How to Handle Bad Neighbors

We’ve seen it in the movies and on television shows – what happens, although most of the time exaggerated when there’s conflict with your neighbors. Perhaps an incident occurred or maybe you just don’t get along with each other. If you’ve discovered this is your current reality, read below for some tips on how to handle this situation in the best manner. After all, life is easier when we all live in harmony and peace can be achieved if all try hard enough to obtain it.

Take the time to get to know each other. Start by building a foundation of trust, you’ll often find great friendships form rather easily this way. If you’ve never spoken to your neighbors, don’t hesitate to make the first move. Initiate conversation past the simple hellos and good evenings, strike up a conversation. You never know what you may have in common with one another.
Prevent possible issues from occurring. If you’re having a get-together, be courteous and invite your neighbors. If you don’t feel comfortable in doing so due to not knowing them well enough yet, keep them in mind when it comes to the level of noise that arises from your party. Be respectful. You certainly wouldn’t want them to call the police.
If an issue occurs, document it. Keep track of the date it occurred, the time it happened, and take photos if necessary for proof. Going back to look at what you recorded will help you analyze the severity of the problem. Having proof will back up your claims when speaking to your neighbor about the problem and will help you should the authorities need to be involved. If you know your neighbor is violating a rule or law, do some research of what they’re violating, write up a report of what you’ve witnessed, and send it to the proper authorities.
Believe in the power of communication. If there’s an issue, don’t be afraid to talk to your neighbor about it. Perhaps they’re unaware that it’s bothering you or that it’s even an issue at all. Be open, direct, honest, and listen to what they have to say. Don’t yell, don’t seem demanding or rude. Offer a solution and get their opinion on the matter. Be open to compromise and remain calm and collected.
Talk to your other neighbors. See if they’re having the same issues with these certain neighbors that you are having. If not, ask their opinion on the matter. It never hurts to get a second or third opinion from an outsider!
If push comes to shove, reach out further than your other neighbors for help. Contact your homeowner’s association about the issue and see how it can be easily resolved so both parties are happy with the end result.
Speak to a lawyer. If talking to the trouble causing neighbor didn’t work, as did neither your other neighbors nor homeowner’s association, contact a lawyer and have them conduct a letter stating legal action will be taken. However, getting a lawyer involved may make matters worse; you’ll want to make sure this is your last resort in the manner.
Get a third party involved. If your neighbor is willing, get a third party mediator involved to settle the issue. You can research a mediator located near you at the National Association for Community Mediation website.
Call the authorities. If talking has only led to the dead-end road, contact your local police department. Keep in mind they can only do so much; they’re more helpful if a law or ordinance has indeed been broken.
Take your case to small claims court. Know the problem, present the evidence, and come up with your own logical estimate of what the damage is, should that be the problem with your neighbor. Keep it simple and keep it honest, as you will most likely be representing yourself.

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