Do your neighbors' dogs bark at dawn, do their kids listen to loud music on the weekends, or do they always throw garbage bags in your yard? Finding an effective, non-aggressive way to deal with this is ideal, so start asking them to reconsider their actions. If being nice hasn't got you anywhere, you may need to take more drastic measures - like talking to a lawyer or calling the police. Learn now how to handle these troubled neighbors.
Part 1 of 3: Solving Specific Problems
Step 1. Let them know what's going on
Your discomfort may be obvious to you, but if you've never said anything to them, they might not know they're bothering you. As you sit there mulling over your feelings and ready to explode, your neighbors are just getting on with their lives. Don't assume that people are purposely rude. Knock on the door, introduce yourself and let them know of the problems.
- Ask gently, but be clear. Order exactly what you want and don't be vague. It's not fair to expect them to read your mind and know your limits - you have to say what you want.
- Make reasonable requests. If you can't take it anymore to hear your neighbors' child practicing the trombone, it's not very practical to ask them to acoustically insulate the house. Make a complaint they can sympathize with, such as stopping practices after bedtime. You will be more successful if you approach them with a problem and a willingness to discuss possible solutions rather than blaming them and demanding specific behavior.
Step 2. If you have difficulty contacting neighbors, leave a note or send an email expressing your wishes, but do so only when very necessary
Be careful as notes can easily be interpreted as passive-aggressive messages. That said, if you can't resolve the issues yourself, leaving a note might be a good option. Many people will feel embarrassed and will change their behavior to fit the requests.
- Write your message in a friendly tone. Say you want to find a solution that works for everyone.
- If you feel comfortable putting your phone number on the ticket and encouraging your neighbor to call you, do so. That way, if he has a question, it's possible to clear it up.
Step 3. Choose your fights
Don't hand in a list of issues you want resolved - this won't work very well. Find out what you can live with and what needs to change, and just address the issues that are driving you crazy. When the main issue is resolved, you can either resolve the minor issues later or learn to live with them.
Remember that what is most irritating to you is not necessarily what is easiest to change. If they explain that the problem is difficult to solve, ask for something easier
Step 4. Offer help
Depending on what you're asking, your neighbors may be more willing to fix the problem if you offer to help them. For example, if you like the neighborhood tidy and are tired of their overgrown garden, offer to help them take care of the yard.
- Even if the problem cannot be fixed by yourself, helping them may find the time or strength to respond to your request. For example, if neighbors can't fix the car's engine muffler because they use it every day, offer to take them from the mechanic to service, or to run some errands for them while the car is being repaired.
- Don't offer money or hire someone. Many people are offended by the suggestion that they cannot afford to solve their own problems.
Step 5. Track the solution
Allow them a reasonable amount of time to fix the problem, such as a few days to tackle minor tasks or more if you're asking for things that take time – like improving the appearance of the house. If they haven't made any effort yet, make a polite reminder. If they do, thank them or bring them a gift or food. They will certainly be happy.
- The next time the problem occurs, stop and think about what an appropriate solution would be. If the neighbors are still listening to loud music every night, it's time for another complaint. If they've been relatively quiet for weeks and are now throwing a birthday party, cover your ears and allow them to be noisy once a year.
- Keep the channels of communication open, even if it's just to say hello. If you're not there and only show up when there's trouble, your neighbors probably won't hear you.
Step 6. Get help from other neighbors
This is a good step to take if troubled neighbors show no signs of changing. If an issue is affecting you, chances are everyone on the block or building is experiencing it. Talk to other neighbors to see if they're willing to sign a letter for troubled people. Unity is strength, and being approached by a group may be what was needed for people to change.
This doesn't mean that you should cause a stir in people's homes or apartments - they can feel threatened and that's not good. Even a group email can feel like "us against them."
Part 2 of 3: Fixing the Relationship with a Troubled Neighbor
Step 1. Behave in a courteous manner
Don't do anything that might annoy other people before you address the problem. You don't want to make the situation worse by appearing hypocritical or insensitive, especially if there's a feud between you two.
Don't make a difference between people. If you don't want your neighbors to listen to music at 3 am, your friends and neighbors Carlos and Joana shouldn't be able to do that either
Step 2. Provide advance notice
If you're planning a late-night event, won't be able to garden for a while, or anticipate things that might annoy your neighbors, let them know. Talk to them and provide your contact number. It's amazing how things go from "intolerable" to "no problem" with just a little communication.
Step 3. Give the benefit of the doubt
Like anyone else, your neighbors have difficulties, even if they aren't obvious to you. Your neighbor may find it difficult to take the time to recognize and deal with others' problems. Don't fall into the same trap.
Step 4. Get to know them better
Does your neighbor have no name and no face, or do you know each other well? It's much harder to care for someone you've never met, and resentment can quickly grow if you don't have a relationship. The best way to get what you want-a little peace and quiet on the weekends, for example-may be to forge a relationship with the person so that you understand and care about each other better. You don't need to become best friends, but recognizing yourself as a person is a good way to increase friendliness.
- Why not invite your neighbors over for a meal? Ask them to visit you for lunch or for breakfast on a Saturday. Get to know them better before making any requests.
- If inviting them into your house is too much, bring a bottle of wine or a batch of cookies to introduce yourself.
Step 5. Improve the neighborhood
If you really want to improve relations with your neighbors, start planting flowers in a vacant lot, create government petitions about the safety of your street or organize a recycling effort. Contact your neighbors and give them the opportunity to feel included in the project.
Part 3 of 3: Taking Drastic Measures
Step 1. Use these measures only as a last resort
Its results can be slow and can make relationships with neighbors even worse. These measures are only suitable for hostile neighbors or neighbors who have a constant pattern of rude behavior, unwillingness to change, or if their behavior is seriously affecting you. You will have to live with these people for a while, so think carefully before turning a disagreement into a war.
Step 2. Document the problem faced if it violates laws or concessions
If you tried to ask kindly and got no response, it's time to take more drastic measures. Start documenting the issue so you can support your allegations if you need to involve the authorities. Take photos of property damage, film parties that invade your yard during the night, save emails and notes, etc. Basically, gather evidence that your neighbors are trespassing on your property or carrying out illegal activities.
You can inform neighbors that you are doing this. Knowing that you're on their tail may be the necessary motivation to stop these behaviors
Step 3. Call the property owner
If you live in a building or condominium, it may be possible to call the landlord or landlord. Explain how your neighbor is disturbing the peace in your home and, depending on the infraction, it may even be possible to evict you. At the very least, the owner should discuss the problem with people so that you don't have to keep complaining.
Use your best judgment based on previous interactions with the owner. Some people hate dealing with disputes between tenants and may be irritated by your call
Step 4. Find out if they are breaking the law
If troubled neighbors still don't change, find out what your legal options are. Familiarize yourself with local laws and find out if they are breaking any. If they violate any laws, it may be possible to take legal action. Look for laws on the following issues:
- Property invasion.
- Destruction of property.
- Noise violations.
- Bark laws.
- Laws Concerning Property Maintenance.
Step 5. Call the police or other authority
This and the steps below fall under the "latest resources" category. Your relationships with neighbors will probably never be the same after that. Involving the police is a way to shock your neighbors into a change, but don't use them as a mediator in personal disputes.
- If the problem is loud music, call non-emergency or service numbers such as "Shh" that exist in some cities.
- If the person's backyard is presenting problems or risks, contact the City Hall.
Step 6. Inform neighbors that you are considering taking legal action
Once you determine that they are breaking the law and gather some evidence to prove it, let them know that you plan to take legal action. No details need to be provided – just say you plan to take this to the next level unless they can come to an agreement. They probably don't want to get into legal trouble, so the warning should be enough for them to change.
Step 7. Talk to an attorney
If you are willing to invest money in this, call a lawyer and find out what can be done. Decide whether solving the problem will be worth all the headaches and costs of the process. If it's decided, talk to your lawyer to sue and take your neighbors to small claims court.
You may be able to talk to the tenant to be able to legally void your lease, at the very least. If you alert him of the situation and he doesn't do anything to resolve it, it probably won't make him look good and he may release you from the contract - especially if you're going to involve a lawyer. Consider this option rather than getting into an expensive and time-consuming process that you don't want to deal with
- Check local laws by visiting the city and chamber of deputies website. Arm yourself with regulations and ask the authorities to address issues with blocked sidewalks, fences, etc.
- Don't be afraid to contact the authorities. You won't be considered a gossip if the problem is bothering other neighbors.
- Put up a fence if your problem is with pets to prevent them from entering your yard. If your neighbors' yard is very neglected, put up a tall, non-transparent fence.
- Stay on your property, as the invasion may incite them. Going to the person's door to talk to them is allowed, but breaking into other people's yards is illegal.
- The most important thing is never to threaten your neighbors, as this will only make things worse.