Sometimes, no matter how nice we are, conflicts happen — and this means with neighbors too. Neighborhood disputes can get nasty and make returning to your dream home a nightmare. Here are some ways to deal with bad neighbors:
- Communicate. Sometimes disputes happen because of misunderstandings. Maybe the neighbor genuinely didn't know that the tree they cut down was on your property. Or that you mowing the lawn after a certain time bothers you. Maybe they don't realize that their dog barks at night because they're used to it. If there is a problem, politely let them know. Invite them over for lunch or a cookout and take the time to get to know them. Be prepared for them to point out some ways that you can be a better neighbor too.
- Check your HOA regulations. If you are part of a Homeowner's Association, your neighbor could be violating some of the neighborhood regulations. Follow the procedure for filing official complaints or mediating any neighborhood disputes within the HOA guidelines. If you are not part of an HOA, the neighbor could still be violating local codes or ordinances. Do some research and report the violations to the proper authorities.
- Be a good neighbor. It's the golden rule, after all. If you want your neighbor to be respectful, you should be too! Let your neighbors know when you are planning to hold parties or events at your home that could impact noise levels or parking. Stay open to communication with your neighbors, and they will be more likely to offer you the same courtesy.
- Talk to other neighbors. Maybe other people in the neighborhood have the same complaint. They may be able to help you resolve the problem.
- Document everything. Sometimes, communicating and being a good neighbor just isn't enough. Make sure you document problems with photographs and keep notes about what was done on which dates. This will help you back up your claims when you talk to the neighbors themselves, and it can also help you if it becomes something that the authorities need to address.
- Assess your options. If you have tried everything and you are still having problems, you may need to talk to a lawyer. As a last resort, threatening legal action could be a way to get the problem taken care of. Small claims court could be an option you want to pursue if there have been any damages.
- Call the police. Never let your emotions get the best of you. If a dispute becomes dangerous or a neighbor threatens you or your property, contact the police. Show them your records and explain the problem to them. Remember that the police don't really have the authority to do anything unless an actual law or ordinance is being violated.