You own a beautiful home in a community like Shelburne, Orangeville or Grand Valley that offers all the amenities of city living and is supposed to be the charm of small community living except you end up living next to nightmare neighbours, what are you supposed to do? This can be a real problem for some. As a realtor, I hope this is never a reason you want/need to move. Here are some tips to try to eliminate this ever becoming a real problem.
First if you are looking to move to a community like Shelburne, Orangeville or Grand Valley, you should drive around the neighbourhoods and check out the general appearance. Not to stereo type, but if the outside of the neighbourhood looks like a junkyard and there doesn’t look to be pride of ownership, there most likely is no pride of neighbourhood and respect of others. If you find a home you really like, maybe drive by on a Saturday and stop and talk to people on the street to get a sense of the neighbourhood. Do they all associate together or is everyone very private? Do they like the neighbours or is there one that everyone is always upset with. This little bit of detective work can make a huge difference in enjoyment of your new home.
Let’s say you have new neighbours move in and start to upset the apple cart. What do you do then? Firstly taking to social media to complain about your new neighbours or asking for guidance on the situation publicly is probably not the best idea. Everyone knows someone on social media and this can just escalate the situation.
Try to get to know your neighbours. Maybe have a get-together like a BBQ or cocktails. Easier to work with people you like and know than people you don’t. Best thing to do is talk to your neighbour and express your concerns. They most likely do not even realize they are upsetting you. Best to follow the 24 hour rule as well. If something that has irritated you enough, you should wait 24 hours to speak with them to allow emotions to calm down. Speak calmly and matter of factly. Do not use profanity and do not yell.
Some people are not comfortable with face to face interaction in this situation. The best thing would be to write a note or letter and again, keep it to the issues and the reasons for writing the note. Things like noise, trespassing, property destruction, lack of property maintenance or breaking laws/by-laws are reasons neighbours get into wars.
Maybe speak to the other neighbours and see if they are experiencing the same difficulties with this particular home. Maybe as a group it will appear less personal and be received better.
Let’s hope things do not escalate to this level, but if they do, you need to document all particulars of the situation. Perhaps the police or a court of law needs to become involved. I’ve always been told in any situation you need to involve a lawyer, really no one wins. Try to not get to this point.
These are some tips to deal with the situations. Remember to pick your battles. Ask yourself, is it really a problem? It is understandable that neighbours may have a party from time to time and play some louder music, or a dog barks a little longer at a squirrel in the yard, but this should not be the everyday. Everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy peace a quiet in their yards. Maybe your neighbour’s lawn mower is in the shop and they just haven’t been able mow the lawn. Be neighbourly and offer to lend yours. If someone is having a fire in their backyard during a summer evening and the smoke from the fire is bothering your family because the windows are open, perhaps you could just close your windows and turn the air conditioning on. Try to be tolerant of occasional things because remember we are not all perfect. There maybe things we do to annoy as well and not even be aware of. As with any relationship, communication is key.
Let’s hope things do not get to a point that you need to move from your neighbourhood, but we are always here to help if you get to that point. If you are the offending neighbour, we would be happy to help you find a remote, rural property where you can play loud music to the wee hours of the morning every night, have bon fires as big as you want and let the dogs howl all night at the moon. We are here to help!!!