Now that you’re all moved into your new home, you’re excited to get started on your new life. New school, new job, new community, and yes, new neighbors. If you had great neighbors before, you may be expecting the new ones to be just as cordial and friendly. Not always so. You can’t pick your neighbors – even if you were pretty observant and introduced yourself prior to putting in an offer on the new house.
Reality will set in soon and the claws may come out. Lots of issues can arise between neighbors. Perhaps their barking dog keeps you up all night, or maybe they don’t like the fact that you have big barbecues every other weekend. They may seem unreasonable, inconsiderate and downright rude now that you have gotten to know them. But you can’t just pick up and move again. So what can you do to settle disputes and try to have as peaceful a relationship as possible?
Here are some solutions.
Meddlesome neighbors may seem all friendly and sickeningly sweet on the outside, but really, all they want to do is stick their nose in your business. Cooking on the grill? They’ll invite themselves over. Last-minute appointment? They’ll drag their kid over and ask if you can watch Little Timmy for a few hours. Did you go out late one night? They’ll ask you where you were the next morning because they spotted your car gone.
It’s important to be able to recognize the different kinds of intrusive neighbors. Here are the most common:
- Gossipy neighbors poke their noses into your business and the business of all the other neighbors. They will assume you want to hear any juicy piece of gossip, even unsolicited.
- Self-centered neighbors think the world revolves around them. They vent to you, bother you with issues you don’t care about, spout their opinions, and bring every story you may tell back around to them and how they went through the same exact thing.
- Bossy neighbors think they know best about everything and won’t hesitate to tell you what you should do. They’ll inundate you with unsolicited advice and order you around.
- Needy neighbors are constantly seeking approval, help and exclusive attention. Often times, they’ll ask for a favor but won’t do the same for you.
Yes, these intrusive neighbors can certainly be annoying but they’re generally harmless. You don’t have to move. Just be polite but keep your distance. If you feed into their behavior, they’re more likely to keep coming around. Also, don’t tell them any personal information about yourself or family.
Noise is one of the biggest complains amongst neighbors. One likes their peace and quiet, while the other throws parties late into the night. One has barking dogs, the other prefers a pet-free home. Here are the biggest sources of noise that can become a bone of contention.
- Parties: Occasional soirees aren’t a problem, but when the parties are frequent, disruptive, long-lasting and loud, this can pose a very big problem for neighbors.
- Musical instruments: Got a neighbor that plays the drums, guitar, violin or other loud instrument? Is your teenage neighbor in a rock band? You may have had enough of the constant loud noise.
- Fighting: You may hear fighting between couples, parents and children, and even kids with their siblings all day long. All that shouting, screaming, and crying is not only disruptive but also a concerning safety issue.
- Misbehaving kids and pets: Whether your neighbor’s yard is a chicken coop with constant squawking and clucking, or their kids are loud and rude, misbehaving kids and pets are a big deal.
Inconsiderate neighbors are ones who are negligent, irresponsible, and rude. They don’t care about your needs, rights or feelings. From inconsiderate dog owners who don’t pick up their pets’ droppings in your yard to a neighbor who’s always raking their leaves into your yard, inconsiderate neighbors are some of the worst.
If you are having feuds over property lines, such as your neighbor’s refusal to cut overhanging branches that fall into your yard, address the issue with them immediately. Clearly define your property boundaries, and even refer to local plot plans, laws and regulations so they see you’re not being unreasonable.
As a new homeowner, you likely take great pride in your property and ensure it is neat and tidy. Your neighbors may not feel the same way. They may have a car up on blocks that is always being “fixed,” they may leave trash around the yard, their front porch may be crumbling, their shutters are falling off, or they neglect to mow their lawn regularly. The appearance of your neighbor’s yard can have detrimental effects on your own property value and even safety.
Nuisance neighbors may be a pain, but at least they don’t pose a physical danger to you. Dangerous neighbors put you and all the rest of the families around them at risk, whether they engage in illegal activities such as drug dealing, theft, prostitution, or criminal violence.
These kinds of neighbors are the hardest to ignore or change their behavior. While you don’t necessarily have to move, you should distance yourselves as much as possible and protect your property through the installation of high fences and security systems.
Hopefully the new neighbors you encounter after moving in are pleasant and eager to have a peaceful relationship. After all, most neighbors are “normal.” But just in case they turn out to be one of the neighbor types listed above, brush up on your conflict resolution skills now.
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