Dealing with Neighbors

Dealing with Neighbors

Welcome to the neighborhood! Having neighbors is not exclusive to homeowners, but as a homeowner, your relationship with your neighbors may be more long-term. In a nutshell—it's a good idea to be on good terms. If you are new to the neighborhood, your neighbors can be an invaluable source of information on such matters as where you can find good pizza or a reliable mechanic. When you first move in, knock on their doors and introduce yourself. Always be considerate and conscientious of those around you. For example, don’t leave a pile of beat-up cars on your lawn, let your grass grow two feet tall, put a piece of plywood over a window instead of fixing it, or do anything else that would make your house an eyesore.

Dealing with Neighbors: Handling Problems

What if your neighbors are doing something that negatively affects you, like playing loud music late at night? The first step is to try to talk about it with them—they may not even realize that they are bothering you. See if a solution can be worked out that satisfies all parties. What if you can’t? If you live in a community with a homeowners association and the dispute involves the neighbors breaking one of the rules, you can ask the HOA to intervene and enforce the rule. Or, if the neighbors are breaking a law or ordinance, you can report them to the police or other appropriate enforcing body. If going to the HOA or police is not effective or applicable in your situation, then you may find it helpful to use a mediator. A mediator is an impartial third party who tries to guide both sides in working out an agreement. As a last resort, you can take your neighbor to court. This option may require you to hire a lawyer, which costs money and will likely affect relations between you and your neighbor.

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