Dealing with problematic neighbors is always a touchy subject. How do you best approach issues you may have with them? Our other neighbors experiencing the same problems? This issue of dealing with bad neighbors can be a big struggle and if you recently purchased a house and realize you have nightmare neighbors, you don't just have to grin and bear the undesirable behavior or tension on the block. Here are several ways that you can deal with problem neighbors.
#1. Check yourself first.
Make sure you're not the bad neighbor. It's easy to pick apart someone else's behavior but a little harder to understand that your behavior might be causing the problem. Ask yourself are you keeping your noise at a decent level, are your pets quiet and friendly, do you keep things neat and tidy, do you respect property lines, do you have a revenge style approach to your neighbors? Once you're confident that it's not you that's causing the problem, then you can go on to other solutions.
#2. Develop a friendly relationship.
Did you know that one into Americans don't even know the names of their neighbors? This is a big problem when trying to peacefully resolve conflicts. It can be a lot harder for your neighbor to keep causing you problems if they see you as a friendly neighbor. Start a good line of communication and make sure you inform your neighbors of any changes you'll be making such as doing a renovation or having a party. Simple respect can go a long ways.
#3. Start with good intentions.
If you immediately approach every conflict guns a blazing, chances are you're not going to get the response you want. If you approach the subject in a friendly manner without the need to escalate a situation and try to defuse any conflict, it can go a long way in repairing the relationship and avoid accusing them of any wrongdoing. Put yourself in their shoes. Would you want to be screened that if you didn't even realize you were being a nuisance?
#4. Document everything.
We certainly hope it doesn't have to come to 1/3 party involvement, but it is possible. It's best to document everything including phone conversations, in-person conversations and the date and time of any instances that might be problematic. You may be able to present this to your homeowners association and get them involved if necessary.
#5. Understand the rules.
Before turning in any complaint, make sure you understand all the logistics. Are there HOA rules, legal rules, or avenues that you need to proceed down to handle things in the proper way?
#6. Avoid scenarios that are likely to cause conflict.
Some situations are almost guaranteed to cause conflict such as sharing a driveway, an easement, or if you have a neighbor who's a hoarder or argues loudly all the time. Some of these issues are very sensitive and should be avoided at all costs. However, if you feel that there is an issue that may be hazardous to someone's health or a detriment to someone or something, do your best to go through the steps of dealing with it on your own, through the Association, and finally, the authorities if necessary. This is obviously a last resort and authority should only be contacted in extreme emergencies.
Sometimes, just talking to your neighbors and getting to know them will ease the strain and conflict that you may have experienced. Who knows, just getting to know them may spark a friendship as well, making it even easier to bring up issues in the future.