Neighbor Problems: Legal Actions You Can Take

houses in a village

Having a sound relationship with your neighbors is important. It can help you improve your social life in your neighborhood. If you’re on good terms with your neighbors, you’ll be able to ask them for help when needed. And they’re more likely to do you favors. For example, say you’re leaving your home for a few days. You can tell your trusted neighbor about your trip and ask them to check on your residence a few times.

But getting along with everyone isn’t statistically possible. There will always come a time when you may have a disagreement or argument with one of your neighbors. In 2014, four in 10 Americans had disputes with their neighbors.

Common Neighbor Disputes


Sometimes, neighbors can be noisy. Some people play their music a little too loud or mow their grass with a loud lawnmower early in the morning. Or maybe their dogs bark for long periods of time. The noise can be very disturbing and, thus, cause arguments between neighbors.

Boundary Disputes

Neighbors can also have problems with property boundaries. For example, your neighbor may be encroaching over your property, whether intentional or not. You may also experience disagreements with property lines, such as fences.

Property Aesthetic

Sometimes, neighbors argue because of property aesthetics. In certain neighborhoods, homeowners must maintain a clean and orderly home exterior. So anything that causes damage to this aesthetic can result in an argument. Some popular examples include a disheveled exterior of a home, untrimmed lawns, and overflowing trash cans.


Kids are curious creatures and tend to explore on their own sometimes. And as a result, they may unintentionally trespass into a neighbor’s property and cause that neighbor some grief.

Blocking of the View

Some neighbors may build accessory dwelling units in their backyard and inadvertently block the view of the house next to them. In other cases, the neighbor’s trees become overgrown.

What to Do

If you have an issue with your neighbors, there are different steps you can take.

Talk to Your Neighbor

More often than not, they’re not aware of the problem and are not intentionally giving you trouble. So the first thing you need to do if you have any problems with your neighbor.

A calm conversation over the fence (for social distancing purposes) or over a cup of coffee may be enough to fix the problem. Bring any documentation to help you make your case with your neighbor. For example, if you find out that their child or their pet trespassed your property, consider taking a photo as proof, just in case your neighbors request one.

Consult the Homeowners Association (HOA)

Sometimes, no matter how many times you talk to your neighbor, they don’t really do anything to remedy the problem. In this case, you can ask for help from the HOA. They are allowed to get in between disputes between neighbors. For example, they can issue violation notices and suspend privileges temporarily until the issue is resolved.

Call the Police

In certain cases, you can also call the police for help. But make sure that you are filing a report over a valid concern. For example, you can call the police if your neighbor is committing one or more forms of misdemeanors, such as making noise that violates the local ordinance and trespassing.

Call the police if these misdemeanors escalate to criminal actions such as damage to property. You can also seek assistance from law enforcement if your neighbors continue to harass you even after trying to talk to them directly or resolving issues through the HOA.

Get Legal Help

You can also seek the assistance of your local real estate attorney. They are well-adept on how to address disputes regarding your property. If your dispute with your neighbors ends up in civil litigation, your legal consultant will help you make your case.

Get Along with Your Neighbors

As much as possible, you should get along with your neighbors so that any dispute can be addressed peacefully. Have a friendly demeanor around your neighbors. For instance, greet them when you see them; don’t wait for them to greet you first.

Also, make sure that you respect their values and beliefs. As the saying goes, you need to “pick your battles.”

It’s also important that you discuss issues directly with your neighbor. Don’t gossip around. If your neighbor gets the news about your issue with them through the grapevine, it will create tension between you. And resolving the issue might become even more difficult.