Let’s face it: Neighbors can make or break a living situation. While some may be great friends, others can make you wish you never moved in. Fortunately, Thomas P. Farley, founder of WhatMannersMost.com, answered viewer-submitted questions about tackling problems with neighbors.
There is a really loud, annoying individual who rides a motorcycle in the neighborhood. He guns the engine extra loud on purpose, especially when he comes by my house. Other times, he comes in at 1 in the morning. He drives really fast, too. What can be done?
It sounds like he is trying to annoy you. I would enlist a neighborhood friend and approach the individual directly the next time he rides by. Be respectful, but explain your concerns and ask that he not rev his engine after a certain hour. If he refuses to do so, research your town’s noise ordinances. Keep a record of his violations and file a complaint, enlisting as many neighbors as you can to join you.
The speeding issue is more concerning. Contact your town’s department of transportation to inquire about having a speed limit sign posted on your block. If the limit is continually broken, contact the police.
I recently moved into a new home and discovered our neighbor’s underground storm pip spills out onto our property, causing our backyard to flood. I’m sure they spent a lot of money on draining their yard properly. How do I ask them to fix the problem without creating an enemy?
First, I would contact your broker to investigate if this was a known issue to the previous owner. If the owner did know about this and did not disclose the information, you may have legal options. But more pressing, your new neighbors must be informed immediately.
Document the problem the next time it occurs with photos and video and have your neighbor view the flooding in-person while it was happening. From there, I suggest you offer to find an engineer to investigate the issue and make recommendations.
Let your neighbor know that if the issue is a result of your draining system, you will pay the cost of the report and whatever remedy is necessary. If the fault is found to be theirs, the reverse should be true and they will need to pay the cost for the study and repairs. Put this in writing and make sure both of you have signed the document so that this will hold up in court if it comes to that.
My neighbor knocks on my door all the time asking to borrow something. I have a new baby in the house so it’s even more inconvenient now. What should I do?
While it is nice to be a good neighbor, you need to make yourself – and your possessions – a bit less available if occasional borrowing is turning into constant borrowing. Let the neighbor know that you have a baby in the home and that the baby is a light sleeper who wakes at the slightest disturbance.
If the visits persist, try responding that you don’t have the item. If that doesn’t work, stop answering the door. The neighbor will eventually take the hint and move on.
My husband works away from home where he keeps an apartment and has neighbors who smoke constantly in the entrance of the building. The smell gets into his apartment. He doesn’t want to cause a problem and will not ask them to smoke elsewhere. What is the correct way to handle this?
Your husband is being far too understanding. If he approaches these neighbors in a polite way, they will most likely understand and accommodate his wishes. He can explain that his wife has been noticing that his clothing smells of smoke when he gets home and it’s bothersome. Keeping it light, I am certain they will be happy to find a new smoking location.
My neighbors grill in the front driveway and the smoke blows right into my windows. It smells so bad. My husband tried to talk with them but to no avail. Help!
Is it possible for them to move the barbecue slightly so that it’s not blowing into your windows? Perhaps you could both try and find a solution by having them move the grill to a few different locations to find one that is enough out of the way that the smoke dissipates before it reaches your home.
Offer to bring along a choice cut of their favorite BBQ meat for the experiment and grill it together. If an ideal grilling spot can’t be found, see if they might invest in a gas grill, which is less smoky. Perhaps you can all split the cost and keep it in a mutually agreed-upon location that doesn’t send smoke rushing into your home.