At some point in your home renting or owning journey, you’ll likely face some common neighbour issues or situations that you may be unsure how to approach, discuss and resolve.
What might be a problem for some, is no issue to another. It’s the differences in lifestyle, age and background of neighbours that can often lead to differing views about what is and isn’t expected of you as a good neighbour.
Here are some of the most common neighbour issues you may encounter and the right way to go about finding a resolution.
There are many reasons that could cause a dog to bark – including separation anxiety, boredom, fear or even excitement.
While many homeowners or tenants understand that a dog may bark from time to time (for example, when the dog’s owner arrives home), excessive barking can cause a serious disturbance for neighbours.
If you’re noticing continual or excessive barking from your neighbour’s dog, or even your own dog, it might be time to consult with a professional dog behaviour specialist.
Dog behaviour specialists can help to understand the reasons behind why the dog is barking – providing potential solutions to resolve the underlying issues. This will not only help resolve any neighbour issues but also ensure you have a happier dog!
Trees & garden maintenance
While in most areas you can legally cut back a tree to the property line if it is encroaching on your property, it’s not the first option you should take. Additionally, before cutting back a tree on your neighbouring property or your own, speak to your local council as they may have Tree Preservation Orders in place, preventing you from cutting or removing trees.
Instead, look to discuss any problems you have with overhanging trees or tree roots with your neighbour before taking any action. Speak to them about why the tree is becoming an issue on your property and request that they provide a solution to the issue.
Likewise, if your tree is overhanging your neighbour’s property, you should be trimming the tree branches back. If you’re unable to come to a solution, as a last resort you may decide to write a notice for removal with a timeframe requesting them to remove their overhanging branches.
Divided over fencing
The shape, colour, design and cost of your dividing fence are all common causes of disputes between neighbours – especially when they become damaged and need to be repaired or replaced. It’s important to understand in most cases, when fixing a dividing fence there is usually a cost to be paid by both homeowners.
One of the most common disputes regarding fencing is the price of installing a new fence and making a decision both homeowners agree with. Take your time to discuss options with your neighbour to come to a mutual decision.
If you or your neighbour prefers a more expensive option, it’s recommended that the difference is paid by the neighbour selecting the more expensive choice. Don’t forget that good quality fences usually last longer and may improve the value of your home – so spending a bit more may be worth the investment.
Music & noise complaints
It’s wise to expect you may encounter the occasional loud party or crying child at some point in your property occupancy journey.
Before confronting your neighbour while you’re still heated following a loud event, spend some time to calm down and relax. Discuss the noise issues you have with your neighbour politely and try to come to a resolution or agreement – such as turning the music off by a certain time on weeknights.
If you don’t feel confident speaking to your neighbours directly, leave a polite note at their front door or in their mailbox mentioning the problem and potential solutions.
If you’re still unable to solve issues regarding neighbour noise, it might be time to look at ways you can improve your own home to minimise external noise. Double-glazed windows and new door and window seals will not only reduce sound but may also increase the livability, energy efficiency and even the value of your home.
There’s always at least one in each street or apartment block – the nosey neighbour. Perhaps they have a large home with windows overlooking your block. Or maybe they want to chat with you every time you leave the house.
It might be time to have a conversation with your nosey neighbour – speaking to them politely and requesting that you’d prefer some privacy. If they continue to be nosey, it might be time to install some additional shade sails, trees or thicker curtains to reduce their vision into your property.
Remember, it can often be a good thing if your neighbour is a bit nosey or likes to keep an eye on your property. This could help deter intruders and may even create a good friendly relationship between you and your neighbour – where they will look after your home while you’re away on holiday, collect your mail and water your yard.
Before you discuss any problems with your neighbour, take some time to relax and think about the issue rationally. Discussions, while you or your neighbour are disgruntled, will often escalate the problem, making it more difficult to find a resolution.
Follow some of the tips mentioned on the Conflict Resolution Network website to help resolve any issues in a respectful matter, before taking more serious action if issues aren’t resolved. Speaking in a civil manner to your neighbour and understanding their point-of-view is guaranteed to give you the best chance of resolving issues peacefully and that you’ll live in harmony moving forward.