Bad Neighbors? Handle Neighbor Disputes with These Tips
June 2024
Bad Neighbors? Handle Neighbor Disputes with These Tips

Picture this: You live in a lovely home with neighbors on either side and across the street. Unfortunately, your neighbor on the right side likes to rev car engines in his garage at midnight. Your neighbor on the left side maintains a beautiful lawn, but his sprinkler system regularly floods your yard. And your neighbor across the street has pets that find their way onto your property at least once a week.

Feuding neighbors can ruin even the prettiest neighborhoods. They can wreck your sleep with their loud noises at night. Differences of opinion on lawncare or other issues can stress you out. And if someone’s irresponsibility causes property damage or even bodily harm, things can rapidly escalate! Problems with neighbors may quickly turn into legal issues if you don’t address them promptly and responsibly.

We don’t want you to feel alone in your neighbor disputes. We’ve provided some handy tips to help you work with bad neighbors in a professional, mature manner so you can hopefully avoid legal problems down the road!

Be prepared for common types of neighbor disputes

Man and woman angry with bad neighbors because of loud noises.

See if any of these neighborhood issues sound familiar to you and your situation:

  • Noise complaints: Is your neighbor consistently doing something loud that keeps you from enjoying your own property? Your neighbor may choose to practice on his drum set every night at 10 p.m. Or maybe they have dogs who like to bark every day and every night. Even if you are a music aficionado or an animal lover, constant noise disturbances can wreck your quality of life!
  • Animal disputes: It’s essential for you and your neighbors to know what kind of animals are allowed in your area. You don’t want to start raising chickens or other livestock in your backyard if local rules say nay! Property rights are another common animal dispute, as many neighborhoods struggle with pets traveling onto land that isn’t theirs.
  • Water damage: Water can do great harm to gardens, foundations, and even personal property if it floods. Neighbors can get into serious conflicts over broken sprinkler systems or blocked drains and ditches.
  • View ordinances: Does your neighbor’s impressively tall hedgerow block your view? Some areas have rules about view blocking, so you may be entitled to push back. Find out if there are ordinances that address your situation.
  • Boundary disputes: If you or your neighbor decides to build a fence, make sure you both know where your property lines fall. Plenty of legal cases involve boundary issues with property surveys and more.

Can you sue your neighbor for emotional distress?

If you are struggling with the emotional impact of a neighbor problem, it may be within your legal rights to sue your neighbor.

Even if your neighbor has not caused any physical damage to you or your property, you may still want to get them into court. These types of problems can impact your quality of life.

Consider the neighbor disputes we listed above. For example, if your neighbor’s loud noises keep you up at night, your lack of sleep could spiral into bigger issues. If you are unable to go for walks because neighborhood dogs are running rampant, you miss out on sunshine and exercise. Even if your bodily health is not directly impacted, neighbor disputes can wreck your mental health.

It may be easier to resolve an issue before it escalates into a court case.

Tips for settling neighbor disputes

A young and an old man arguing over a fence about a neighbor dispute.

One of the best things to do when you first move in (or when a new neighbor moves in) is get to know each other. Go tap on their door and introduce yourself. You could even take some homemade cookies with you to sweeten the meeting. Once you know your neighbor, it will be much easier to talk with them if things start heading south.

Keep track of the issue. Record the loud noises, take photos of the animals on your property, make a video of the water damage. This way, you can prove the problem to your neighbor, and to the courts if necessary. You can also obtain copies of your local city ordinances so you can know exactly which rules your neighbor is breaking.

Try discussing the matter candidly and calmly with your neighbor. If they don’t change anything or even make the matter worse in revenge, ask other neighbors to help you. Maybe they can also take photos and videos, or they can consider talking with the neighbor in question as well.

Sometimes discussions just don’t do the trick. Ask your homeowner’s association to look into the matter. They may be able to mediate the dispute.

If mediation fails, it may be time to call the police the next time the neighbor problem comes up. Now is an excellent time to start working with a LegalShield provider lawyer so you can have the legal assistance you need.

Take the next step

Need help dealing with your neighbor problems? Become a LegalShield Member!

LegalShield offers affordable access to legal services so you can get the legal help you deserve. Your LegalShield provider lawyer can review up to 15 pages of paperwork, help draft a letter or make a phone call on your behalf. You can receive consultation with your provider law firm at a fraction of the cost that you would pay other lawyers for their time. LegalShield enables you to handle your neighbor disputes with confidence and peace of mind.

Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. (“PPLSI”) provides access to legal services offered by a network of provider law firms to PPLSI members through membership-based participation. Neither PPLSI nor its officers, employees or sales associates directly or indirectly provide legal services, representation, or advice. Certain benefits are not available in all states. See a legal plan contract for a specific state for complete terms, coverage, amounts, and conditions. The information made available in this blog is meant to provide general information and is not intended to provide legal advice, render an opinion, or provide a recommendation as to a specific matter. The blog post is not a substitute for competent legal counsel from a licensed professional lawyer in the state or province where your legal issues exist, and you should seek legal counsel for your specific legal matter. Information contained in the blog may be provided by authors who could be a third-party paid contributor. All information by authors is accepted in good faith, however, PPLSI makes no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability, or completeness of such information.