June 3rd, 2014
You know who we mean. The neighbor that holds a yard sale every weekend. The neighbor that has loud parties until 2am. The neighbor that doesn’t take care of their lawn, and all the lawns downwind have dandelions. The neighbor that has the fence fixed or the boundary trees trimmed and sends you a bill without asking first.
But what’s the difference between annoying habits and a truly bad neighbor? And is there anything you can do about it?
First, make sure you’re a good neighbor. In your faithful blogger’s neighborhood, there were two families annoyed with each other. The one family complained that the other family played their music terribly loudly. And it turns out that the other family did turn their speakers and purposely turned the volume up. Why? Because the first family would leave and the dogs would bark incessantly at all hours of the day and night. When the dogs stopped barking, the music stopped playing.
It’s a good idea to chat with your neighbors regularly to ensure everyone is on friendly ground. You can always start the conversation by asking if you’re too loud.
If you’re the one hosting a big party, invite the neighbors over. Ensure that they have your phone number so they can call you instead of the police.
With luck and effort, you can prevent problems before they’re really problems.
If you’ve talked with them about a situation once, and it continues to be a problem, write it down. Include dates, and times. Also record when you talked with them about the situation. They honestly may not realize it’s as big of a problem as it is. Or you may realize that you may be making a mountain out of a molehill.
The other reason to document is that it shows you’re organized and serious if you need to take it to the next level.
Talk with other neighbors to see if they’re affected by the problem. And see if they’ve been keeping a written record as well. This isn’t a “gang up on the bad guy” time but rather comparing of notes and expectations.
Some cities have mediation. You can find out information by contacting your local city or county. This could be a great way of sitting down and clearing the air without increasing negative feelings.
Some developments have Homeowner Associations that can assist by sending notification of violation. In addition, some Condo Associations or HOA can buy the problem homeowner out.
If you’re concerned for your safety, call the police. You can also call the police if a law or ordinance is being broken. This is for things like excessive noise and illegal activity, not a tree limb hanging into your yard. Nonetheless, a police presence might show your neighbor that you aren’t going to let the problem go.
You could contact a lawyer, but know it will cost you money for the advice. However, that advice may pay for itself if you’re able to achieve your desired outcome.
Our last tip is before you buy a house, check with the local police to find out if anyone in the area has had complaints filed against them. That’s a pretty good warning sign that they are going to be a problem neighbor.