Are you in a situation where you have to think about how to deal with neighbors that complain about everything? Living in densely populated neighborhoods of big cities has many benefits, but one of the most important downsides is having to share a certain space with folks who often don’t share your preferred lifestyle, your habits or interests.
When dealing with a situation in which the people next door are constantly complaining about your taste in music, your pets’ behavior or your sleeping habits – don’t overreact. Keep an open mind, listen, and get to the bottom of the problem. Try to be polite in a conversation, gather as much information as possible, and in the end, look to find a mutually acceptable solution. And if the person continues with the harassment, you need to talk to your lawyer and take legal action before thinking about packing up and moving to a new home.
Take Time to Get the Stories Straight
When you receive the first complaint, find out what exactly made your neighbor so unhappy. Is it the allegedly loud noise coming out from your home, or too many people coming in and out? Get the stories and the facts straight and gather as many details as possible. Having a clear picture of what the problem is will make it easier to deal with.
If you don’t receive a complaint directly but through someone else, gather all the information as well. Perhaps you could contact the complaining resident and talk with them face-to-face. If you can’t work up the courage to take a personal approach, write them a letter.
Try Talking to Other Residents in the Building
This is simple enough step. Knock on some doors in your building, or ask around the neighborhood if someone has been in a similar problem with the same person or some other residents. Some folks are just hard to live next door to, they complain and take pleasure in annoying others for no reason whatsoever – that is nothing new.
Check If the Neighbors’ Recent Criticism Is Valid
Sometimes, folks can blame you for the things happening in the apartment next door. When you moved in, have you shipped your car? Maybe some residents are accusing you of slamming the car doors too loudly or making a strange noise in the middle of the night when, in reality, the person doing that is living three floors up. If that is the case, point out their mistakes and try to set the facts straight.
If You Rent – Check Your Lease
Are you renting your home? If you are, check your lease, there might be rules about noise, visitors, or pets. When you get familiar with the rules, you will see if the tenants are complaining without a valid reason.
Consider Your Behavior
It is the easy way out to blame somebody else, right? When you get a complaint, consider your own actions. Are you really not disturbing anybody?
Sometimes, people tend to jump to conclusions and find the first person to accuse of bad behavior. Other times, you might be unaware that you are actually the one making a mistake and behaving inadequately. Therefore, you have to look at the situation from all angles, put yourself in another person’s shoes for a while, and finally, do everything in your power to check the accuracy of the allegation.
Are You Behaving Antisocially While in Your Apartment?
Are you being accused of being too loud? Or maybe someone compared your actions to vandalism? Take a moment to consider your behavior, and make sure it is not anti-social. It is not like you pulled skates out of the storage to annoy everybody, or purposely told your professional movers not to bring your carpets so that you can make some noise.
If you get complaints about your day-to-day activities like walking in your home, a baby crying, your cooking smells, or returning from work late – know that those are not antisocial behaviors. It just happened that the people in your building are grumpy.
Lodging a Complaint
If the harassment on behalf of your neighbor keeps up, file a counter-complaint with your landlord. Give them all the written documents, and make sure that you are talking to them when you really have a problem. Landlords won’t help you if you are complaining all the time without reason.
The first step in lodging a complaint is taking notes. You should write down every incident that involves you, as well. The simple fact that you are keeping a note of your harassing neighbor can deter them from said behavior.
Take the Legal Road
If the situation gets unbearable, and when the line of decent behavior is crossed, consider taking your neighbor to court. You can take legal action in case of property maintenance issues, noise, and disturbance violations.
Before starting a legal battle, talk to a lawyer. Provide them with as many details as possible, as well as with evidence. When you file a court case with a local small claims court, you will need to substantiate your complaint with proof.
Ask a Neutral Person for Advice
Asking an impartial person for advice when you are in a position like this is a good thing. You will get an objective view of the conflict and advice on how to handle it.
A mediator should be a person that is trained to help and who doesn’t know either of you. If you are renting a place, seek help from a housing association or your landlord.
Expert Tips on How to Deal with Neighbors That Complain About Everything
When dealing with slightly annoying or pushy characters, you should consider taking advice from folks that already dealt with those kinds of situations. There are many tips on how to stay calm and nonviolent in a conflict. Take a deep breath and consider what you would like to hear if the roles were reversed.
Show That You Understand the Problem
When you are face-to-face with an angry person, don’t let them throw you off, try to be as calm as possible. People sometimes overreact and you will achieve nothing if you add up to their anger. Listen to them carefully and do your best to understand where it is all coming from. Too much disagreement can very well turn into a legitimate reason to move.
Kill Them With Kindness – a Good Way to Deal with Neighbors That Complain About Everything
It may not seem very effective at first, but it actually works. Being polite is one of the most effective ways to get a person to talk to you calmly and work out a resolution. Don’t use harsh words and don’t yell. Stay calm and polite. When your neighbor realizes that you don’t want to argue with them, they will relax a little bit. Smile if you feel like it – it will ease the tension between you two.
Find a Reasonable, Middle-Ground Solution
When you focus on the problem, you should talk to your neighbor and find a reasonable solution that will be good for both of you. Know that small changes in one’s behavior might help with the dispute. Also, do not approach this discussion in a fighting mode – you will never reach a common goal that way.
Don’t Make Unrealistic Promises
This is an essential step if you don’t want to make your future relationships with other tenants tense. If you are dealing with some complicated issues that cannot be fixed with small changes, you should think carefully before approaching the final solution. Don’t promise you will change something that you absolutely don’t want to or can’t, it will only worsen the situation. When you are finishing up a discussion with your neighbors, say that you will think about the permanent fix.