Promoting Good Neighborly Relations

*By John Voket, RISMedia Columnist


I recently ran into a friend who just moved into a new home in a tightly-knit but cozy neighborhood. But she confided that she had not gotten a decent night’s sleep in a few days because her neighbor-a second shift worker-would come home near midnight and initiate noisy work on his own “fixer-upper” next door.

While in many cases this issue could be handled by your local police, the potential after effects of handling a noise complaint in this manner might do more harm than good. In the interest of promoting good neighborly relations, I like the alternative advice offered by the Austin, Texas, Board of Realtors (

Their blog notes that when confronted with noisy neighbors, talk to them. The worst thing you can do when faced with a disturbance is to do nothing at all. If you don’t voice your concerns, your neighbors may never realize they are bothering anyone.

When approaching others about an issue, it is important to be open to compromise. If they can’t bear to discontinue their behavior, perhaps they’ll be open to changing the day or time they engage in the activity so that it becomes less disruptive.

By suggesting compromise to resolve an issue, the Austin association points out, you act as a friend trying to reach an agreement-not a stranger trying to mandate change. And being polite is critical. Greeting your neighbors with an angry attitude could escalate the issue and turn you into the annoying neighbor.

On the other hand, if your neighbor reacts angrily to your request and proves impossible to talk to after various attempts on your part, it may be wise to seek the help of an outside authority, such as a landlord or even the police, depending on the severity of the disturbance.

Ultimately, such problems might be solved before they ever start by visiting a neighborhood during different times and days of the week before moving into it. Walking around the block-instead of driving-will allow you to better assess sights, sounds and smells, as well as talk to potential neighbors.

By doing your homework and working to peacefully co-exist, the folks at the Austin Board of Realtors believe wherever you may put down stakes, you can “enjoy your properties with little to no trouble at all.”


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