How to be a Good Neighbor

By Laura Otto
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A little consideration goes a long way when you live in a community. From first-time homebuyers to longtime residents, most everyone can agree that a clean and friendly neighborhood helps encourage community harmony.

According to a recent CAI poll, 42% say they know their neighbors very well. When asked what is the best way to welcome new neighbors? More than 50% said saying hello when walking their pet. Despite the digital age we live in, face-to-face interaction was the number one way neighbors communicate.

Here’s how you can be a good neighbor beyond just a smile and a wave: 

  • Welcome any new neighbors to the community with a handwritten note or stop by and introduce yourself.
  • Make sure that the outside of your home, including your yard, is well-kept and complies with your association’s rules.
  • Be mindful of noise—loud music, barking dogs, power tools—that may disrupt the neighborhood beyond a reasonable hour.
  •  If you throw a big party, communicate your community’s parking rules with your guests, end the event at a reasonable hour, and invite your neighbors to join in the fun.
  • If you borrow something from your neighbor, return it promptly and in the same condition they lent it to you and express your thanks.
  • Replace anything of your neighbor’s that you, your children, or your pets break.
  • Respect your neighbor’s privacy.
  • Offer to take care of mail pick-up, plants, or pets while your neighbor is on vacation.
  • Be social! Inviting a neighbor over for coffee and conversation fosters new friendship and keeps your neighborhood warm and welcoming.

Do you think you are a good neighbor? Our survey found that an overwhelming 95% believe they are a good neighbor. explores questions and comments from community associaion members living in condominiums, homeowners associations, and housing cooperatives. We then assemble trusted experts to provide practical solutions to your most commonly asked, timely questions. We never use real names, but we always tackle real issues. Have a question or comment about your community association? Submit here for consideration:

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Laura Otto

Laura Otto is editor of CAI’s award-winning Community Manager. A seasoned journalist, Laura previously worked for a creative, advocacy agency in Washington, D.C., where she wrote and edited content for a variety of public health clients. Prior to that, Laura served as a senior writer and editor for the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Laura is a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia.