It’s every new homeowner’s nightmare (or one of them at least): Settling into your new home only to realize you have a neighbor from hell. You can spend all of the time you have creating the most beautiful new home in the most serene new home community, but if you end up moving next to less-than-perfect neighbors, your life can quickly be turned upside down. That hard part is that while you can do ample research to make sure the neighborhood you have chosen has good schools and a low crime rate, it’s almost impossible to predict what your neighbors will be like until you have already moved in. Since you’re the new kid on the block, you often have the lower hand when trying to deal with neighbors that are becoming a burden in your life. But don’t worry. Here are some tips for dealing with neighbors from hell and ways you can address the situation without becoming the pesky neighbor yourself.
Schedule a Time to Talk
Acting on impulse is never a good idea. If your neighbor is being really loud in the middle of the night or lets his dog go to the bathroom in your yard, heading over there ranting and raving will never end well. Instead, wait until the next day and ask your neighbor if you can schedule a time to talk about what is concerning you. Doing so will give you time to collect your thoughts and speak rationally. Plus, your neighbor will have a chance to think about what you might want to talk about.
Talk in Neutral Territory
When meeting your neighbor, rendezvous on the sidewalk or at the neighborhood park. That way, no one is given home-court advantage. You can both talk civilly with equal investment.
Be Kind, Yet Firm
When bringing up your concerns, it’s important to speak kindly and show compassion. Everyone has different reasons for doing things, and you have no idea what is going on in his personal life. For example, if your neighbor has been leaving the trash out for too long, perhaps he’s working late hours. However, as important as speaking nicely is, it’s equally important to be direct. Your neighbor should not have to guess what your concerns are. They need to clearly understand what is upsetting you so they can take action appropriately.
Instead of simply stating what your neighbor is doing to upset you, come up with a few agreeable solutions that will keep you both happy. By showing that you’re willing to compromise on the situation, your neighbor will be much more likely to comply.
Document, Document, Document
After your meeting, make sure to keep records of everything that continues to ensue. That way, if you do need to take any further action, you will have proof on your side. You should write down dates, what the neighbor is doing and what you did to try to rectify the situation.
Consider Legal Action
If you have spoken civilly to your neighbor and nothing seems to be improving, it may be time to get some other entities involved. You can start by talking to your local homeowners association. Typically, homeowners associations supply guidelines in hopes of preventing disputes between neighbors and protecting the common interests of all neighborhood residents.
When you move into a new home, you just want to live a peaceful life and enjoy the people around you. No one wants to have to deal with unruly neighbors. As soon as you move in, consider introducing yourself to your neighbors. If you already have the basis of a friendship, your neighbor will probably be much more willing to work with you if a problem does arise. And make sure you’re being a good neighbor as well. Do your part to keep the peace, and hopefully they will do theirs.
Rachel Morrow is a freelance writer for NewHomeSource.com. She covers a variety of topics, including home and outdoor living, interior design and real estate.