You scoured the area until you found your dream neighborhood to put down roots. After time (and money) spent you finally have a peaceful place to seek refuge after work, create happy memories and just enjoy the Great American Dream. Until you realize your new neighbor likes to party until 3 am several nights a week, turns their garage into a working mechanics shop 18 hours a day, or decides that your sidewalk is the perfect place for their Great Dane to poop every morning- turning your dream into a full-fledged nightmare.
Problem neighbors- we have all had one or two in our lives, and if you haven’t- chances are you will at some point. Rather than suffer in silence or start an epic Hatfield and McCoy battle, there are steps you can take to try and bring you well deserved peace back.
First, just make it a general practice to get to know your neighbors. You don’t have to have them over for dinner every week (or ever), but be able to wave hello and ask them to keep an eye on things while you are away. That way if problem arises you will already have a bit of a relationship. Next, explain your concerns to your neighbor. Notice that I did not say “confront”. Many times pointing things out reasonably will be enough to change the situation. Perhaps something along the lines of, “Gee, I really hate to come over and ask this, but your guests have been parking really close to the front of our driveway, and it is really hard to get my car out. Could you please ask them not to park there again? Thanks!” Offer suggestions on what you can do together to remedy the problem. (For instance- if your neighbors tree is encroaching on your backyard and dumping a slew of mesquite beans in your pool, perhaps offering to assist in the trimming is a better route than demanding the tree be removed. After the two of you trim it, offer them a beer or some lemonade. Well, on second thought- maybe just stick with the lemonade unless you are certain that things won’t devolve into an alcohol fueled spat. You may discover than being sweet will pay off in the future!)
If the behavior continues, start documenting it and alert your HOA, if you have one. Check and see if your neighbor is violating municipal codes- the city or county may be able to offer assistance. (Without question, if something illegal or dangerous is happening you should call the police.) At the end of this post we are including helpful links for information about city and county ordinances.
Litigation should be the last step, but in some situations it is unavoidable. Keep your cool, and keep documenting the incidents. Documentation is crucial for a positive outcome in a court case. Just be smart about it, and don’t get into a fracas while you are taking photos or making any recordings. Safety is the number one priority, as unfortunately many neighbor feuds have culminated in tragedy. Check for online groups like NeighborsFromHell.com, where you can get some great advice and support. Everyone deserves to feel at peace in their home, and there are ways to bring that peace back! Good luck!!!~~