You’ve done months of research, found your dream apartment, and signed the lease. When you finally move in, however, you discover your next-door neighbor is a chronic late-night party person. Or maybe you’ve lived in your dream place only to have someone move into the next unit and deposit heaps of garbage daily outside the building.
Learning how to deal with annoying neighbors is an essential part of renting. Sometimes, you’ll figure out how to avoid neighbors and keep the peace. Other times, the problem gets too intense. You don’t want to get yourself into legal trouble by acting out of frustration. Before you reach your breaking point, learn about the legal steps you can take to deal with bad neighbors legally.
What makes a bad neighbor?
What makes a neighbor a bad neighbor? What gets on one renter’s nerves may not bother someone else at all, and what we perceive as bad situations can range from purely annoying to illegal. You’ll find a few main types of bad neighbors, such as the following:
- Noisy neighbors: From couples in the next unit getting into screaming matches at all hours and late-night party people to the kid who won’t stop blasting music, noisy neighbors can disrupt the sanctuary of your home.
- Messy neighbors: Who enjoys coming home to trash bags in front of the apartment? This type of neighbor. You might find some renters with pets who don’t bother to clean up after their furry friend, too.
- Unfriendly neighbors: Maybe the person next door never says a word to you, or maybe you have a neighbor who’s actively mean to you.
- Dangerous neighbors: Neighbors who engage in illegal activities, such as dealing drugs or creating a physical threat to you, go beyond daily annoyances. Some neighbors are downright dangerous.
Sound familiar? You’re not alone if you have some awful neighbors on your hands. Dealing with neighbors comes with the territory of living in apartments. It’s essential to learn how to handle situations with neighbors legally.
What a bad neighbor does will ultimately determine the type of legal remedies you can use. For example, you may have to accept hearing a dog that occasionally barks during the day or soundproof your apartment. Noise that violates city ordinances, however, might allow you to pursue a legal case.
Bad Neighbors — What To Do Legally
You can take a few steps when you’re dealing with bad neighbors without getting into legal trouble yourself.
1. Try a Polite Chat
First, try to have a simple conversation with your neighbor. A conversation could clear up misunderstandings by solving your problem without escalating matters further. Your neighbor might not realize you can hear the music blasting at 3 a.m., for example. A quick and polite chat can ensure that all parties are on the same page.
Remember, you may have to keep living next door to a bad neighbor. Diving headfirst into a legal dispute that you ultimately didn’t need can create additional stress and problems.
Of course, if your neighbor engages in criminal or dangerous behaviors, you’ll need to take this activity more seriously from the beginning. However, you can tackle issues such as a dog that barks while your neighbor is at work, for example. Addressing garbage left in front of your door may take only kindness and a candid talk. You might get the outcome you want and stay on good terms with your neighbor.
2. Work With a Mediator
If a polite talk doesn’t do the trick, you might consider hiring a mediator. An unbiased third party can help you and your neighbor work through the problems you’re having so that you can come up with an acceptable solution for everyone.
3. Involve Your Homeowners Association
Suppose you rent a property that comes with a homeowners association, such as a condo unit. In this case, you can involve the HOA if your annoying neighbor won’t solve a problem once you’ve had a polite chat. HOAs typically have guidelines and policies about solving neighbor disputes. Meet with your HOA to explain the situation and determine the appropriate next steps.
Additionally, HOAs have various areas they can regulate, including the following:
- Home-owned businesses
In other words, if your annoying neighbor isn’t following bylaws and guidelines, the HOA has the authority to step in. Your HOA can remedy the problem on your behalf in these cases.
4. Refer to Local Zoning and Ordinance Laws
You’re not out of luck if your community doesn’t have a homeowners association. Take a look instead at your local zoning and ordinance laws. If you can prove that a neighbor violated local law, you can bring a petition to seek an injunction or damages in a small claims court.
However, before you bring the petition, you might consider reaching out to your annoying neighbor again. Try writing a personal letter with information about the local noise and disturbance ordinances that apply to your situation and offer a constructive solution. Your neighbor might take the cue and resolve the issue with better behavior.
5. Contact Local Authorities
Sometimes, bad neighbors are bad enough to require involving the police. If you feel unsafe, you may need to go this route. Let the authorities know how you’ve tried to solve a problem — it’s always a good idea to keep documentation of ongoing harassment. The police will investigate, and you’ll likely need to appear as a witness if your case goes to court.
Dealing with neighbors comes with its challenges, especially if you live next to someone annoying you. Learning how to handle bad neighbors without getting into legal trouble yourself is an integral part of apartment living. By behaving politely and keeping the law on your side, you can prevent awful neighbors from ruining the experience of living your best life in your dream home.
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Neighbors from hell? Check out these 100% guaranteed methods to a better neighborhood atmosphere!
Do you or someone you know have a downright irritating neighbor? Do they frequently call the police on you for lightly playing Jack Johnson at 3PM on a Monday afternoon? Is your neighborhood not exactly on the corner of happy and healthy? Put those days of rivalry aside, and befriend your neighbors with these proven methods:
1. Duct tape their door shut. They’ll love the challenge of having to cut open their doorway every morning before class or work! This method will surely bring a smile to their face so early in the morning.
2. Donate your leftovers and compost to your neighbors! They will simply love having rotting fruits and vegetables to help fertilize their potted plants. Make sure to leave the compost on their doorstep unexpectedly, to add to the surprise.
3. When they glare at you in the hallway, it’s likely because they’re lonely! Purchase a friendly-looking blow-up doll (preferably one that resembles their favorite recording artist, such as Michael Jackson) and glue it to their front door. They will be thrilled to have a friendly face greet them every time they come home!
4. Scream erratically throughout the day, specifically in rooms where you share a wall. The shrieking noises will keep them on high alert, and help them focus throughout the day. Always being on edge will sharpen those keen minds!
5. Let your animals poop in their yard/ in front of their door. They always complain about your pets, presumably because they don’t have one – spread the love by using your own pets to help them feel like they have their very own!
6. Sign them up for every test product and magazine that you love, and I mean ALL of them! When they’re getting mail by the dozens, they will be so grateful that you’re willing to recommend new products.
7. Slip a rock into the hood of their car. The endless rattling noise will create a great beat for them to jam out to in the car! No more boring road trips – get ready to “rock on”!
8. To make them more comfortable, invite them over for a good old-fashioned exorcism! What better way to bond than to show them how culturally aware you are? (Make sure to mention you researched witchcraft because you assumed it was one of their favorite pastimes!)
9. Because they aren’t so talkative, try speaking to them in a more friendly language- like rabbit! They will adore your cute bunny noises, and will undoubtedly join in. Before you know it, you’ll both be hopping around like the best of friends.
10. You know that your neighbor is trying to make a good impression at their new job, and you want to ensure they feel more at home in their workplace. Forward all of the fantastic mail you just signed them up for to their work address! Imagine all of the conversations that will come up with your neighbor’s coworkers! New friends all around!
11. Now that we’ve forwarded all their mail, do them a favor and glue their mailbox shut! They won’t be needing it anymore, as all their mail is going directly to work. What a time-saver you are.
12. You often can hear them arguing in the bathroom on the opposite wall. To bring peace, find the largest and cheapest power saw you can at a local hardware store. Cut a small child-sized hole in the adjourning wall, so that you can always lean over there to interrupt those tense situations with some calm banter. It’s like a secret tunnel, and everyone wants one of those!
13. Invite Snoop Dogg and Rebecca Black to perform a three-week long, 24/7 mash-up concert in your very own living room. Who doesn’t love hearing a live remix of “Friday” and “Drop It Like It’s Hot”?
14. To finalize that friendly atmosphere you’ve been working so hard to make, throw a few gallons of curdled milk at their door while yelling “I’m your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man!”
14. As a last resort, just steal your neighbors’ identity and burn down your landlord’s building. They will be evicted and, finally, you can once again live in peace.
I followed these instructions step by step and the results were immediate! My days of being threatened by my neighbors are long gone, and I highly recommend you all do the same! Good luck!
We’ve all had the uncomfortable experience of doing our own thing and hearing the neighbors upstairs. Sometimes your neighbor’s dog has been constantly barking, your neighbor is parking their car in your spot, or your neighbor has left their trash out and it’s starting to smell. If it’s a one-time thing you might ignore it, but what if it’s become a consistent pattern? What if you have a Problem Neighbor? Steps need to be taken. Here’s our checklist to help you out.
The best way to deal with a Problem Neighbor is by getting to know them and having an open line of communication. It’s best when first addressing any problems to initially be friendly and communicate the problem. Don’t be confrontational or accusatory, just tell them what made you feel bothered. Sometimes they might not realize that they’re causing a problem for you.
2. Document Everything
If your conversation hasn’t resolved the dispute its best to write up an email to send to your neighbor. You should identify and detail what the problem is and include photos that document said behavior. Sending an email indicates that you are taking the problem seriously enough to document. Hopefully your neighbor will work on what’s been bothering you. If not, you have a document that can be forwarded to your landlord, the Homeowner’s Association (HOA), or lawyers.
3. Get your Landlord Involved
Including your landlord is a great way to provide a third party and mediator to the situation. Your landlord might already have an existing relationship with the problem neighbors, and could be more likely to resolve the dispute. Oftentimes your lease has a clause that guarantees you the right to a peaceful home, and they’ll be incentivized to resolve this problem as well.
4. Contact your HOA
If you live in an apartment, condo, or development, you should have an HOA that oversees the properties. Contacting them and letting them know about the situation will lead them to send someone over and give a warning to your Problem Neighbor. The HOA has the power to fine them if they continue their disruptive behavior.
5. Know your Rights
If you don’t have an HOA, your local zoning and ordinance laws can cover some complaints including noise violations or smoke (civil court) or any damage that has occurred (small claims court). A quick Google search can direct you to local laws and regulations and oversee departments or authorities that can call to notify you of any infractions.
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It’s 9 p.m. in Brooklyn, and my upstairs neighbor’s Lab retriever is running wall-to-wall sprints worthy of the NFL combine. Across the hall, a young couple is laughing hysterically and smoking something funky. And the Italian seniors next door are having sex and playing the Righteous Brothers so loud, I’ve definitely lost that loving feeling.
The good news is, the dog dash is always brief, the sky-high lovebirds let me borrow their drill, and the oldies fans tire easily—so, all in all, they’re good neighbors, which can be a rarity in New York City.
But I’ve definitely encountered some nightmare neighbors in the city—like the perpetually shoeless man who taught his three foul parrots to curse loudly for days at a time. I also spent two decades in suburbia, which was no commune, either. In third grade, a schizophrenic neighbor said God told her I was evil, and spread glass shards in our yard—a jarring experience at age 8, but in retrospect, a memorable lesson in the art of neighboring.
How to get over the fact you’re living among strangers
Your home should be your sanctum, a safe space in an increasingly chaotic world. Yet when moving into a new home you’re likely to find yourself surrounded by strangers. In concept, it’s a pretty threatening juxtaposition. In practice, however, it’s actually something to be embraced.
We all feel this way about home, and when approached correctly, you and your neighbor can unite your protective instincts, form a sense of community, and even help each other out when needed. You don’t need to have much in common, and save for the occasional “How’s it going?” or “What’s up!” you don’t have to interact that much. You do, however, have to respect each other’s space and peace. Do this and neighboring becomes like raising a garden: Seed thoroughly at season’s start, remember to water it, and if needed, carefully address pests before they choke out your tomatoes.
How to become friendly with your neighbor
The art of neighboring begins with a brief introduction to establish trust and initiate a civil relationship. This intro doesn’t have to be immediate, so don’t force it. If your neighbor has an armful of groceries outside your apartment building, it might not be the best time for getting-to-know-you (though it is the perfect time to hold the door open). Remember, a great first impression goes a long way toward preventing future drama, so when the right time does present itself, put on your happy pants. Kathy Neily, a New York–based therapist who specializes in conflict resolution, recommends a classic customer service smile and solid eye contact. “If this is an Oscar-winning performance, so be it,” she says. “You don’t have to feel this generous of spirit, you just have to act like it.”
From there on out, measured tolerance becomes the key to smooth neighboring. Easier said than done, though ultimately it does get easier, as learning to dissolve anger weakens negative reflexes to annoyances. This isn’t to say let yourself get walked on—if an annoyance threatens to affect your life, it’s time for a talk. And whether it’s your neighbor’s dog defiling your driveway or the apartment next door blasting Beyoncé at day-break, resist the urge to simply bang on your neighbor’s front door. “Stop and ask yourself: ‘How important is this?’” says Neily. “You have a right to your feelings, so voice the unedited version to yourself, then to someone who can listen without interrupting to give advice.” Once the anger subsides, should a discussion still feel necessary, plan your interaction logically.
The best way to handle a problem with your neighbor
Though nailing a note to the offender’s door may feel satisfying, the best way to handle an issue is in person. Neily says to remember, “I’m OK. You’re OK” is the message. It’s safe to assume that your neighbor isn’t necessarily an evil, malicious person who’s out to get you, even though it may feel that way. “Most people have no idea that what they are doing might be driving you crazy,” says Neily. Approach the neighbor on neutral ground so as to not activate territorial instinct—stay near your property line, or in your building’s hallway. Aim for the weekend when you’re both relaxed and simply explain the dilemma using the first person. “Keep it on the ‘I’, as in ‘I’m having a hard time sleeping with the volume of your music,’ ” Neily says. “Starting sentences with ‘you’ feels like lecturing and puts people on the defensive.” She says it may sound backward, but to get your point across, don’t talk too much. “After you give your ‘I’ statement, stop, listen to what they have to say. The more you respectfully listen, the better chance you have of communicating your version of the scenario.” And even if you have to bite your lip, try to end the discussion cordially.
How to coexist happily ever after with neighbors
Given mankind’s track record, peaceful coexistence on a mass scale may be a pipe dream, but basic neighborly living certainly isn’t. Just plant your garden, nourish the roots, and reap the rewards. And should complications arise, remember the art of neighboring: Settle your mind and evaluate the problem. If necessary, engage the neighbor at an appropriate place and time, using a first-person, non-accusatory tone. Treat the issue as a misunderstanding, not an act of war. Listen to their response, don’t interrupt, and conclude on a positive note. That is, unless you live next to an unstable shut-in convinced she’s doing the Lord’s work by scattering broken glass in your children’s sandbox. At that point you might want to tell the kids Finding Nemo is on, lock the doors, and give the cops a call.
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Whether it’s your starter home or the dream home you plan to stay in forever, you want your house to be a peaceful refuge where you can retreat at the end of the day. A bully neighbor can rob you of that relaxing feeling and turn your neighborhood into a nightmare. Figuring out how to deal with neighbors who are bullies depends largely on the behaviors you’re seeing and the resources available in your neighborhood.
As soon as you realize you’re dealing with bully neighbors, start documenting all interactions. Write down the dates and times of all incidents involving the neighbor. Take photos or videos of the problems the neighbors cause. If you involve the police, keep a copy of the police report, and document the date and time the police are called. This documentation can be useful if the situation escalates to criminal charges or any type of litigation.
It’s easy to get caught up in the emotions of the situation, but keeping a cool head helps you make the best decisions. It may also prevent escalation of the situation. Avoid the temptation to retaliate, to call your neighbor names or to lash out in response to something your neighbor does or says. If you lose your composure, the bully has the upper hand and enjoys knowing he pushed your buttons.
Try Talking it Out
In some cases, it’s best to keep your distance from a bullying neighbor. In other situations, expressing your feelings can help improve the relationship. Avoid emotional accusations, ultimatums and blaming your neighbor for the situation. Instead, bring it up directly, and explain exactly what the problem is. Be assertive without acting like a bully yourself. Have the discussion on the sidewalk or on the property line instead of going onto your neighbor’s property where he has the upper hand. Focus on working together to solve the situation.
Get Help From the Homeowners Association
If you live in a neighborhood governed by a homeowners association, contact the group for help in dealing with the bullying problem. If the neighborhood conflict relates to a neighbor violating a neighborhood covenant, the association may be more likely to take action.
You may also find some power in banding together with other neighbors. Perhaps you’re not the only one who has dealt with the bullying behaviors. If you stand up against the bully as a group, it’s more difficult for the neighbor to continue the bullying activity. Having another neighbor witness communication you have with the neighbor can also keep the situation under control and give you more evidence if the situation escalates.
If you can’t work out the situation by communicating directly with your neighbor, consider help from a mediator. A third party may be able to help resolve conflicts that are causing the bullying situation. For the best results, look for a mediator with experience in disputes between neighbors.
Call the Police
Bullying behaviors that put you in immediate danger or break laws warrant a call to the police. Your local police department can’t act as a mediator or choose sides in the situation. However, the police can protect you if your neighbor turns violent, damages your property or threatens you in a way that makes you feel unsafe. Your local police department may also be able to suggest local resources for mediating the situation.
Pursue Legal Action
When you’ve exhausted your options, it’s worth considering legal action against your bully neighbor. You may need to get a restraining order or press charges if your neighbor continually harasses you. You may be able to sue your neighbor if you decide to sell your house and she intentionally tries to stop the sale. Keep in mind you need evidence of your neighbor’s behavior when you pursue legal action, so your documentation is very important. Discuss the situation with your lawyer if you’re ready to take legal action. Your lawyer can advise you on potential legal options.
How to Use Crystals, Rocks & Essential Oils to Improve Relationships with Neighbors
Are you dealing with a bad neighbor?
- Can ruin the enjoyment of your own home.
- Makes you feel afraid to come home.
- Results in less time spent outside in your yard.
- Worries you.
- May cause you losses.
- Can create legal problems or problems with the police.
Feng Shui has great tools to deal with bad neighbors.
Unfortunately, if you do a Google search for this, you will find plenty of bad advice.
Examples of bad Feng Shui advice:
- Place a basin of water between your home and the home of your neighbor (don’t do this!)
- Painting your home white (don’t do this!)
- Using mirrors, including a bagua mirror (don’t do this!)
- Hanging bells on the fence that separates your home from your neighbor’s (don’t do this!)
- Using symbols of war or weapons (especially don’t do this!)
Much of the advice that is being given out there to deal with bad neighbors is either:
- Plain nonsense (not based on true Feng Shui knowledge), or
- Would create bad karma for you, or
- It might even backfire and cause problems for you and your loved ones!
In this teleclass, Feng Shui Cures to Deal with Bad Neighbors, How to Use Crystals, Salt & Essential Oils to Improve Relationships with Neighbors, I share with you energetic Feng Shui cures to help with bad neighbors that have worked for myself and many of my clients.
These are tried and true Feng Shui cures to deal with bad neighbors that are:
- Customized according to the location of the troublesome neighbors (left, right, back, across, all around)
- Designed from a love and above perspective, so they can’t backfire on you and your loved ones.
- Free of bad karma.
- Easy to implement.
- Won’t provoke your neighbors into creating more trouble
I just finished Moni’s replay of her course on Feng Shui for Bad neighbors! OMG, it is AMAZING. Numbers, colors, crystals, essential oils, placement, everything and more. I am so impressed with Moni’s knowledge and wisdom. So many teachers have knowledge but they do NOT have WISDOM. Moni does. THANK YOU SO MUCH!
– Xena Laminak,
Spring Creek, NV
You will learn how to use sea salt, crystals, and essential oils to create metaphysical Feng Shui cures to protect you from bad neighbors, create a harmonious environment in and around your home, and improve your own luck.
Updated 08/12/2021 – No matter where you live, you will more than likely have neighbors. Some may be closer than others, and many will normally stay to themselves. It’s important, however, to learn how to deal with bad neighbors in case you start to have issues. Remembering the golden rule is also important.
How to Deal with Bad Neighbors
Complaints Go Both Ways
There are times when your actions may be annoying as well, so always try to give your neighbors the benefit of the doubt. Give and take is essential when it comes to dealing with your neighbors. Be considerate. If you plan on making renovations, constructing a new building, or having a party. Notify your neighbors ahead of time and let them know there will be an increase in traffic and things may be a little louder than normal. Approach sensitive topics with tact and be as respectful as possible.
Document! Document! Document!
If your neighbors are constantly stepping over the line in terms of noise, disruptive behavior, or simply doing things that are unneighborly, it’s important that you start to document everything. Use a calendar and record the day, date, and time, as long as any information that you can use to describe the event. Also document any conversations (or altercations) that you have with your neighbor about their (or your) behavior.
Know the Rules
If you live in a subdivision, apartment complex, or trailer park, you need to know the rules of the property. Living in a traditional neighborhood may mean that you report to your local homeowners’ association. Knowing the rules about the expected behavior of residents who live in the community is extremely important, especially if you are having issues with one or more of your neighbors. Before filing a complaint, you need to know what incidents are reportable and who they need to be reported to.
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Always do your best to avoid conflict. Instead of repeatedly filing report after report, try to overlook the minor things. No one is perfect and there may be things that you do that upset your neighbor. It’s always a good idea to meet with your neighbor on neutral ground and discuss what is going on. You may be able to work things out by involving your landlord or rental agency office. Be a good neighbor and your neighbor may be willing to do the same.
Contact the Local Authorities
If you have tried everything you possibly can to resolve the situation on your own and nothing has worked, your next step should be to call the authorities. Destruction of property, continued noise violations, reckless behavior, and knowingly disrupting the peace are all situations in which the local authorities should be called. If an incident occurs in which you feel that you or your family have been threatened, call the authorities immediately.
Knowing what to do about bad neighbors will help you diffuse volatile situations if they arise. Avoiding conflict should always be a priority, but there are times when action needs to be taken. Err on the side of caution and always try to be as friendly as possible. When that doesn’t work, know that you do have other alternatives you can rely on.
(US law and generally) Harassment is a serious issue, and though we might expect it on the street or even at work, it often blindsides us when we are at home. In some cases, the worse harassment comes from your neighbors, and if your neighbors are engaging in harassment directed towards you, your family and your property, you need to take action. Harassment is not necessarily something that goes away on its own, and it can have far-reaching effects that touch every aspect of your life. If your neighbor is harassing you, consider some essential steps.
First, identify the harassing behavior. One common form that harassment takes involves police agencies. For example, your neighbor may start calling in noise complaints to the police directed at your property. He or she might also surreptitiously destroy your property or damage it. These behaviors may seem minor at first, but they can escalate, and even if they do not, they may be persistent. Harassing behavior can have some profound effects on your life and your health, so take it seriously.
Document everything. If the police come to your home, ascertain why the came and the name of the officers in question. If you notice damage on your property, take pictures of it, and if you have any threatening confrontations with your neighbor, write down the date and the subject of the confrontation. If they ever touch you or act in a way that is unwelcome, mark that down as well. A log like this can help you establish a pattern of harassing behavior if the matter needs to come to legal issues. You will also find that in some states, recording your conversations with someone else is entirely legal. Before you do this, however, you should always make sure that you know what the laws in your area are like.
Talk to other neighbors. You may find that you are far from being the first victim of this kind of abuse. Many people who harass one person are willing to harass more, and you will find that this kind of behavior might be wide-spread, even if you have never heard about it before. When you are asking around, speak to your neighbors in a calm and deliberate manner. Tell them that you are not interested in causing trouble, but that you have been feeling very frustrated and angry. This is something that can help you figure out if there is a pattern to the harassment and if others have gone through the same thing that you have. If you find that other people are suffering too, you will discover that this can strengthen your case significantly.
Be very clear in confrontations with your neighbor. It is not typically advised that you confront your neighbor but some contact may be unavoidable. If you need to simply ignore your neighbor and to remove yourself from the situation, then do so.
Contacting Legal Authorities
It is important not to take harassment from a neighbor lightly. If they have gone to some trouble to harass you with police presence, your life can easily be disrupted. Most of the time, the violations that they have accused you of will simply result in a warning, but in other cases, you may fined or worse. These are things that can have a lasting impact on your life, even if the original charge seems ridiculous or like something that would be quickly dismissed.
Harassment from a neighbor can quickly become an issue that impacts your life in a big way. Ehow states that you should take a moment to consider contacting an attorney, especially if the police have been involved ( http://www.ehow.com/how_2140660_deal-harassing-neighbor.html ). Make sure that you know your legal rights and that you understand what recourse you have.
This article was written on behalf of Avalon Construction in Malibu, CA , a leading custom home builder in Southern California.