Tips for Dealing with Difficult Neighbors

By Amy Repke
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We all can just get along. The key? Communication. It’s often the best way to prevent and resolve conflict before it reaches the legal system. You don’t have to be friends or spend time together to achieve a peaceful coexistence, but you should try to be a good neighbor and follow these tips:

Say hello. At the mailbox, while walking the dog or when you see a moving van arrive, introduce yourself. Learn your neighbors’ names and regularly offer a friendly greeting.

Provide a heads up. If you’re planning a construction project, altering your landscaping or hosting a big party, contact your neighbors beforehand.

Do unto others. Treat neighbors as you would like to be treated. Be considerate about noise from vehicles, stereos, pets, etc.

Know your differences. Make an effort to understand each other. Differences in age, ethnic background and years in the neighborhood can lead to different expectations or misunderstandings.

Consider the view. Keep areas of your property that others can see presentable.

Appreciate them. If the neighbors do something you like, let them know. They’ll be pleased you noticed, and it’ll be easier to talk later if they do something you don’t like.

Stay positive. Most people don’t try to create problems. If a neighbor does something that irritates you, don’t assume it was deliberate.

Talk honestly. Tolerance is important, but don’t let a real irritation go because it seems unimportant or hard to discuss. Let your neighbors know if something they do annoys.

Be respectful. Talk directly to your neighbors if there’s a problem. Gossiping with others can damage relationships and create trouble.

Remain calm. If a neighbor mentions a problem they have with you, thank them for the input. You don’t have to agree or justify any behavior. Wait for any anger to subside before responding.

Listen carefully. When discussing a problem, try to understand your neighbor’s position and why he or she feels that way.

Take your time. Take a break to think about what you and your neighbor have discussed. Arrange to finish the conversation at another time.

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Amy Repke

Amy Repke, Vice President, Communications & Marketing. Amy brings more than 15 years of experience to CAI. Amy’s communications career began in local television news and, most recently, she worked as a producer for USA Today Live and Fox News Channel’s Special Report in Washington, D.C. Amy has been nominated for four Washington Regional Emmy awards for writing and producing. Amy is a graduate of Old Dominion University and received a master’s degree in Strategic Public Communications from American University.