Plagued with bad neighbors on your street or in your apartment complex? You probably want to do something about their annoying habits, or seek a legal way to curb their undesirable behaviors. But whatever you do, acting rationally or carelessly can lead to even bigger trouble.
Learn the best and most efficient ways to deal with problem neighbors to restore peace to your home.
Reminders When Addressing Bad Neighbors and Their Problematic Habits
1. Be a Good Neighbor Yourself
Remember: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This is a popular bible verse (Leviticus 19:18) and life lesson that certainly applies to dealing with problem neighbors. Being a good and friendly neighbor helps others recognize you as someone worthy of respect and attention.
Start by introducing yourself around to establish a friendly relationship with your neighbors. Joining community activities and events is an easy way to achieve this. Also, it’s already a great gesture when you inform them about upcoming parties and renovation projects (noisy activities) that may cause disturbances.
2. Communicate Nicely
For example, let’s say your neighbor’s dog barks a lot at five in the morning, which disturbs your sleep before work. Instead of trying to speak in person right away, you could drop a note in their mailbox, saying: “Hi! I live next door and struggle to sleep most mornings when the dog barks. I’m wondering what we could do to solve this?” Don’t sound angry or accusing–try to sound positive and upbeat. Most people are willing to help when they realize they have been disrupting someone else.
When talking in person, still avoid an accusatory tone or the word “you” if possible. When there is a chance of disagreement, people can get offended easily if they feel too much pressure, brought on by the word “you” or “your.” Only mention the problem and not their connection to it, such as “when the music is loud” or “when the dog barks,” not “when your music is loud” or “when your dog barks.”
3. Contact Management
If you live in a regulated community, management is a great way to have the problem dealt with after trying to handle it yourself. They are the final authority and can impose consequences when all other communication has been ignored. If the problem is severe enough, the police may be the next best alternative, especially if you do not live in a regulated community.
4. Escalate Things Legally with Caution
This should be your last resort when friendly talks or outside help won’t work. Know the rules and regulations governing your area, such as your homeowner’s bylaws and state legislation. This will help you more favorably when the situation demands legal action.
Remember that it is wise to keep and maintain evidence of your complaint for proof of severity. Photos, video and audio are all good forms.
Just note that this should be your last option after other methods of communicating with your neighbors about the problem. But this should be an immediate action when your neighbors have done a serious offense against the law.