Like most people, you probably prefer your neighbors to be quiet, friendly, and respectful. As the saying goes, good fences make good neighbors — but what do you do when the wall isn’t enough?
If you live in an apartment complex or apartment building, your landlord may be able to intercede on your behalf. But if you own a house or rent from a small-time landlord, it can feel as though there’s little to no recourse for dealing with nasty new neighbors who cause excessive noise and disruption.
The answer is that there are remedies available for rectifying bad neighbor behavior. Unfortunately, the process can be more of a hassle than it’s worth. Because the laws governing neighbor disputes vary from state to state and even down to the local levels of county and city ordinances and codes. Therefore, it can be difficult for both tenants and landlords to know their rights.
Importance Of Having A Good Neighbor
A good neighbor can significantly impact your life, and you can greatly influence them.
Every neighborhood is different, but some common elements make a good neighbor: they’re friendly, help you out when they can, and they’re trustworthy. You may think of your neighbors as people who live close to you—but the truth is, they could be anyone in your community.
It’s hard to overstate the role good neighbors play in our lives. A good neighbor can save your life by alerting the fire department if your house catches on fire. Or invite you over for dinner when you’re sick or sad, or offer to pick up something for you at the store if you’re running late for work. They might even show up with cookies when it’s your birthday!
Different Types Of Bad Neighbors?
Suppose you live in an apartment complex or a neighborhood with homes on top of each other. In that case, you may have experienced some issues with the people around you. The problem is that, while your home is your castle, sometimes you want it to be all about you.
However, neighbors may not always be considerate of your needs. These people can come in many shapes and sizes, but usually, each one can fit within a few main categories.
The Noisy Neighbor
This one is pretty simple. Whether they listen to music too loud, their baby cries for hours on end, or their dog doesn’t stop barking, this noisy neighbor does not care much about your need for peace and quiet.
The Aggressive Neighbor
You were talking outside when he came out of his own house with a bat and told you to shut up because his family was sleeping (even though it was 4 pm). He then yelled at anyone who walked by, asking if they had a problem. Even if they didn’t, he abused them until he got a reaction.
The Inconsiderate Neighbor
There’s really no obvious sign that this person doesn’t like other people. They just do a bunch of stuff that isn’t cool without thinking about it much at all. Examples include having parties every other night (without inviting those around them). Other neighbors are not cleaning up after their dog when it poops on someone else’s lawn and not keeping up their yard so that weeds grow into the neighbors’.
Not all bad neighbors have to do with property values or noise ordinances. Some bad neighbors are just plain mean. This type of neighbor doesn’t care who they hurt as long as they get what they want. Furthermore, they can go on living their life uninterrupted by anyone else’s problems, including yours. They’re rude because it makes them feel good, and they don’t care who they make feel terrible in the process.
The Messy Neighbor
This neighbor, who really should just be a good person, is the one who cannot seemingly keep their common areas clean. A typical example of this is the neighbor who constantly leaves his trash in the lobby, making it harder for other people to use that space. Another example is an awful neighbor who lets her kids paint with markers or crayons on your wall.
The Neighbor Who Parks In Your Spot (Annoying Neighbors)
Again, everyone should know it’s not okay to park in someone else’s spot. It’s the equivalent of taking someone’s seat at a restaurant without permission—but sometimes, people just don’t get it. This can be frustrating when you have somewhere to go and are blocked by your inconsiderate, annoying neighbor.
Then there are mean neighbors who won’t say hello when you run into them in the elevator and complain about everything under the sun—even if it has nothing to do with you.
What Can You Do About Your Bad Neighbors?
We’ve all been there. That moment when you hear your awful neighbors slam the door, and you know they’re home. And you know that you’re about to be kept up until 3 am by their screaming and fighting.
Nothing can ruin your day quite like a bad neighbor. Whether they’re loud, messy, or just plain rude, it’s hard not to take it personally—even though it’s not personal at all!
So what can you do? Here are some ways to deal with bad neighbors.
Approach Your Neighbor in the Right Way
So what do you do when you finally get fed up? Well, first of all, calm down and take a deep breath. We know how frustrating it can be to live with a next door neighbor who isn’t considerate, but getting angry will only make it worse. You need level-headedness if you’re going to approach your awful neighbor about their problematic behavior in a way that won’t annoy or offend them because, obviously, you don’t want things to escalate.
Remember: they’re just people showing annoying behavior, not demons from hell sent here to try your patience. The way you present your request is as important as what you say. If you keep this in mind when making a request of someone, it will help you frame things properly.
Write A Letter
Writing a letter is one of the most effective ways to communicate with someone who has done something that bothers you. A note lets you put your complaint in writing to be on record and you don’t have to worry about forgetting all of the details as time goes by. To write a good neighbor complaint letter, keep these things in mind:
- Be polite and understanding, even if you are angry or frustrated.
- State clearly what they did that bothered you and how long it has been happening.
- Let them know how their actions have affected you, and ask them to stop doing the annoying behavior right away. It’s important not to threaten legal action or physical harm. This will only cause your neighbors to be defensive and less likely to change their problematic behavior for the better.
Include some information about yourself, so your neighbors know who wrote the letter. If you like, make an offer to talk more about this in person over coffee or something similar. This can help make them feel at ease with a situation often awkward for everyone involved.
Call The Police
Call the police or local authorities if your neighbor breaks the local law. If you suspect violence, theft, or other illegal activity on your neighbor’s property, call 911 immediately. This is not a time to be diplomatic with the person–it’s time to contact local law enforcement to handle the matter.
Find out whether your police department has a non-emergency phone number and use it when in doubt about what constitutes an emergency. It’s even recommended to report city ordinance code violations or other ordinance issues, like loud music by noisy neighbors after midnight (if there is such a rule where you live) to the local authorities.
If possible, talk to the police when they are there so that you can file a report yourself. Get any information needed for filing a statement from them. The officer’s name(s) and badge numbers, how to contact authorities later if need be, and the best way to follow up with them regarding their investigation. Finally, get a copy of the police report number so that it can be referenced later if necessary.
Deal With Your Bad Neighbor Legally
The best way to deal with bad neighbors legally is to have a face-to-face conversation. You can tell them that you don’t like the loud music they play, the dog they leave on the patio all day, or the trash they leave on their front lawn. This might be a little awkward at first, but chances are they didn’t even know their actions bothered you and will try their best not to repeat them.
Suppose you don’t feel comfortable talking directly to your neighbor. In that case, you can always call animal control for pet issues, police for noise complaints, and HOA (Homeowners Association) for parking violations. The best thing about these options is that there’s no need for confrontation between you and your offending neighbor.
However, suppose repeated complaints are made by either party. In that case, both of you will most likely have to head to a small claims court for a resolution. In instances where talking doesn’t work or doesn’t seem like an option at all, it’s time to involve the law in your legal dispute with your neighbor.
With that said, one of two things will happen:
- Either one of you will be forced by local authorities not to do whatever bothers the other party.
- Or, hopefully, some sort of understanding will be reached between both parties through legal mediation, which should make life easier for everyone involved in this nuisance case.
Use Mediation Services
Another option is to use mediation services! But first, let’s talk about what mediation is and why it works better than any other legal action when dealing with bad neighbors.
First, mediation is a voluntary process. You will not make your neighbor go to the meeting by force. Second, this is a chance for you to negotiate a solution for both sides so that everyone wins. Your goal should be to make your neighbor stop doing whatever it is that’s bothering you, as well as preserve your relationship with them in the long run.
Mediation services are usually provided by local government offices or small community organizations. They can help resolve all types of disputes, from noise complaints about loud parties all the way up to neighborhood disagreements over property lines and fences between houses.
Mediators are often trained volunteers who have experience working out conflicts between people. They don’t get paid unless they successfully mediate an agreement between two parties involved in conflict situations.
In conclusion, you are legally allowed to report your neighbor to the police if they disturb you in any way. However, you should first ask them politely to stop doing the things which bother you and only report them when they do not listen to your request. The ordinance laws protect your right to peace and quiet and will take action against those who make it difficult for you to enjoy your own property.
At Homes by Ardor, we match our goals with those of our customers and try to be as impartial and as understanding as possible while evaluating your property market options. Our professional real estate agents are always available to assist you with any real estate issues or demands you may have as you get closer to purchasing your ideal house. Contact Homes by Ardor to schedule a consultation now.
Kris Reid is the CEO of Ardor SEO, a company that helps real estate professionals get more leads and customers to predictably grow their business.
Over the years, Kris acquired extensive knowledge of SEO and its practical applications in various industries, with the main focus on real estate.
In 2021 Ardor launched the Icons of Real Estate Podcast to share proven strategies from the top producing icon agents with the real estate community.
After obtaining the real estate license in 2022, Kris joined eXp Realty and launched Homes by Ardor, the platform that was built to be the fastest way to buy or sell a house. Homes by Ardor also provides leads for its partner companies and realtors.