Simple Tips When Dealing With Problem Neighbours

Story Highlights
  • No.1 - Establish a friendly relationship
  • No.2 - Assume that they have good intentions
  • No.3 - Document everything
  • No.4 - Research before taking action
  • No.5 - Be sympathetic towards your neighbours’ complaints

Buying a house often comes with hidden aspects that you only learn about after you have moved in.

One of those hidden elements is neighbours.

Sure, they waved at you and greeted you when you went to the open house but there is no telling what might happen as soon as you move in.

Bad neighbours are an immediate turn-off and it is often a sensitive situation when dealing with them. Communication often leads to misunderstandings and it can turn the interaction very sour very quickly. 

Here are five tips when dealing with problem neighbours:

No.1 – Establish a friendly relationship

The most important thing that you need to do is to establish a friendly relationship from the word go. This does not mean that you need to invite them for every braai that you host but it does mean that you need to take time to introduce yourself to them.

If a problem arises after this, it will be easier to sort out when you keep putting on a friendly face.

Make sure that there are clear lines of communication between you. If, for example, you are planning on renovating, let them know so that they can anticipate possible noise for a specific amount of days. 

No.2 – Assume that they have good intentions

When a problem arises, do not go over to their house, assuming that they are causing the problem on purpose.

There is a possibility that they do not know they are causing a problem.

Perhaps you have a problem with them playing loud music on a Saturday evening only to find that no one was tending to the stereo system at that time.

Accusing them of something they are innocent of is not going to work in your favour. If you want to emphasise the seriousness of the issue, extend a friendly invite to meet you for coffee. 

No.3 – Document everything

Usually, neighbours can sort out their differences between themselves and it is often not necessary to get a third party involved.

Having said that, however, you must keep a record of everything that you discuss with them even if the problem has been sorted out.

They might go back on their word or the situation escalates in such a way that you have to involve the authorities. When this happens, you have the facts at your fingertips and you can build a strong case against them. 

Rather be safe than sorry when it comes to arguments amongst neighbours!

No.4 – Research before taking action

The last thing you want to do is accuse your neighbours of doing something illegal without having all the facts.

Before you march over there with a list of rules that they are breaking, do your research.

You can talk to someone at the local police station or real estate attorney and find out if the law is on your side. Once you have all the information, you can go to your neighbour and inform them in a friendly manner that the law is on your side and that you are within your rights to take legal action. 

No.5 – Be sympathetic towards your neighbours’ complaints

Always remember that you are also someone’s neighbour and you can very easily become a problem, too. When a neighbour complains about your behaviour you need to be sympathetic to what they are saying.

Put yourself in their shoes: you would want them to be cooperative if the tables were turned so the best thing to do would be to remain thoughtful when someone accuses you of something.

It might be something very small, like leaves falling into their yard. In this case, it will be easy for you to trim the shrub or tree instead of responding with aggression. 


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