Thursday, August 23, 2007

9 Tips on How to Handle Nasty Neighbors

Even the most beautiful home, in the most serene town can become a nightmare if you live next door to the wrong kind of people. And dealing with nasty neighbors can be enough to drive even the most peaceable person to distraction. If you find yourself in this situation or would like to do your very best to avoid it, take some practical advice — here are the five big offenders in the world of nasty neighbors and tips on how to deal with them:

1. The racket maker — screaming moms, fighting spouses, horn honking and tire squealing drivers, loud music fanatics and late-night partiers

2. The property line fanatic — someone who trims boundary trees and sends you the bill

3. The slob, like one who lets the grass grow, puts trash out days in advance, and leaves garbage cans unlocked

4. The careless pet owner

5. The extreme weirdo — drunks, drug dealers, and the neighbor that never says anything

Spot them out. If you don’t want to end up with one of the above as your new neighbor, here’s what you can do to spot them early:

1. Cruise the neighborhood at night. You’ll see the guy next door while he’s at home (rather than at work). Most people make the mistake of seeing a home during the day and looking again during the same time a few days later.

2. Talk with the local store owners. They’re always the first to tell you who the pains are, who stiffed them, and who’s involved in a lawsuit. (“I’m thinking of buying the Smith house. Do you know it? Know the street? What are the neighbors like?”)

3. Walk the neighborhood during rush hour. Not just block, but the four blocks surrounding yours. Befriend a few neighbors along the way. (“I’m thinking of buying the Smith House at 12 Maple Avenue. Do you know the neighbors? What are they like?”).

4. Look for basketball hoops, skateboard ramps, and trampolines, all tell-tale signs of the racket-maker.

5. Watch and listen for the barking and unleashed neighborhood dogs.

6. Poke around the town clerk’s office to find out which neighbors have filed for what, like permits for building a house extension over the next 12 months, a noisy new tennis court, or a new pool.

7. Take a cyberspace tour on ‘Google Street View’ to check out empty lots and backyards that look like a landfill.

8. Check on-line registries for the location of any local sex offenders.

Don’t buy next door to certain establishmentsBe sure to stay away from the following:
Country clubsEmpty lotsBus stopsHalfway housesGarbage routesIntersections with stop signs
How to handle bad neighborsIf you are already in the situation of having nasty neighbors, here are some failsafe strategies:

1. Call ahead and pick a time to talk.

2. Meet on the sidewalk or on the property line.

3. Don’t accuse; let them know how the problem bothers you and suggest ways to solve it together.

4. If that doesn’t work, check out local noise and disturbance ordinances and write a personal letter. Offer a solution.

5. Consult your condo or block association. Ask them to send a standard letter citing the ordinance or by-law. A condominium association’s right of first refusal is a little-known clause that can be used to buy your neighbor out.

6. Should that fail, call your local precinct. Keep a record of your complaint.

7. Call in an expert mediator. (To find a mediator, check with your local courthouse, police precinct, or bar association).

8. As a last resort, file a complaint in court.

9. For the property line fanatic, walk the property line together to determine what belongs to whom; consider having the property surveyed to nip the problem in the bud.

Do you have any tips on how to cope with nasty neighbors? Click on COMMENTS below and share them with us. You can also read comments left by others.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:16 PM

    How about the nasty subdivision trustee who has nothing else to do but to harass the residents of the subdivision? So much for a "community" - We may not have the money or capability to conform to the perfection that is expected - but it is still OUR property and the nitpicking is quite excessive.

    --Woodleigh Estates Sucks!!!