Are your neighbors a little…um, unsavory? Or downright toxic? Dealing with bad neighbors can be a nightmare, especially if you have no experience in the art. Your first time is always bound to be the hardest! A neighbor can be classed as bad or toxic for any number of reasons. In order to survive the ordeal and ensure that it doesn’t end up impacting negatively on your entire life, you have to nip it in the bud with some careful and strategic “bad neighbor coping mechanisms”.
You might be wondering if your next-door neighbors moved straight out of hell and right into the apartment or house next door to you. Some neighbors aren’t just bad; they’re toxic! Below are several effective ways to deal with a toxic neighbor. If these don’t work, then you may have got yourself into more than you can deal with.
16 ways to stay sane when living next door to toxic neighbors:
1. Form a ‘task force’ with the other non-offending neighbors.
Ganging up on someone might not be nice, but it can be effective. If you are feeling frustrated and annoyed by your neighbors, consider that there are other neighbors right next to and across from them that probably feel the same. Arrange a meeting to discuss the bad neighbor and ascertain if anyone else feels the same as you or if it is something that’s just affecting you. If you are all getting upset over the same things, approaching the neighbor as a team can be effective.
2. Plan a nice-making confrontation (only if your neighbor isn’t dangerous, that is).
Unless your neighbor is the neighborhood thug or the lead member of a dangerous gang, you should feel comfortable enough to go over to their place, knock on the door and talk about the problems. Of course, if you are making nice, you need to be friendly, polite, open, and willing to laugh about it while still driving the message home. Perhaps practice your speech before you jump right in.
3. Don’t be afraid to get a little creative.
Sometimes a creative solution is the best solution. Does your neighbor always put his trash out a day early, letting the stray neighborhood animals rip it apart right in front of your house? Perhaps you should send their trash bags right back to their house in the dead of night with a neatly attached note stating the correct times to leave trash out and why.
4. Don’t get willy-nilly with assumptions.
We as a people tend to throw out assumptions like they cost nothing. You might hear your neighbor’s teenage son playing his music loud day in and day out, or note that the house and yard are looking very bedraggled. Before you storm over and start demanding more quiet and that they tend to their property, consider what the underlying issue might be. Perhaps the family has just lost a parent, or one of the parents is disabled. Always ask what is going on before assuming anything.
5. Get meticulous about it: make notes (with dates and times) of all offenses.
Get yourself a notebook and be meticulous about recording things. If your neighbors keep doing wrong or annoying things, just make a note of it with the date and time. You never know when you might need to draw on this information. If you ever have a confrontation, you can also use your notes to drive home your point and support your stance.
6. Consult with your landlord (their landlord and your landlord may just be buddies).
Telling your landlord about your neighbors may seem like tattle-tailing, and maybe it is, but it really does work. If you have the same landlord, they can nip the problem in the bud immediately. If you have different landlords, there is always the chance that both landlords know each other and are buddies. Your landlord can either put a word in for you or provide you with the contact details of your neighbor’s landlord so that you can chat to them directly about their bad tenants.
7. Be prepared to note your annoying habits as a neighbor and even more prepared to put in the effort to change.
If you speak to your neighbors and it comes out that you are doing something annoying or upsetting too, don’t get your hackles up. Rather accept responsibility for your own bad behavior and see if there are ways that you can turn things around.
8. Get the cops involved.
Nothing puts a stop to toxic behavior quicker than a little visit from the cops. If your neighbor keeps throwing parties until 4 am, get the cops in. If they are breaking municipal laws, report them. The authorities are there for a reason – use them.
9. Set a great example, especially when it comes to throwing parties.
Noise is one of the biggest upsets in a neighborhood. If you are going to throw a party and the noise levels are expected to rise, pay a visit to each of your neighbors to invite them over. If they don’t intend to join you, provide them with your personal number so that they can reach you if they feel things are getting out of control. This will make them feel more secure, and they probably won’t moan if you do make a bit of a racket.
10. ‘Monkey see, monkey do’ the situation.
If you feel like you are bumping your head against a brick wall and the neighbors will never change, apply a little “monkey see, monkey do”. This means that you should fight fire with fire. If your neighbor steals your garbage bins, steal theirs. If they throw rages every second night that keep you up, throw a few strategically planned parties of your own. Get ready to get your hands dirty. They may not like it and realize the error in their ways, but be careful…it could just start a feud.
11. Introduce yourself and get to know them a little more.
This is not an uncommon phenomenon and one you can use to your advantage: people find it harder to treat people badly when they know them or like them. So go on over, introduce yourself, and make friends.
12. Get familiar with the governing laws of your neighborhood.
Neighborhood laws that are broken can be reported, so get familiar with your neighborhood laws on Municode.com and prepare to get professional about your approach to the problem.
13. Maybe you just need therapy: consider mediation.
If you have tried everything and the issues between you and the neighbors persist, speak to a professional mediator who can try to assist with the problem. If you have professional help, the problem may be put to bed a little earlier than if you let it playout for the duration of your lease.
14. Learn to deal with it and play avoidance.
You could just take the knock on the chin and try to get used to the neighbors being who they are. Of course, you can simply avoid them so that you don’t have to deal with talking to them, seeing them, or pretending that you like them.
15. Move out.
Moving out might not be the most convenient solution, but it is probably the most effective. If the neighbors are too much to bear, maybe it is time to cut your losses and move out. But make sure that you do neighbor investigations before you move into a new place.
16. Bribe them to move out.
This might seem like a joke, but perhaps you could bribe them to move out. This is only for those who are willing to use every trick in the book. And keep in mind that the cost might be high.
Toxic neighbors have a way of getting under the skin, so make sure that you are prepared for whatever onslaught they have planned before you fire any proverbial shots. Perhaps you don’t want a neighborly war – or perhaps you do! In short, if your neighbors are of the toxic variety, the above 16 pointers should help you to mitigate the problem. Try a few or try them all; either way, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.