious measures. To start, document the problem you are facing. Doing so will provide you with evidence if you need to involve the authorities. Take photos or video of anything relevant. Save any emails or notes that are exchanged. Gather proof that your neighbors are affecting your reasonable enjoyment of your living space or violating municipal bylaws.
6. Know the Law.
It is important to know whether or not what your neighbors are doing is in violation of any laws. If it is, then you are almost certainly in the right, and involving the authorities will favor your position. You can use the Internet to become familiar with your local laws by searching for a list of legal bylaws in your area. You can also call your local city hall and request help in finding applicable legislation.
Relevant laws might include the following: trespassing, destruction of property, reasonable enjoyment of property, noise violations, barking laws, and laws concerning property maintenance.
7. Involve the Authorities.
If you’re fairly certain that your neighbors are breaking the law, and have evidence to this effect, then it might be time to involve the authorities. Contact the city, the local police, or your home owner’s association to address the issues at hand.
Keep in mind that this approach will likely destroy your relationship with your neighbor, so save it as a last resort. Involving the authorities is a good way to shock your neighbors into changing, but it should not be used as a way to moderate minor disputes.
Bad neighbors can leave you feeling stuck and frustrated. After all, you can pack up and move away from your neighborhood, but this is an expensive and annoying solution if the only reason you are doing so is to escape someone that is bothering you. A house is a big investment, and a bad neighbor can affect your ability to enjoy it. By using these tips, you can overcome problems with troublesome neighbors. With some luck, you’ll soon be enjoying a little peace and quiet.