How to Deal with Problem Neighbors

You just move and you live your new home, but the neighbors are a bit less than desirable. Problem neighbors are no fun to deal with, but there is a right way and a wrong way to approach problem neighbors in Madison.

While you get to choose where you live, you don't get to choose your neighbors. When you buy a house and later realize you have nightmare neighbors, you don't have to feel stuck grinning and bearing it as you get treated poorly. Here are some of the things you want to do if you're dealing with problem neighbors.

Are you a Model Homeowner?

Before approaching a neighbor you've decided is a problem neighbor, make sure your own home is in order. Consider the following things:

  • Are you creating too much noise?
  • Do you have pets that are friendly and quiet or are they disruptive and annoying?
  • Is your home tidy and the lawn care kept up regularly?
  • Do you respect the property lines?
  • Are you playing any of the tit-for-tat games neighbors’ play?

If your own house isn't in order and you try to approach someone you've deems as a problem neighbor, you may get your own shortcomings thrown right back in your face.

Make Friends with Neighbors

It's ideal to become friends with your neighbors as soon as possible after moving in. With a friendly relationship, it's much easier to address issues when they come up. In addition, make sure you provide plenty of advance notice to neighbors when you plan to have a party, renovate, or do anything else that could cause noise or a disturbance.

Stay Calm and Show Sympathy

When a dispute does happen or you have a complaint, don't go in hot. Stay calm and show sympathy as you may not know what your neighbor is going through or why they did whatever they did to bother you.

It's best to remain friendly and accommodating. If they have any complaints or requests, make sure you take them seriously and do your best to be accommodating.

Know the HOA Rules and Document Everything

You should know the HOA rules before you complain or take any type of legal action if it comes to it. Also, make sure you keep documentation of everything as it can come in handy if things escalate.

Contact the Authorities, if necessary

While most conflicts with problem neighbors can be solved with a simple conversation, sometimes you need the authorities. If you've tried everything else and the behavior warrants the need to call the police, do it, but make sure this is your last resort.

With some issues, you will want to contact specific code enforcement agencies, such as trash all over someone's lawn or another issue the police won't be able to handle. In addition, your HOA may be a good place to call as they will be able to tell you who to call if they cannot solve the issue.

When dealing with problem neighbors, it's best to try a friendly conversation first. It's also a good idea to make sure you're doing your part as a model homeowner before picking on someone else. If your claim is warranted and cannot be solved with a simple conversation, getting the HOA involved is a good next step.

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