How To Handle A Bad Neighbor

Posted by Kevin Kling on Friday, June 8th, 2012 at 8:43am.

We have all had a couple “bad” neighbors in our day. You know the ones I’m talking about. Whether it’s blaring music in the wee hours of the morning, unkempt yards, or a myriad of other rude or thoughtless activities, the occasional bad neighbor rears his or her ugly head and leaves you, the home owner, frustrated. But what can be done if the occasional weekly raucous turns into a nightly block party? Obviously, I might suggest moving to a new, beautiful beach home or condo in the Daytona Beach area. But for those not ready to escape, I offer a few non-self-serving bits of advice.

1. Kill Them With Kindness

Please do not actually kill them. In fact, let’s rule out any bodily harm toward that pesky neighbor. Depending on how communication has gone with your neighbor to this point, I might suggest a somewhat old-fashioned approach. Cook a dish (or purchase if your cooking will do more harm) and bring the food over to the nuisance neighbor as a sort of peace offering. I think it is hard to be crabby or obtuse when you have a fresh baked pie or casserole dish staring you in the face. Then, while your neighbor is distracted by the delicious aromas of your dish, politely attempt to discuss any areas of concern you have with your new friend.

2. Write the neighbor a letter.

I am not naive enough to think all problems can be solved with fresh baked cookies and a smile. And often, face to face encounters can become heated depending on the history and severity of the neighbor’s actions. To avoid any possible altercation, I would suggest writing a polite, professional and detailed letter of your concerns to your neighbor. When you finish the letter, always reread it. If possible, even have another outside source read it also. You want to avoid any contemptuous or threatening language in your letter. Nobody responds well to this sort of confrontation, so if your letter does have an aggressive feel, discard it and think of it as a therapeutic release of your own emotions. If you do feel comfortable with your letter., drop it off at his door and hope your neighbor will see the possible err of his or her ways and work to rectify the situation.

3. Contact proper authorities

At the end of the day, you have the right to be happy and comfortable in your own home. If all other attempts fail, and the neighbors actions are completely out of line, there may be officials that you can contact to help improve the conditions. If it’s a noise complaint, your local police can be called. If it’s a jungle next door, each city has departments that can be called to bring your neighbor into compliance with local codes and regulations on lawn maintenance. In the end, regardless of the problem or complaint, there is most likely someone whose job it is to help rectify these situations. It is better to have these people confront the problem-neighbor than to make the situation any worse by handling it yourself.

For every one of these “bad” neighbors, though, there are many, many great neighbors. Don’t let one person or household interrupt your life or happiness.

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