How to Co-Exist with Bad Neighbors

One of the things most people hope for when moving into a new neighborhood is good neighbors. After all, these are the people you’ll see and have interactions with almost daily. Ideally, you’ll become friends with your closest neighbors, building a community of trust and reliability. 

Sometimes, however, there’s one neighbor who just doesn’t want to get along with others. Living next door to this type of person can make life miserable. If you have a difficult neighbor like this, it’s important to figure out how to tolerate each other in order to keep peace in the neighborhood. Rather than fight with a bad neighbor, use the tips below to politely deal with the unruly neighbor. 

1. Take Time to get to Know Each Other

When you move into a new neighborhood, take some time to introduce yourself and get to know your surrounding neighbors. No one says you have to build a close relationship with them, but getting to know them enough to say “hi” when you see them or to borrow gardening tools back and forth can often be enough to keep minor issues from escalating into all-out war. 

2. Head Problems Off at the Pass

If you think something might be a problem for your nearby neighbors, do your best to solve the problem before it starts. For example, if you’re planning a home remodeling project that will likely produce loud noises and plenty of debris, visit your neighbors before it starts to let them know. Give them your phone number and tell them to call you should they have any issues while work is being done. 

Remember, communication is key, and since they have your phone number, they will be more likely to call you and not the police if a problem arises. 

3. Keep Detailed Records

If a problem with your neighbor does arise, be sure to keep detailed records of the issue. Include dates, times, and photos to back up your claims. Documenting everything will help in a few different ways. 

  • Seeing the issue on paper may help you realize it isn’t as drastic as you thought
  • It gives you proof to take to the neighbors, and
  • It lets authorities know you’re serious about the problem (and not just emotional) if it goes that far

4. Communicate

A lot of problems can be solved simply by communicating with the other party. Talk to your neighbors about the issue. Be direct, but polite and stay positive. Even if your neighbor is less than receptive, try proposing a solution that meets in the middle for everyone. 

5. Talk to the Other Neighbors

If you’re having issues with a particular neighbor, it’s likely others in the area have had run-ins with the same person. Talk with the other neighbors and discuss ways to remedy the situation. Find out if any of them are willing to side with you should things end up in litigation. No one likes to have to go to court, but sometimes it’s unavoidable when one neighbor simply refuses to co-exist peacefully with the others in a neighborhood.  In cases like this, it’s nice to know you have support and backing from others who have similar complaints with a difficult neighbor.