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Steps to take when dealing with unruly neighbors

Whether it’s a noise issue, property line issue or something odder, many neighbor disputes are caused by avoidance and poor communication. Level-headedness and breaking down barriers can go a long way when dealing with a pesky neighbor.

Your first step to calming the situation, it to build trust and rapport. Attempt to create a cordial relationship. You don’t have to be best friends, but acquaintance level interactions can help diffuse tension.

Follow these other tips to manage unruly neighbors:

  • Documentation: No matter when the issue began, document what and when it happened. Continue documenting the information if it is a constant issue.
  • Communicate: If the issue began before you build a relationship with your neighbor, do so before bringing up the issue. If your neighbor knows you, they are less likely to feel threatened by your accusations and can be more open to resolving the issue. Also, directly address your concern; beating around the bush or passive-aggressive communication will not solve the problem.
  • Seek guidance: Thanks to the vastness of the internet, there are online communities of people like you, seeking a sounding board to vent about and discuss ways to deal with their bad neighbors. More compliant neighbors around you may also be able to provide advice or may be willing to side with you and strengthen your position.
  • Research the issue: Your neighbor may not be following community or city ordinances. Do your research, document, and report. If they are violating city or community codes, or breaking the law, the proper authorities will handle it.
  • Mediation: The issue could be more of an interpersonal matter or one in which you don’t want to involve the authorities. If so, mediation could be the answer, but only if you are both willing to talk, listen, and compromise.

Though mediation is cheaper than small claims court and litigation, when other avenues have been exhausted and the problem persists, litigation may be your only option to get that unnerving neighbor off of your back.

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