Last week, we asked what your worst neighbor problem was. Here are some tips on how to handle the problems that naturally arise between neighbors, without escalating it into a Supreme Court battle (believe us, it's happened). And though we all think we're model neighbors (kinda like we all think we're model drivers), here are some tips that may help you improve your own "good neighbor" rating.
How To Be A Good Neighbor
- Clean up after yourself. If there's a common trash receptable, use it. Don't expect that someone else will toss your flyers, junk mail, empty envelopes.
- Treat other people's stuff with courtesy: If someone's laundry is in the washer and it's finished, switch it to the dryer and spring for a cycle. If it's been left in the dryer you'd like to use, fold it. If you're having a party, let others know and keep the noise to a reasonable level.
- Keep your front area neat, your plants watered and trimmed and your decor current. Dead holiday trees in July are not only unattractive, they're a fire hazard.
- Leave common spaces nicer than you found them.
- Clean up after your dog.
- Consider your neighbor when making updates and renovations to your own space.
- Make sure all common front doors are closed behind you and don't slam them. Someone's apartment is nearby.
- No, they're not your best friend, they're just your neighbor but a "hello," a "good morning," or a "Can I hold the door for you"," can go long way towards making relations cordial. People are more likely to be considerate of someone they know, if only slightly.
How To Handle Problems In A Neighborly Fashion
- Don't assume your neighbor knows how the issue affects you. Give your neighbor the benefit of the doubt.
- Don't start the discussion when you're angry. Wait til you've calmed down.
- Don't be defensive: talk about how the issue affects you rather than accusing your neighbor of bad behaviour.
- If you've tried to talk to your neighbor without success, start small. Ask your building's manager for help resolving the issue. If that doesn't work, talk to your landlord. If you live in a house and it's your next door neighbor that's the problem, try your block association, your neighborhood association or your homeowner's group. If the problem persists, the city or county has resources for claims that violate nuisance laws - parking, noise, animals, property - or you might want to engage a mediator who can act as a neutral party and hear both sides of a dispute. Let court be your last resort.
Can you share any tips on being a good neighbor? Last week, we heard your worst experiences. This week, we'd love to hear your best neighbor experiences
(Image: Gregory Han; Maria's Oh So You Bungalow)