We’ve all been there at some point. Unkempt lawns, pesky dogs, unruly kids, junky cars. That neighbor is in every neighborhood. It’s only a matter of time before you discover who it is, and hopefully it’s not you! But how do you deal with bad neighbors? Let me tell you: declaring war is not an option. So here are 5 tips for you to remember when dealing with awful neighbors— If you take this advice, you’ll soon be known as the neighborhood hero.
1. Think about where you are putting down roots first and foremost. If you are looking for some peace and quiet, then maybe don’t live in a neighborhood populated by young families. If you don’t want to hear a lot of street / rail traffic then start your search in the suburbs. Do your research before you decide on a location where you are the odd man out.
2. Get Friendly. Introduce yourself to your neighbors, doing so will make later conversations easier if tension ever arises and you won’t be know as the cranky or stuck up guy next door.
3. A little empathy goes a long way. Never let a complaint turn into an attack. If fido next door won’t stop howling at the moon at midnight, don’t storm over to your neighbor’s porch right then and there. Wait for the sun to come up and bring it to their attention in everyday conversation. They may not even be aware of the problem!
4. Don’t assume anything. Your neighbor may have a trashy looking yard because they are physically unable to mow and clean up on their own. Again, the more you know your neighbors the less issues will arise and the more you’ll be able to keep the peace!
5. Know the law of the land. If need be, there are rules in place in every neighborhood that should help resolve conflicts. What are the regulations for noise, junk cars, unmowed lawns, and trash in your municipality or homeowners’ association? (You can go to your local city or county homepage or try a site like MuniCode.com.) If talking to your neighbors face to face doesn’t move things a long this can be your next step, but be aware: often times reporting a neighbor to one of these organizations will not exactly be appreciated and could cause future conflict.