How to deal with neighbor complaints or issues
From noisy neighbors to adventurous pets, there are ways to successfully resolve disputes.
Common neighbor complaints
Whether you rent an apartment or condo, rent a house or own your home, good relationships with neighbors help make life easier. Even in the nicest of communities, complexes and neighborhoods, full-blown arguments do happen and several end up in the midst of a longstanding feud. Why do neighbor complaints end up in disputes and how can they work toward a peaceful resolution? Consider the following tips and also make sure you understand your renters or home insurance coverages.
Property line disputes
The adage "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"applies here. Before using what is considered a shared rental facility or installing a new fence, check with a landlord or have the property surveyed to determine the legal lot line. For the latter, the expense may save money — and a substantial headache — in the long run if it helps prevent conflict.
Noise is a very common complaint between neighbors. It's important to discern between one-time occurrences — for example, a last-day-of-school gathering — versus an overall issue with noise disturbances. If noisy apartment neighbors or neighbors playing loud music during the day interfere with your quality of life, engage in a neutral, calm conversation about concerns. If things don't get better over time, involve the landlord. Most lease or rental agreements include a clause called "Quiet Enjoyment,"and if several neighbors complain, the landlord most likely will order the tenant to comply with the lease or face eviction. If the landlord won't do anything about the loud neighbor, then research local noise ordinances for guidance. However, the first step to most neighbor complaints is to try to talk it out before escalating the situation.
It can be frustrating to come home from work to find the driveway or lawn littered with the leavings of a neighbor's cat or dog. And some animals can be dangerous or bite when left to prowl the neighborhood unattended. Know what the leash laws are in your area. If a low-key conversation doesn't work, take a look at local regulations governing things like the number of animals allowed per household or per the lease. Then decide the next step to take. If you are a pet owner, explore if pet insurance would be a good fit for you and your family.
Some busybody neighbors are just curious or sometimes a little too curious. If their interest isn't causing harm, let them be. It's easy enough to change the topic if the conversation becomes too personal or to convey discomfort with questions they shouldn't be asking. It's typically not worth fighting about something that can't be controlled.
Eyesores aside, unmowed grass, untrimmed trees or bushes and unkept trash piles may be in violation of either tenant or ownership regulations. Again, try to have a conversation first. If neighbors that rent or own are having trouble keeping up their property due to their age, illness or finances, offer to lend a helping hand. After all, it's hard to squabble with someone who's mowing the lawn.