Love Thy Neighbour?

According to a survey, 42% of Americans say they’ve been involved in a dispute with their neighbours.

While most neighbourly arguments don’t turn into feuds, they can still be difficult to deal with. Some can even land you in court. 

What are the Top 5 types of neighbour disputes, and what are the best ways to resolve them?

According to FindLaw’s survey, neighbour disputes are most often triggered by:
  1. Noise (48 percent of all disputes). Whether it be from raucous late-night parties or maybe different sleep schedules that result in one neighbour waking up the other, noise is apparently the No. 1 way to annoy your neighbour.
  2. Pets and animals (29%). Pets and animals can be tricky to deal with directly, since it is the animal that is causing the problem and not the owner. But many times the issue stems from the owner’s failure to properly handle or train his animal.
  3. Children’s behavior (21%). Much like pets, children running onto your property, being loud, or defacing your property can often be the result of their parents i.e., your adult neighbours — not properly looking after them. State laws may even hold the kids’ parents liable for damages.
  4. A visual nuisance, the property’s appearance, trash, etc. (18%). Many eyesores, such as unkempt lawns, offensive signs, or overflowing trash cans can lead to ill will between neighbours.
  5. Property boundaries (17%). In these types of disputes, neighbours often have misconceptions about where their property begins and ends.

So how do neighbours typically go about resolving their disputes?

49% - say they’ve gone with a direct approach, and have discussed the issue with their neighbour. This may be the most practical and effective way to solve the problem. As long as the issue is handled with caution and not delivered in a way that is combative or accusatory, your neighbor should be fairly understanding.

27% - say they’ve called the police, which can sometimes be inefficient, especially if no crime is involved. 

15% - complained to their homeowners’ association or other neighbourhood group.

11% - have sent a letter or email.

In the vast majority of disputes the issue was eventually resolved to complainant's satisfaction.

40% - Mutually settled - no outside or third-party intervention

35% - Matter resolved itself - neighbor moved, behavior stopped, etc.

11% - Outside party solved - police, court, association, etc.

14% - Matter still unresolved