What to do about Bad Neighbors

How do I deal with bad neighbors? Click here to read our five steps for dealing with neighbors that are too loud. 1. Be Friendly 2. Document Everything 3.

What to do about Bad Neighbors
Photo by Christian Stahl / Unsplash

We’ve all had the uncomfortable experience of doing our own thing and hearing the neighbors upstairs. Sometimes your neighbor’s dog has been constantly barking, your neighbor is parking their car in your spot, or your neighbor has left their trash out and it’s starting to smell. If it’s a one-time thing you might ignore it, but what if it’s become a consistent pattern? What if you have a Problem Neighbor? Steps need to be taken. Here’s our checklist to help you out.

1. Be Friendly!

The best way to deal with a Problem Neighbor is by getting to know them and having an open line of communication. It’s best when first addressing any problems to initially be friendly and communicate the problem. Don’t be confrontational or accusatory, just tell them what made you feel bothered. Sometimes they might not realize that they’re causing a problem for you.

2. Document Everything

If your conversation hasn’t resolved the dispute its best to write up an email to send to your neighbor. You should identify and detail what the problem is and include photos that document said behavior. Sending an email indicates that you are taking the problem seriously enough to document. Hopefully your neighbor will work on what’s been bothering you. If not, you have a document that can be forwarded to your landlord, the Homeowner’s Association (HOA), or lawyers.

3. Get your Landlord Involved

Including your landlord is a great way to provide a third party and mediator to the situation. Your landlord might already have an existing relationship with the problem neighbors, and could be more likely to resolve the dispute. Oftentimes your lease has a clause that guarantees you the right to a peaceful home, and they’ll be incentivized to resolve this problem as well.

4. Contact your HOA

If you live in an apartment, condo, or development, you should have an HOA that oversees the properties. Contacting them and letting them know about the situation will lead them to send someone over and give a warning to your Problem Neighbor. The HOA has the power to fine them if they continue their disruptive behavior.

5. Know your Rights

If you don’t have an HOA, your local zoning and ordinance laws can cover some complaints including noise violations or smoke (civil court) or any damage that has occurred (small claims court). A quick Google search can direct you to local laws and regulations and oversee departments or authorities that can call to notify you of any infractions.

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