We can’t always choose our neighbors even if we sort of did when we moved into the neighborhood. However, over time, new people can move in and move out and you might be stuck with a neighbor that’s difficult to get along with. If you’re struggling with a problem neighbor you should first determine if it’s you or them. Is there something you are doing that’s causing them to be the difficult neighbor? Do you have no easy pets? Is your property neat and tidy? Do you respect property lines? If you’re pretty sure you’re not the bad neighbor, there are 7 tactics when dealing with a problem neighbor.
#1. Assume good intentions.
Don’t go straight for the jugular thinking that they are just a jerk and have no idea how to respect other people’s property or space. If you go in guns a blazing you will probably escalate the problems more rapidly than it needs to be. Assume the best and put yourself in their shoes. Their behavior may have nothing to do with you personally.
Related: 5 Things to Know About a Neighborhood Before Moving in
#2. Be empathetic.
If your neighbor is complaining don’t go straight to the defense or attack. Try to come to a reasonable agreement by being sympathetic and empathetic with them. Even if the complaint doesn’t seem reasonable to you, it’s more important to be friendly and accommodating than to be right.
#3. Document everything.
Just in case, it’s important to document all of your communication with your neighbor in case things get out of hand. The last thing you want is to involve a third-party to sort out issues, but, if it escalates to this extreme, it’s important to have some backup in the form of documents and conversations when necessary.
#4. Are they following the rules?
Before complaining officially to a homeowners association, verify that what they’re doing is actually breaking any rules. It’s important to consult a lawyer or talk to the HOA to see if your complaint is warranted. Before making a big deal out of an issue, make sure you are on the right side.
#5. Try to develop a friendly relationship.
Did you know that 50% of Americans don’t even know the names of their neighbors? This alone can be a huge hindrance to resolving conflicts peacefully. Simply by introducing yourself, being friendly, waving, and starting a pattern of good communication can go a long way.
#6. Avoid scenarios that could cause conflict.
Some situations are unavoidable and tensions can arise in situations that are out of your control so some things are best avoided if possible especially if you’re dealing with a neighbor that struggling with addiction, hoarding, or other major issues.
#7. Contact the authorities in a last-ditch effort.
If you are dealing with things that are illegal or out of your control, it may be time to contact the authorities. This really should be the last straw, however. If you’re dealing with a loud animal that’s violating noise ordinances, trash ordinances, or anything that the city can possibly handle, it’s best to go that route if all other avenues have been exhausted.
Again, let’s go back to the beginning and make sure that you are not the problem. By correcting you first, it can open your eyes up to what’s really going on and may cause you to be a little bit more sympathetic.
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