Home Sweet Home: How To Deal With Bad Neighbors

How To Deal With Bad Neighbors

One thing that might be wreaking havoc on your life could be your relationship with your neighbor. You might hear the loud noises they make or see them making a mess all over their front or back yard. It can be hard to get on when you have a bad neighbor. They can bother you on a daily basis, and it isn’t made any easier when you talk to them about things.

From a different point of view, it can also affect you financially. If you ever try to sell your home, it could become worth less money because of your neighbor. People looking around and see an unkempt or messy lawn, with a house next door that isn’t taken care of, is enough to put quite a number of people off.

On another level, it can completely affect your emotional well-being. You might dread leaving the house (or coming home, on the flip-side). You might feel unsafe, which is never a good thing when you are in your own home. So how can you deal with bad neighbors? Hope they move away? While that may always be a hope, there are other things that you can do to deal with it all. Here are some ideas on how to deal with bad neighbors.

Reassess Where You Want to Live

It might not have been something that you have thought about before. But going forward, it pays to know what kind of neighborhood you don’t want to be in. If you don’t have kids, and it’s the neighbor’s kids that cause half of the problem, then going forward, moving into a family neighborhood full of kids isn’t going to be the smartest move. You don’t want to be the odd one out.

On a similar note, if you like the road you live on to be clear from cars, and you don’t like people parking outside your house, then make sure you live in an area with driveways. It is also worth considering not living in an area where you’re near to a popular park or a train station, for example. Think about your wants and needs before you settle into a neighborhood that doesn’t fit you and your needs.

Talk to Them

When you first move into an area, it is a good idea to introduce yourself to the neighbors. Heck, you don’t know what they will be like, and it is always better to seem approachable, rather than that weird person or family that moved in. They are more likely to talk to you about any issues they have, or vice versa if you speak to them and you know each other’s names.

You’re not going to get kids sneaking around to get their ball back if they know you’re approachable and can just ask you. So opening your mouth, and talking to them as much as you can is a good way to go. You never know, you might even end up liking each other!

Take Action When Needed

If there are ever any circumstances that happen that need to be escalated, then make sure that you do. You shouldn’t just leave things just because you’re neighbors and you don’t want things to turn sour. Say, for example; they have a big dog that bit you or one of your kids, then it needs to be escalated to an injury law professional, for instance. This will not only deal with the issue in hand, but it does help you to assert your authority. People can take advantage if they know they can. So taking action when appropriate, shows that you aren’t a pushover and shouldn’t be messed with.

Timing Is Everything

If you have any disputes, then you need to deal with them in a timely manner. Take the big dog example again. If their dog is barking well into the early hours of the morning, then storming round to shout at them is only going to make matters worse. The chances are that they are fed up of the dog making noise too. So two angry, irritated, and tired people aren’t going to have the most productive conversation. Perhaps in the morning, it is worth asking if everything was alright, for instance. You could also drop in that you get up for work early, so it isn’t ideal. When you do things calmly and timed better, then it will make a difference to the response you get.

Don’t Jump to Conclusions

If you have a neighbor with a messy yard that never seems to cut their grass, then it can be easy to assume that they are lazy and just can’t be bothered to look after their garden. But really, it could be down to a variety of different reasons. There could be illness or sickness in the family, meaning that they can’t do it as often as needed. It might be a good idea to offer to help or to let them borrow your mower if, in fact, that is the reason why it isn’t being cut. There might be a kid in the area that is happy to mow the lawn for a couple of bucks. So just make suggestions and go from there.

Check the Laws

If in fact, the former issue is just down to lazy or bad neighbors, then it is a good idea to know what the laws are in your area. When does music have to stop being played by? What time can’t car horns be honked by? What are the rules on dumping trash or leaving furniture outside in their yard? You can find this kind of thing online, or by speaking to your local authorities. If your neighbor is regularly breaking the rules, then gather some evidence (we’ve all got camera phones, right?) Then you will have some evidence to have them dealt with in the right way, as you can prove they aren’t abiding by the laws or rules.


Living with a difficult neighbor can disrupt your life, impacting finances and well-being. However knowing how to deal with bad neighbors can ease the situation. Start by choosing the right neighborhood that aligns with your preferences. Initiate friendly communication to build rapport and resolve minor issues. When necessary, take assertive action, adhering to local laws, and approaching disputes calmly and at the right time. Avoid assumptions and explore reasons behind problematic behaviors for a more amicable resolution.

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Danuta Smoluk is a teacher with over three decades of experience teaching both children and adults. She specializes in teaching the Polish language to English-speakers. She has a master's degree in primary and early childhood education from WSP Słupsk (currently Pomeranian University in Słupsk) and had her degree validated by University of Toronto. Aside from education, she also has an interest in real estate and home improvement. She has planned and supervised many house renovations. She loves interior design, cooking, and gardening.

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