How to Deal With a Rude Neighbor

by Mikey Rox on 27 April 2012 6 comments
Photo: fredcamino

There’s a bad apple in every neighborhood.

Whether it’s someone who leaves their pet’s mess for you to find, steals your paper, or is just plain nosy, rude neighbors are a part of life.

While some rude neighbors can’t be reasoned with, most of them will change their tune once they’ve seen the error of their ways. But you have to go about it tactfully; crazy is as crazy does, and you’ll get nowhere if you stoop to their level.

Instead, take the high road and handle your next-door menace with these helpful tips. (See also: 25 Ways to Communicate Better Today)

Check the Laws

My husband and I live in a two-bedroom condo, and we rent the guest bedroom to tourists on a regular basis through Airbnb. Some of our neighbors don’t like that we host these guests, and one in particular was very rude in his approach regarding the matter. He showed up on our doorstep and told us that “this was going to stop!” He referenced a bill that was on the verge on becoming a law that would prevent most New Yorkers from renting out their extra space to short-term tenants. What he failed to read, however, was that New York City homeowners who live in their domiciles full-time could continue to rent on a short-term basis. He handled the situation in a poor manner with his attitude, and in the end he didn’t have the facts correct. If he had come to us in a polite manner, we could have discussed the situation like adults and tried to find a way to make it work for everyone involved. He’s a prime example of what not to do when you have an issue to raise with a neighbor.

Gently Remind Them of Policies

In a hypothetical situation, if we were renting our guest bedroom illegally, our neighbor would have had a case to make. And in his defense, he did the right thing by mentioning the law when he confronted us rather than simply saying that we had to stop because he didn’t like what we’re doing. If you’re neighbor is in violation of your neighborhood/board policies, politely remind them. They may not even know they’re doing something, but if they are, your reminder will let them know that someone’s watching.

Pick Your Battles

Just because you don’t like something that your neighbor does doesn’t mean that you have the right to complain. If something is bothering you, talk it over with your partner or a friend to get their take on it. While the issue may tick you off, you need to ensure that it’s a reasonable issue to raise. There’s a difference between keeping the peace and being pushy.

Confront the Situation Head On

Nobody wants to have to confront their neighbor on an issue that they probably won’t agree on, but sometimes it has to be done. Don’t beat around the bush if there’s a problem. Gently present your complaint to the neighbor before the situation gets out of hand. You don’t want to keep it inside until you explode and burn that neighborly bridge all together.

Be Friendly but Stern

Don’t show up on your neighbor’s doorstep fuming mad — that will only complicate the situation further. Rather, be friendly and let your neighbor know that there’s no harm no foul if you can come to an agreement. Just make sure your friendliness doesn’t cause you to be a pushover. In these situations, the best option for the entire neighborhood is the correct one — not the option from the person with the biggest personality. Also, remember to keep your calm if your neighbor cops an attitude. Be the bigger person, and more people will be on your side.

Contact Your Homeowners’ Association

If your neighbor continues to do whatever it is that is annoying you after you’ve confronted the situation, it may be time to contact the homeowners’ association or other authorities. Some people are rude to the core — and they won’t give a darn what your problem is with them. That tune may change, however, when you involve a higher power — especially one that can impose fines.

Have any more tips on how to deal with a rude neighbor? I’d love to hear your crazy-neighbor stories, too. Comment below.

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Guest's picture

And when all else fails, you have to accept it or move! We have a neighbor who rides a go-cart up and down our street. It's fast, extremely loud, and dangerous. He has been talked to but refuses to do anything. Our only recourse is to deal w/it or move.

Guest's picture

And when all else fails, you have to accept it or move! We have a neighbor who rides a go-cart up and down our street. It's fast, extremely loud, and dangerous. He has been talked to but refuses to do anything. Our only recourse is to deal w/it or move.

Guest's picture

I have a downstairs neighbor who is extermely loud. I can hear her phone conversations like she is in my room. I also hear her having some adult fun and even though I have mentioned it she laughs it off and nothing changes. She did have the nerve to tell my landlord our kids are noisy but at least they are in bed by 7pm where as her loud mouth has woken me up at 4am talking on the phone or slamming her door letting one of her "friends" out. Annoying!!

Andrea Karim's picture

Oh, man, if I had a nickel for every ridiculous neighbor that we have, I could probably stop working and pay the mortgage on ridiculous nickels alone! We have the obnoxious barking dog neighbor (Pomeranian, kept out on the deck), the hoarding neighbor who feels that the walkway to my house should function as a storage container for the stuff he salvages from the dumpsters in our alley, and a bevy of people who don't pick up after their dogs. In fact, it's one of the reasons that I am leaving the city. The 'burbs may be dull, but at least I won't be tripping over bags of discarded clothing every morning as I walk to my car.

Guest's picture

I just took a bottle of wine over to our new neighbors to say "Hi" and "Welcome" and the guy just shut the door in my face - I was still talking when he did it!

How do you deal with that?!

Guest's picture

I cut the grass over the imaginary property line as my neighbor cuts his grass three times a week missed part of the yard just wanted to "EVEN" up the cut. Wrong thing to do next morning he was waiting for me at the end of my driveway. Let me have it for "Cutting" his grass. He has not spoken to me in almost two years. Sad part he is a retired minister, his heart has grown cold and hard, he wont forgive me.. Very Sad !