Being in a beautiful home in a quiet town does not guarantee peaceful living if next-door neighbors are the wrong type of people. Dealing with bad neighbors can drive an even-tempered person to the brink of meltdown.
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Who are these bad neighbors?
The most common next-door offenders whom we can easily classify as bad neighbors are the following:
- The territory invaders: Someone who encroach an unfenced property and stakes claim for their own benefit
- The scandal makers: They screaming moms with uncontrollable children, fighting spouses who always find time for arguments, or someone who comes over and picks fight without any reason.
- The lazy ones: A neighbor who lets the grass grow, or allows rubbish to rot without disposing of them properly.
- The noisemakers: They honk their horns in the middle of the night, play loud music, or host noisy late-night parties.
- Careless pet owners: They leave their furry friends without a leash to soil everywhere or pose a risk of biting young kids.
- The oddballs: They have a reputation of being mentally deranged or dangerous to society (drug dealers, gang leaders, sex offenders, etc).
If putting order into your domestic affairs can be a challenge sometimes, these pesky neighbors add stir up your stress levels.
How to spot them
- Walk around the neighborhood. Do you hear faint but recognizable domestic altercation between husband and wife? Or maybe unleashed barking dogs.
- Check Google Street View maps. Enter your neighborhood address and navigate virtually. Check for tell-tale signs of the common characteristics described above: empty backyards that look like landfills.
How to deal with bad neighbors
Observing signs of a troublesome neighbor is one thing. But if you are provoked or feel the need to confront over a blatant act such as playing loud music at midnight, you need to make a stand in an effort to correct an offense and resolve the issue in the order of escalation.
Approach in a mild tone
Without sounding threatening to the offending party, approach this neighbor in a diplomatic tone, opening yourself for a healthy conversation. If they apologize and immediately stop the act, be thankful for their cooperation while hoping it won’t repeat. A polite introduction shows you don’t jump into an accusatory finger; let them know how the problem bothers you and suggest ways to solve it together.
Arrange to meet and settle the problem
If they are not around, arrange to meet up for a personal conversation. If you are not good at talking over the problem personally, drop out a friendly note expressing your concern or wishes. It is your discretion however if you will leave your contact number on it to discuss further the problem. Check out local noise and disturbance ordinances and write a personal letter. Be sure to offer a solution.
Seek your landlord’s help
If you are living in an apartment as a tenant with bad neighbors, address your concern to your landlord. Him sending a warning against other tenants who do not observe quite a time especially during sleeping hours. This is also applicable if your tenant’s daily activities take a toll on your health; for example, smoking just in front of your door or yelling in the middle of the night triggers your bouts of anxiety.
Consult your condo or block association
If you live in a condo block or a subdivision governed by a homeowner’s association, approach a board member and ask them to send a standard letter citing the ordinance or by-law. Do not just go to authorities without exerting personal efforts to mitigate or rectify the bad situation. For instance, when your neighbor is creating unnecessary noise in the middle of the night, play soothing, ambient music. But you are also aware this is a temporary remedy while waiting for your condo board’s action.
Reach out to fellow neighbors and police authorities
It is also possible that others are bothered by these bad neighbors. Banding together to form an alliance can build solid evidence against the offending party. Check if other affected neighbors are willing to put up a discussion or open forum with the neighbor at fault. Make it a polite discussion where everyone can speak up, suggest and commend a solution to the problem.
If your initiatives do not work and your neighbor threatens you in any way, it is best to call the police to protect you and keep you away from any potential harm. Keep a record of your complaint.
Call in an expert mediator
If the issue is more than just petty disturbance (noise, sanitation, etc) and instead involves a dispute over the ownership or security, it’s advisable to call in a third-party mediator who may come from the condo board, barangay council, or police station.
File a complaint in court
If you have sufficient evidence of any wrongdoing of a bad neighbor, one of the last resorts is going to a local court to settle the problem. Any scandalous activity of your nearby residents can go to court especially when you have explicit evidence (e.g. photos, videos, sounds, documents) against your neighbor at fault.
Move out of the neighborhood
If you feel the security of yourself and your family is at risk, this may be the way to go.