Neighborhood Disputes

Problems between neighbors can get very disruptive for the entire neighborhood, as it can easily spill over into affecting completely uninvolved parties and destroying the fabric of an otherwise great neighborhood. People get angry, they start talking smack about the adversary to other neighbors, people start feeling put on the spot or like they somehow have to pick sides. People get upset when they see one neighbor talking to the adversary and take it personally. It can get to be a very big problem.

Neighborhood disputes between rational, reasonably intelligent human beings rarely has to result in any sort of legal action, much less no contact, harassment restraining or protection court orders unless there is much more going on such as violence, threats of violence or harassment.

Before doing anything confrontational or diplomatic, though, since you are hear at this site I assume some already has, check local laws, as most every area has laws pertaining to pets, noise, parking and such things that often lead to problems between neighbors. Most nuisance laws are very specific, they do not, however, cover some of the more extreme forms of harassment and intimidation, but there are plenty of other laws that cover those issues. Make sure you know your local laws and maybe something as simple as a small citation or fine can make the point, if your issue is covered by nuisance laws.

Once you have educated yourself on local laws, be up front and open with your neighbor, if the dispute has not yet resulted in serious problems, just try to confront it with a level head, not anger. If your neighbor is a normal adult they will most likely be receptive, even if they feel a little attacked, and you can work it out. This could produce a more open line of communication and result in an outcome suitable to all, remember, both sides have their right to be heard. That being said, some people simply are incapable of negotiating, it's never their fault, in that case, well, this likely won't work and will lead to even greater resentment that you dared try to ask them to change their behavior.

At the end of the day, all you can do is try, if they ignore you, get angry, or whatever, the only real choice you have is to act on those local laws. Call the police, or, go to the police privately to make reports. Take note of what you have done, when you did them and what the outcome was. Documentation is always good to have.

Keep it away from other neighbors, don't bother anyone with the issue unless they happen to be directly affected by it as well. If you start talking, and you have a bitter, angry neighbor, all sorts of things can happen from making them more angry to being threatened with defamation/slander lawsuits. On the whole, these lawsuits are mostly posturing and threatening, as these cases are expensive to prosecute and rarely amount to anything except in the most extreme cases. I was threatened with this at one point, made a couple of token gestures of good will and laughed the rest off. Nothing ever came of it, as, anything I was saying was true. That being said, it's still a hassle.