Diffusing Problems with Neighbours

problems with neighbours

Even if you live in a beautiful home in a great neighbourhood, problems with neighbours can make living there a miserable experience. That’s why it makes sense to settle such disputes quickly and amicably.

How do you do that?

Here are some simple tips that can go a long way in solving problems with neighbours.

  • Deal with the issue quickly. It’s tempting to avoid facing an unpleasant dispute with a neighbour and hope the problem just goes away. That rarely happens. To settle a dispute, you need to act quickly.
  • Avoid displays of anger. Acting angrily typically only gets the other party on the defensive. It can escalate the situation and rarely, if ever, leads to a resolution.
  • Isolate the problem. Never generalize a dispute with a neighbour. Be specific. Also, don’t accuse!
  • Don’t complain; propose. Rather than complaining about loud music at night, propose a solution. For example, “When our front lights have been turned off, that means we’ve gone to bed. Would it be possible to turn down the music at that time? Thanks!”
  • Say thanks when there’s a resolution. You may never be close friends, but being cordial will go a long way toward easing the tension.
  • Pick up a pen. If the above doesn’t work, check out local bylaws regarding the issue you are having and write a personal letter. Make sure to keep the content of the letter non-accusatory. Be clear about the issue and offer to help come to an agreement. Try to make it seem as though this is a problem that both of you want to solve. 
  • Contact the City. If the letter doesn’t work, call 311 (if you are in the City of Toronto). They will direct you to the appropriate department that can help you.

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