While it would be wonderful if you could live in a world where there were no bad neighbors, this simply doesn't happen. At some point in your life, you are going to have to deal with a neighbor that decides to play their music as high as it will go or allows their dog to constantly come onto your property and leave "gifts" behind. Believe it or not, disputes among neighbors are pretty common. Here are five things that you can do to handle a dispute with a neighbor:
1. Sit Down with Your Neighbor.
While you may be so angry with your neighbor that you want to call the police, this should never be your first course of action. Instead, you want to try to call your neighbor and schedule a time when you can both sit down and have a chat. You need to make sure to stay calm during this meeting and talk to them about the concerns that you have been having.
2. Send a Letter.
In some instances, the face-to-face meeting will not work. When this happens, your next step is to get your complaints written down and send a certified letter to your neighbor. But, first, you need to get your hands on local ordinances and/or the bylaws of your homeowner's association. Look for the ones that address the specific issues that you are having problems with and make copies of them to provide to your neighbor. In addition, you will want to provide an explanation of how you would ultimately like to resolve the situation.
3. Call the Police.
If your neighbor continues on or allows the problem to escalate, such as turns the music up even louder, you can call the police. For example, if your problem is a noisy neighbor, there are likely noise ordinances in place and the police can remind your neighbor of the city noise ordinances.
4. Head to Mediation.
If things get out of control enough that you have to phone the police, then it may be time to consider mediation. Mediation is an inexpensive alternative to court. If you are in a homeowner's association, most of them will have a mediation board. Alternatively, many cities offer low-cost (and sometimes free) mediation services. A mediation can help both parties come to an agreement.
5. Take Your Neighbor to Court.
When all else fails because your neighbor is simply being irrational, you can always speak to a real estate attorney and consider taking your neighbor to small claims court. If the aforementioned steps didn't get their attention and show them that you were serious about the matter, legal action definitely will.