You have just moved into your dream home in your dream neighborhood and all is well…until you are awoken at five in the morning by the noisy residents next door. Bad neighbors are an annoying part of neighborhood life, especially if you live in a townhouse or condo. Luckily, there are approaches you can take to deal with these less-than-desirable neighbors.
The first step towards approaching bad neighbors is to first conduct some self-reflection to make sure you are being a pleasant neighbor. Evaluate your noise level – are you keeping TV and music volumes at a respectable level during the day and at night? Are your pets quiet and non-threatening to passersby? Is your yard kept well-maintained, and do you respect property lines? If you answer no to any of these questions, you should first work to resolve these issues before considering approaching your neighbor. You may find that they are causing disturbances in response to your own.
To resolve neighborhood conflicts peacefully, you should first attempt to develop a friendly relationship with your neighbors. After all, how can you approach them if you don’t even know their name? If you are kind towards your neighbors and make regular conversation, they may be less likely to cause you trouble. It also helps to establish good communication whenever there is an instance where noise levels and disturbances may increase. For example, it would be kind to notify your neighbors of increased noise if you plan to have a party or renovate the home.
When you do decide to confront your neighbor about the disturbances, it is important to do so peacefully and understandingly. It’s a good idea to invite your neighbor to sit down and talk about the situation so they know that you are serious about the matter. Avoid creating accusations, as this may escalate the meeting and make it harder for the problem to be resolved. If your neighbor also expresses some complaints about you, be calm and thoughtful in your responses. The goal of this meeting is to come to an equal understanding and solution, so avoid bringing emotions into the matter.
Under ideal circumstances, you won’t have to involve a third party to be relieved of your neighbor’s disturbances; however, this is not always the case. If you do have to contact the HOA, neighborhood group, city building department, an attorney, or the police, it is important to have the facts and proof readily available. This documentation should include notable dates, times, emails, texts, and photos.
Before you decide to take legal action to deal with the issue, make sure you know what you are talking about. Contact your HOA to get an understanding of the community rules, and consult a lawyer to see what action you can take. After doing this, if you can determine that your neighbors need to follow the rules, notify them that you will take formal action if the problem does not get resolved promptly. As discussed above, it is essential to do this calmly so that you don’t cause any unnecessary upheaval.
If you have done everything you can to get your neighbors to stop creating disturbances, the last course of action you can take is to contact the authorities. Contacting authorities should be your last resort, so make sure to conduct research on which authority is the most relevant to handle the issue. Minor disturbances can be taken care of by city code enforcement or the HOA, whereas major and potentially harmful disturbances should be handled by the police.
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