Family | Dealing with bad neighbours

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When new neighbours move in or you move to a new area, there is always the gamble that your neighbours may be more hellish than helpful.

Late night music. Harsh words over parking spaces and overgrowing trees. There are many things that can trigger an argument and never ending feud with neighbours. Residing next door to someone you don’t like can make for tough living.

So how can you deal with bad neighbours? Communication is key. They may be completely oblivious that they are doing anything wrong.

Knock on their door, introduce yourself, and let them know what the issue is. If you live in an apartment block, make sure you try to make contact before going to a management company. You want to diffuse a situation before it escalates.

Outline what the issues are in a friendly manner but also get your point across. Be willing to compromise. For example, you can park your car on one side of the street or music cannot be played after 10pm.

Only communicate in writing when necessary. If you have difficulty getting in touch with your neighbours, leave a note. However, this can be risky as it can be misinterpreted as being passive-agressive. Make sure the note is friendly in tone, adding in it that you want to find a solution for everyone.

Add your phone number and encourage them to call. This allows your neighbour to ask any questions and you can clear any issue up immediately.

Pick your battles. Don’t give your neighbours a long list of problems you want them to address. This will aggravate them further. Find out what you can live with and what must change.

Offer to help out, where possible. If it’s an issue with overgrown garden, suggest that you can help out to clean it up.

A few small compromises make for a peaceful life.