How to Handle Neighbor ComplaintsOctober 15th, 2009 by Rachael Weiner
In an ideal apartment situation, neighbor complaints are rare if not nonexistent. However, it’s a fact of life that people tend not to see eye to eye at times and disagreements arise. If you’ve found yourself with a complaint from a neighbor, take the following steps to keep the situation from escalating.
Step One: Hear Your Neighbor Out
Nobody likes to be involved in messy situations. They’re awkward at best and downright infuriating or embarrassing at worst. If your neighbor has complained directly by knocking at your door to speak with you, hear him or her out. Most people are not so bold as to confront someone in these sorts of situations, so look at it as a building block to a better relationship with your neighbor. Chances are he or she will be mature in speaking with you and the situation will be resolved as soon as you listen and make amends. If you’ve received the complaint passively by a note or through a middle man, like the landlord, do what you can to resolve the situation and put an end to it.
Step Two: Resolve the Issue, but Be Reasonable
Your neighbor could have a legitimate reason for complaining. Maybe your music has been too loud during week nights. Maybe the trash you’ve occasionally left on the balcony is blowing onto his or her space. In reasons such as these, you really have no other choice but to comply. Your neighbor is completely reasonable in making a complaint. However, if the complaint is bordering the line of nagging, such as complaining about your once weekly Saturday night apartment gatherings being too noisy when, in fact, they end early enough not to be disruptive, you may need to come to a compromise with your neighbor.
Noise is probably the most common apartment-related complaint. If you’re quiet during the weekdays and become a little noisy one weekend night, your neighbor needs to be reasonable with you. Just as it’s unfair for you to be rowdy all of of the time, it’s unfair for your neighbor to expect you to cater to his or her every demand.
Step Three: Get Your Landlord Involved if Necessary
Again, chances are the complaint brought to you will be a simple one, like noise level or cleanliness, that you really should amend, but there’s always the possibility that the problem isn’t you. You may be dealing with meddling neighbors who have nothing better to do than complain about everything. If you think this is the case and have tried to amend whatever situations they bring to you, talk to your landlord. Be sure to document everything about the complaints: how they’ve complained, how they’ve presented the situation and what you’ve done to remedy it. Your landlord should be able to iron out the situation. In best cases the complaints will stop. In the worst cases, you or your neighbor could move to a different unit.
It’s easy to see when neighbors are being reasonable and when they’re crossing the line. Strive to maintain peaceful relations, but don’t compromise your right to an enjoyable living space by allowing your neighbors to control you.
Rachael Weiner: I’m a communications professional for a non-profit, which financially necessitates my status as an apartment dweller. Constantly “on-the-go,” I’ve resided in five different apartments across the United States over the past five years. Roommate issues, budgeting, organizing and handling problem neighbors are my specialty.