Dealing with Difficult Neighbors

We’ve all had at least one neighbor, or at least known someone who has, that was difficult to put it nicely. These people can make life miserable for an entire neighborhood. There are ways to deal with difficult neighbors to keep things from getting out of hand or from feeling like you have no choice but to move.

First, try to speak to the neighbor and learn what the problem is if possible. You or a member of your family or even a guest to your home may have inadvertently offended the neighbor. He or she should explain the problem, so you are aware of it and have an opportunity to make amends.

In some cases, the neighbor may not wish to speak about it. Some people are easily offended, or like to hold grudges. If that is the case, you have done your part, and there is really nothing more you can do unless or until the neighbor decides to discuss it. Continue to be civil, but you don’t have to bend over backwards if you are continuously being rebuffed.

If you find something that you or your family members or guests did that offended the neighbor, apologize sincerely and make restitution if necessary.

Refuse to argue. Disengage if the neighbor begins to yell or curse. You do not have to put up with such behavior. Suggest that the two of you speak again when you are both calmer.

If the neighbor becomes abusive or threatening, call the police. You may not feel the need to have the person arrested, but it is still a good idea to get a report on file, just in case there are future incidents.

If the issue is a neighbor’s messy trash, unkempt yard, or pet, try to gently discuss the issue with your neighbor. If this does not work, you have every right to inform the proper authorities. It isn’t fair for someone else to make your life stressful or decrease your property value through his or her lack of care and concern.

It’s always best to try the congenial approach first, but if that doesn’t work, you may need to be more firm.