I am sure that each of us has had a bout with obnoxious neighbors who drive us down the wrong road. Unfortunately, we are not always aware when we are the ones who are noisy. It is easy to forget that the people who live nearby have different schedules than we do. This only becomes harder when there is a truly gorgeous day outside and we wish to go out and mow our yard, or host a barbecue, or otherwise enjoy our day off at home.

This post will cover a couple different topics, from how to determine if you or a neighbor is a bad egg, how to help stop yourself from becoming a bad neighbor and how to deal with bad neighbors.

3 Ways to determine if you have a bad neighbor or are a bad neighbor yourself

One of the first things people should look at is house upkeep. This is based on the appearance of the yard and house itself. If the grass is tall enough that you worry about getting lost if you step in it, this could be a problem. If the house looks like it should be condemned or older than its build date, then you could be faced with a bad neighbor. Neighbors who care for their own property are likely to care about the neighborhood. That includes yourself. In today’s economy it is easy to lose the ability to take care of the property and house so this can’t be the only identifier of ย a problem neighbor, but it should be a factor.

The next thing to look at is children and animals. If the neighbor, or you, let children and pets play wild and free, you probably have a problem. People should be willing to watch their animals (cats are too independent to be included in this) and children if they choose to have them. Not only can this be a hazard for neighbors, but the safety of the pets and children is important, too. Rampant children can, due to curiosity or by intent to get attention, jump in front of moving cars, break into houses as well as cars, and pick on other people or their pets. This could be just as dangerous for the children as for your neighbors mostly for obvious reasons. Pets that are out of control can be just as bad.

And finally, the best sign of a bad neighbor is dependent on the police. If the police are called more often than twice in a six month period, chances are you have a bad neighbor, or are one yourself. Whether the cops are called for arguing, music, or children doesn’t matter. The fact is that if the cops are called often enough, then there is obviously something going on and the neighbor or you need to rethink what you are doing to cause these calls.

5 Ways to prevent yourself from becoming a bad neighbor

This list can be taken in any order.

1. Get to know your neighbors. Besides, you may end up making a new friend.

2. Keep an eye on your pets and children. This is obvious for practical reasons. Until children are old enough to truly understand the consequences of their actions, they can act out of curiosity or to try and get attention.

3. If you decide to have a party, let your neighbors know in advance. This is common courtesy. Plus, with your neighbor’s awareness, there are less chances for any unhappy conflict or police intervention. You may even have a couple people wishing to join the festivities.

4. Be aware of your neighbors. Yes, this is a kind of repeat of 1, but ย it cannot be stressed enough. Knowing your neighbors’ schedules is the easiest way to prevent conflict. If your neighbor works nights, it is seriously uncool to mow your lawn when they are sleeping, especially if they were right next door. The same would go for them mowing their lawn in the middle of the night.

5. The simplest and easiest method to prevent neighborhood conflict is to consider how you would like to be treated. If you would be unhappy with people throwing parties until two in the morning, then don’t do it yourself. If you would rather not have your neighbor’s kids combing through your house, watch your own. In this way, the idiom “treat others the way you want to be treated” is neighborhood gospel.

5 Ways to deal with a bad neighbor

Let’s say that you are following the above rules to a T, but your neighbor is not treating you the same way, then there are steps to take to help prevent the issue from escalating. The first thing to do is start keeping a ‘journal’ of the issues that occur. Then take these steps.

1. Talk to them. You would be surprised how effective this is. Be sure to limit yourself to short, direct ‘I’ statements. Avoid placing blame. If you feel that you need to say ‘you,’ use ‘we’ or ‘us’ instead.

2. If this fails, get other neighbors to join in the talks. Hearing that you are not the only one disturbed by the behavior may be enough to change the activities for the better.

3. If talking fails and the behavior continues, then contact the authorities. Adding police warnings can sometimes help a troubling neighbor to realize that you are serious about your claims.

4. Coupled with the police reports and your own journal, talk to the landowner if the problems persist. It is part of the landlord’s responsibility to help maintain the neighborhood they own property in. Without that responsibility, the landlord can lose as much as other residents in the terms of property values (bad neighbors can affect property values – no one wants to move into a place that has bad neighbors).

5. If property is being damaged, you may need to step up the game. Unfortunately, many people would rather avoid this step at all costs, but the fact of the matter is that sometimes you need to do something to drive the issue home. If the neighbor chooses does not take responsibility for the damage, then a lawsuit is a necessary option.

I hope that this helps to better your understanding of bad neighbors and give you some options to put an end to any problems. After living in a number of neighborhoods with bad neighbors and learning that I was considered one (for arguing with a spouse almost constantly), I can tell you that these tips really do work.

Back to Other Thoughts

  1. rmactsc says:

    So sandbag barriers along the property line would not send my neighbors the right message lol ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Cat Reyes says:

      If those neighbors are zombies then I suspect the message would be correctly perceived! I just hate when the zombies have a feeding fest, their groans are worse than loud music. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Though, I think your penchant for weaponry and survivalism probably already gives your neighbors a heads up, so sandbags wouldn’t change the opinion much. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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