Although statistics show that only 20% of Americans interact with their neighbors, somehow, we’ve all had experiences with a bad neighbor or two in the past. While the obnoxiously-loud-music-playing teenager next-door and oh-so-nosey elderly couple down the hall can hardly be considered bad neighbors, there are those really bad apples that seem to exist for the sole reason of making life a living hell for everyone around them. While there is no one-fits-all approach to dealing with nasty neighbors, there are things you can do to make your life easier, to say the least. And since moving out is not an option for most, we have created a list of some of the ways on how to deal with bad neighbors.
How to deal with bad neighbors
- Get to know them
Whether you lived in the neighborhood since you were born or just moved in, knowing your neighbors on a first name basis can help establish common ground. Familiarity can certainly help if conflict does arise in the future, because differences take much longer to resolve amongst total strangers than acquaintances.
- Be open minded
If your neighbor gives you a heads up about possible noise that may be coming from a party they will be hosting tomorrow night, have an open mind and respect that they came to you out of consideration. Of course, if the noise escalates beyond what is bearable, express your concerns to your neighbor the next day, so it doesn’t happen again. Don’t be quick to call the police. Unless your life is in danger, calling the police for every annoying thing your neighbor does can backfire.
- Communication is key
If your neighbor repeatedly bothers you with their actions, address the issue with them head-on. Do not assume they know they’re making life uncomfortable for you. They may be unintentionally doing something annoying and will stop as soon as you tell them it’s bothering you. At the very least, they may make an attempt to fix their behavior. If all else fails, continue to steps below!
- Know the law
Knowing the governing laws in your community can help you make good decisions when it comes to dealing with problematic neighbors. If your neighbor is a repeat offender who doesn’t want to compromise, knowing regulations pertaining the surrounding area of your property can help you to lawfully address the matter, rather than retaliating in a way that may get you into trouble. You neighbor may be in violation of certain city laws. In which case, the city may be able to get involved and resolve the issue on your behalf. Do your research, and report the problem to the proper authorities.
- Have evidence
If the same issue keeps coming up, document it. Keep track of the date and times your neighbor is up to no good. If necessary, take photos and keep a log of your surveillance footage, if possible. You will have information and proof to back up any claims made against the offensive neighbor. Remember, when it comes down to it, the individual with hard evidence has the upper hand.
- Call the police
Unless your neighbor is posing a threat to you or breaking the law, you probably won’t reach a long-term solution by calling the police. However, police presence may intimidate your neighbor into doing the right thing the next time around.
- Consider mediation
If you’re not comfortable with things escalating to court or simply don’t have the time to attend a small claims court, you may want to try using a mediator to help resolve your issues. National Association for Community Mediation is a third party service that may help you and your neighbor reach a win-win solution. Consult with a mediator near you to discuss possible solutions.
- Take them to court
Do your homework and consider your options before taking your neighbor to court. Although, a small claims court is an affordable option if you wish to sue someone, it is time consuming. Make sure to have sufficient evidence and reasonable estimate for the claim.