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How To Deal With Nightmare Neighbors 
 
by Iris Blasi May 20, 2005

If your neighbors are a total nightmare (and moving isn’t an option), there are things you can do. Whether the issue is noise or property rights or anything in between, it is worth confronting the problem in order to improve the quality of your own life.

You’ve just moved into your dream-come-true house. Whether it is a suburban heaven complete with a white picket fence or 800 square feet of a sunny rent-controlled apartment, you cannot imagine anything more perfect than having this space as your very own home

What is less than perfect, however, are the neighbors who accompany your new digs.

They might begin their daily tuba practice at 5:30 am or blast rock music all night long. They might want to build a fence or pave a driveway on what you believe to be your property and not theirs. They might leave their garbage to accumulate behind their house instead of bringing it to the curb and you simply can’t take the pungent scent wafting through your windows anymore.

Whatever the annoying and awful habit your neighbors happen to have, there are things you can do to curtail the behavior. The situation may be resolved through a casual conversation or you might have to take legal action, but whatever it takes is worth it to regain peace in your home.

It's Not You, It's Me

The first thing to ask yourself is if your complaint is justified. Does the old lady in the apartment next door play her soap operas annoyingly loud in the middle of the afternoon? Or are you suffering from acute sleep deprivation because the 20-something frat boys who moved in next door are throwing all-night ragers? These are two very different situations.

Yes, there are some things that are terribly annoying and life would be better for all of us if everyone would stop doing them. But don’t make a mountain out of a molehill. Even if you would prefer not to live with a neighbor’s irritating habit, you might be better off living with the irritation than dealing with the aftermath of making a big to-do about it.

Other behaviors do in fact cross the line. A dog barking late at night is one thing; someone breeding rottweilers is another story.

If their behavior is not something you can live with, you should do something about it.

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