Your neighbors play a large role in the culture of your community. Having a positive relationship with neighbors can make your life easier, but a contentious relationship can make every day a little more stressful.
Identifying common sources of neighborly disputes can help you prevent these issues from becoming a problem when you move into a new property or have a new neighbor assume tenancy of the house next to yours.
What are the top five most common causes of disputes between neighbors?
Fences on the boundary line
Fences can easily lead to disagreements. If one neighbor wants to install a fence, the other may resent the impact the fence has on their view. They might also disagree about the placement of the fence, especially if prior property owners have used landmarks as boundary markers rather than posts or tags place to buy professional surveyors. Neighbors may also disagree about the maintenance of a fence after its installation.
Whether you have a pipe that pumps out gray water from your washing machine or the overflow from your gutters travels over the boundary line onto your neighbor’s property, the runoff from your home could cause disputes with your neighbor. The incursion of water from one property to the other can lead to bad smells, dead grass or even water damage to personal property.
Trees, particularly near the boundary line
A mature tree adds value and beauty to a property, but it also creates maintenance obligations. If one owner puts in a flowering tree near the property boundary, it could drop fruit or otherwise create a nuisance, leading to conflict between the neighbors, especially if one wants to remove or trim the tree and the other doesn’t.
Noise and lights
Perhaps one neighbor is a creative holiday decorator, but the other find the lights to be annoying because they illuminate their bedroom or create glare in their office. Maybe your neighbor works third shift, so your socialization habits wake them up or vice versa.
Upkeep and outdoor vehicles
If you don’t live in a neighborhood governed by a homeowner’s association, there may not be anyone enforcing rules about maintaining the lawn or not parking multiple disabled vehicles where they are visible from the road.
When one neighbor does not carefully maintain their property and creates an eyesore, their neighbors may quickly become irritated with the impact those habits will have on their enjoyment of their property and the value of neighborhood real estate.