Warning Signs of Bad Neighbors and How to Deal with Them

Warning Signs of Bad Neighbors and How to Deal with Them

November 22, 2021  |  Property Tips
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The property is perfect both inside and out. The neighborhood is lovely. The school district is excellent, and the Homeowners Association is an ideal match. You're ready to rent or buy your future home, right? 


There’s one thing you forgot: the neighbors. 


Just one bad neighbor in the entire neighborhood can turn a perfect home into a waking nightmare.  


In this post, we will tell you the warning signs of a bad neighbor, and how to confront one if the situation has gotten out of hand.  


The Warning Signs 


There are several different types of bad neighbors. Each gives off specific warning signs and there are ways to spot each type.  


Here are some of the archetypes of bad neighbors: 


  • The noisemaker. If you’ve ever been to a child’s birthday party, then you know there is nothing more grating than those abominable plastic toys so aptly named “noise-makers.” As annoying as those toys are, noisemaker neighbors are worse. They scream and fight at all hours of the night. They play their music as loud as they please. And worst of all they don't care who can hear their racket. The noisemaker is the most common type of bad neighbor and the easiest to spot.  


  • The property police. Made famous by 50’s era sitcoms, the property police know exactly where their property starts and yours ends, and they make sure you don’t step so much as a toe over the line. The property police will (not-so-nicely) let you know about any over-hanging branch, askew blade of grass, or child's toy that impedes on their property. Now don't get us wrong: it's fine to set boundaries with your neighbors, but there is such a thing as being too nitpicky. You don't have to look hard for the property police. They will come to you. 


  • Bob the Slob. Need we say more? Bob has mowed his lawn once this year, his trash cans live on his curb, and his lawn looks like a permanent modern art exhibit. Bob may not be overtly rude or annoying, but what an eyesore! A slob’s property can bring down the value of the entire neighborhood. Not to mention all the trash that will blow into your yard. You can spot Bob from the next county over. But Google Street View doesn’t hurt either.  


  • Owned by their pet. Who owns who in this relationship? The dog is never on a leash, barks at every passerby, and has frequent vacations around the neighborhood. Worst of all, the owner couldn’t care less. And don’t even think of asking them to pick up its droppings. The neighbor owned by their pet may not be as visible as the other types, but just wait, the real owner will introduce themselves. 


  • The weird-o. Who's that peeking from behind the shades? No, they may not be the most annoying of the bad neighbor archetypes, but something is unsettling about them. They're the drug dealer, the sex offender, the peeping tom. It’s hard to spot them at first, but when you do, they’re everywhere.  


To save yourself some hassle, try and spot these bad neighbors before you move in. Try driving through the neighborhood at night, talk with local business owners and long-term residents, and take a foot-tour of the area. The neighbors will tell you of any obvious pests, but you will be able to spot any personal pet peeves on foot. Also, be sure to check any criminal and sex offender registries before moving in. They’ll tell you all you need to know. 


If you see any red flags, make sure you think long and hard before you sign that dotted line. 


How to Handle Bad Neighbors 


Once you’ve moved in, you’re stuck with your bad neighbors until they move, or you do.  


If a problem begins to arise after you’ve moved in, the best way to handle the situation is to talk to your neighbor calmly and directly (best for noisemakers, property line police, and slobs). Simply state the issue without accusing them and offer solutions to fix the problem. 


Schedule a time to talk and meet on the sidewalk or property line. Try not to escalate the problem and move on if they are being obstinate. 


If you can tell a neighbor will not listen to your issues, skip confronting them (best to start here for the owned-pet-owner and the weird-o). Instead, start by writing to the local authorities or HOA. This will keep your bad neighbor from targeting you further and allow a more experienced party to handle the situation. 


As a last resort, hire a professional mediator or file a complaint in court. Only do this if all other methods have failed.  


Also, it’s never a bad idea to have your property surveyed before you move it, just so the property line police and you are on the same page.  


Bad Neighbors aren’t Worth the Headache 


The best way to deal with a bad neighbor is by avoiding moving in next to one entirely. Do your homework and know what you can handle before you move in. 


Even the best neighborhoods will have troublemakers or people you don't get along with. Just make sure you aren't moving into an undesirable situation.  


HOAs are great for creating rules and restrictions so everyone in the community knows what makes them a bad neighbor.  


If your HOA is looking for help managing your community, why not hire the best? Management Plus is the only property management group in the Cincinnati area that makes your HOA work for you, not the other way around.