How to Deal with Neighbor HarassmentMay 14th, 2010 by Staff Writer
When it comes to apartment living dilemmas, one of the worst ones just may be neighbor harassment. Luckily, there are a number of things that you can do to curb the bad behavior and protect your right to live peacefully in your own home. A neighbor is supposed to be someone on your side, someone living nearby who you can rely on. Make sure that no neighbor exploits you with harassment.
You want to first assess the situation. Identify the type of harassment. If it’s sexual or a threat of violence, call the police immediately. If you feel that you are possibly in immediate danger, you may also want to call the police. Any threat, abuse or property damage should be immediately reported immediately or after you are in a safe place.
If it’s a milder problem, such as a neighbor harassing you by frequently stopping by unannounced, deal directly with the neighbor. Although it may be difficult, tell the neighbor directly that you do not like unexpected visits. Be diplomatic. You may opt to say, “As much as I enjoy your company, I am often working from home or otherwise in the middle of private projects. If you’d like to hang out, can you call first? I think that would make it easier for me to spend time with you.” Be direct, but considerate. If someone is disturbed, rude treatment only aggravates him.
Go to your landlord as soon as possible, if you feel harassed by your neighbor. The landlord should help you with the problem if it prevents you from living peacefully in the apartment you have rented. Also, a landlord needs to know about problem tenants. Although he may feel stuck in the middle, he should step in to help you or refer you to places of greater help. Some landlords are at a loss of solutions. Go the landlord knowing what you want. For example, you may ask him to install surveillance camera or to pay the troubled tenant a visit himself. At worst, the landlord will then be aware of the situation, in case anything else does occur.
If a neighbor harasses you by damaging property, let him know that you are going to report the incident. Let him know that you are going to ask the landlord to put up surveillance and that you plan to do some of your own. Let him know that you plan on suing anyone responsible for property damage. The simple act of standing up to someone verbally can make all the difference.
No matter what your problem is with the neighbor, verbally and clearly tell him to stop. If he ignores the request, take legal action. You may also want to take action in small claims court or criminal court, depending on his harassment. While small claims court rarely leaves either party completely satisfied, the action of showing the neighbor that you mean business will usually curb the harassment once and for all. You will then be able to continue life as normal, completely ignoring or without dealing with the troubling neighbor.