- 1) Dealing with problem neighbours requires a friendly approach
- 2) Don’t assume bad intentions from the start
- 3) Document everything when dealing with problem neighbours
- 4) Know the law when dealing with problem neighbours
- 5) Make sure that you don’t become the bad neighbour
Dealing with problem neighbours is something that every homeowner is going to experience at some point. It might be the party people across the road or the couple next door with a noisy dog.
Whatever the situation, dealing with problem neighbours isn’t something anyone looks forward to. There is always the possibility of it becoming confrontational instead of leading to a peaceful resolution.
Luckily, there are a few things that you can do before the frustration boils over into pure, unadulterated fury. Here are 5 things to try when dealing with problem neighbours.
1) Dealing with problem neighbours requires a friendly approach
The best way to deal with an unpleasant situation is to form a friendly relationship with the person you want to address. This is especially important when it comes to your problem neighbour. Many people don’t even know the names of the people who live next to them. How will you air your views and lay your complaints to a total stranger?
When you have the opportunity, introduce yourself to your neighbour. Try establishing a rapport with them and start a pattern of good communication. It will be far more difficult for a neighbour to continue giving your problems if they regard you as a friendly person.
2) Don’t assume bad intentions from the start
It is very easy for homeowners to assume that the neighbour is being difficult on purpose, especially if the problem is persistent. The worst thing you can do is march over to their house and start accusing them. This will immediately cause an antagonistic environment to which the neighbour will respond negatively.
Instead, invite them for a cup of coffee or have a chat outside your home. Most of the time neighbours don’t know that they are being problematic. Make your problem known courteously and start by assuming that they are unaware of the frustration they are causing you.
3) Document everything when dealing with problem neighbours
If you have tried to be friendly and the problem is persisting, then you should start documenting the situation. Unfortunately, there are cases where homeowners have had to involve a third party and this is where record-keeping will come in handy.
In your documentation, you should record the grievance that you have, how often it has occurred, and that you have already met with your neighbour to discuss this. Include copies of text messages, emails, and letters that you might have sent as well as the neighbour’s responses. This way you will have the facts ready should you have to involve a homeowners’ association, a community group, or the police.
4) Know the law when dealing with problem neighbours
Your last resort should be involving the authorities. This isn’t something that you want to have planned from the start, but often problematic neighbours need to be handled by people with more authority.
Before you lay a legal charge against your neighbour, make sure that you know the law. Will the law be on your side if you had to lay a complaint at a police station? Will the homeowners’ association back you up if you report your neighbour to them? You can then let your neighbour know that the law is on your side and that you can take legal action against them.
5) Make sure that you don’t become the bad neighbour
No one is perfect and there will be times when you might be on the receiving end of a complaint. If your neighbour comes to you with a complaint, be friendly and accommodating. These complaints might not make sense to you but it is something that bothers your neighbor. They might not like that the tree in your yard is leaning over their fence, for example. You can easily hire someone to trim the tree to avoid this problem.
The golden rule is to respond to their complaints the same way you would want them to respond to yours. This way you can always be on good terms with your neighbours.
When dealing with problem neighbours the key is to always be cool, calm and collected. Involving a third party should be the last resort and it is advisable to come to an agreeable solution between the two of you. It is the best way to encourage neighbourliness and good communication. Good luck!
Further related articles: