How to (Correctly) File a Complaint About a Neighbor

in Neighbors on by
Young man has trouble sleeping because of his noisy neighbors. Looks like he needs to file a complaint!

At its best, living in an apartment is like always having family nearby to help you move a couch, lend you a cup of sugar, or water your plants when you’re on vacation. At its worst, it’s like always having strangers around you who don’t seem to care anything about your peace of mind and constantly disrespect your rights.

To resolve a problem with a neighbor, it’s best to approach the situation with calm politeness. Patience and understanding can work wonders when it comes to avoiding nasty confrontations, after all. And whether the issue is noise, trash, parking, property boundaries, or any other common annoyance, it’s always preferable to give peace a chance.

Unfortunately, there are some instances when disrespectful neighbors are unwilling to hear you out. Rest assured though: there are still quite a few steps you can take to get the matter sorted quickly and efficiently.

Talk to Them

Although you may have a hard time believing that your neighbor doesn’t know how loud their music is or that their trash blows all up and down the hall, some people just aren’t very observant. For that reason, you should always start by kindly approaching them, stating your concern, and asking them to rectify it.

If this doesn’t work, or you don’t have a chance for an in-person interaction, putting it in writing may help. Use the same polite tone, and attach the note to their door when you’re done.

Join Forces with Other Neighbors

There’s a chance your neighbor may think you’re just overly sensitive to noise, are exaggerating the strewn trash, or have a personal grudge against them. In this case, you’ll want to write a similar note but frame it as a group complaint from you and other adjacent neighbors. Have everyone sign it and wait a few days to see if the noise dissipates. It’s much harder for the offender to dismiss more than one complaint.

Be Willing to Compromise

In other cases, the neighbors may not agree to lowering the volume on their music all the time, but will still be amenable to keeping it down during certain hours, such as 7 am to 10 am or after 10 pm. Compromise is necessary when you live in community housing, and it’s almost always the key to harmonious neighbor relations.

Talk to the Landlord

Some really bad neighbors will just ignore your request or, worse yet, do the opposite of the thing you asked and play music even louder 24/7. Your next step is to contact the apartment manager or landlord with your grievance, either alone or with the neighbors who share your concerns. Explain in detail the steps you’ve already taken and ask for help. Give the situation a week to change and if it doesn’t, inform the manager that you plan to seek other solutions to the problem.

Review Local Ordinances

Whether it’s noise, trash control, or property encroachment, there is likely a city or county ordinance that clearly states the local regulations for multi-family housing units. Procure copies of relevant laws and present them to both the offender and the landlord/apartment manager. Again, wait a week to see if the situation improves.

File a Report with Local Law Enforcement

When all else fails, it’s time to involve the authorities. Go online, call, or visit your local police or sheriff’s department to file a formal complaint against your neighbor. Clearly outline all the steps you’ve taken from day one so they know you’ve tried to rectify the problem on your own. Give them all the details including dates, times, responses (if applicable), and the number of neighbors who have joined in your complaint. Ask if it would help to have neighbors file individual complaints and ask them to do so if necessary.

Be aware that taking this step is serious, especially to the neighbors in question. They may retaliate verbally or threaten you, either of which you need to document for your own protection and alert authorities of immediately. Angry neighbors can become irrational and act out in ways that may threaten your well-being, so be cautious and careful when going this route.

Don’t Be a Hypocrite

Before you start calling out others for their inconsiderate behavior, take the time to assess your own habits. Does your barking dog disturb the neighbors? Do you park your car so it infringes on the space next to you? Is your balcony overflowing with broken plant pots that detract from the attractiveness of the building?

At the end of the day, it all comes down to accepting the trials and tribulations of community living. This is especially difficult for those who grew up in a single-family home with neighbors at a distance. Apartment living requires tolerance, understanding, and sometimes just endurance of other people’s habits and behaviors.

10 Responses to “How to (Correctly) File a Complaint About a Neighbor”

  1. September 23, 2016 at 8:54 pm, Melanie Penner said:

    Our neighbor has been intentionally harassing my family for almost a year. We live in a crime free complex, supposidly. We've been threatened 3 times, i've been keeping logs, calling security and also calling the police. To date the mamagement company hasn't evixted them because they are scared to be sued for racism. I'm at the end of my ropes INEED HELP!!!!!!

    Reply

  2. October 26, 2016 at 6:37 am, Janet Asphall said:

    I have been living in this apartment complex for 3 years now there is a tenant living above me they are really nosy before there was only her and her 2 daughters living up there but now she has moved in her sister and her 3 kids and they are small children now it has become 100 times worse the kids run around starting from 6am in the morning until 10 pm at night the only time I have any peace is when they are not at home when it is not the kids it is the adults that r stomping around one of the child told me a few weeks ago that she is the one that is doing it I have spoke to my landlord and the manager of the complex with no good results called the cops a few times nothing has changed it has only gotten worse now she is saying I am harassing her I don't even speak to this woman she doesn't work she is on housing. I work 2 jobs to pay my rent that is $1300.00 per month and I cannot have one moment of peace in my home I am moving out of state in about 6 months and it would be pointless to get a new place at this point but I was told that she is going to take legal action against fo harassment and I would like to know what should I do about the situation. Thank you.

    Reply

  3. October 31, 2016 at 10:14 pm, Jeffrey journette said:

    I live at 205 Harrison Ave Nw in Roanoke VA and I am a victim of neighborhood bulliyng for over 10 years from the city of Roanoke VA which include ups the fire department police the railroad the postal service family and friends and I was fired without the tapes to prove my innocens it was he say she say on a train equipped with what was real say I got screwed without the tapes that was never heard to prove my Innocens

    Reply

  4. November 03, 2016 at 5:40 am, Holly said:

    My neighbors apt smells of cat urine and poop. Shes locked up all day in there or either gone for days. It is coming through my walls and my landlord has done nothing when I complain. I need help there is like 6 cats there all day.

    Reply

  5. November 11, 2016 at 11:03 am, Lewis Morris said:

    I have a neighbor that always play loud music and the music is with cause words… this is day and night… I've made several complaints to no avail. I want to file a legal complaint… I am a home owner he is a renter. I want to file against the home owner… their property is not being taken care of which brings my property value down… really really need help with this problem. 2676 w.Calle Vista Dr- Rialto CA 92377 is the property I am complaining about.

    Reply

  6. January 03, 2017 at 4:19 pm, Lisa Shanahan said:

    I have neighbors who are constantly slamming there door and making comments from inside like jerk and asshole plus they come home all loud and give the middle finger to my door as I have seen them through my peek hole

    Reply

  7. January 19, 2017 at 7:40 am, Perla Alvarez said:

    I been living in this building for 7yrs in 2014 i was assult n again a neighbor broke my my things n send people to intimidate me so I would move from my apt… I thought it would get better if I just stop speaking but now my neighbor from at 6b is making gun sign

    Reply

  8. March 23, 2019 at 1:00 pm, Norma R said:

    Several of my neighbors are engaged in housing Dogs used for blood sports "bait" It seems that the Dog Fighters have come up with a new way to keep the heat off of themselves by not having animals on their own property.Instead they use "Hosts" to to foster and transport the Animals to and from events and training sites. This makes it difficult for Law Enforcement because the Animals are constantly on the move.These neighbors will rotate the Animals from house to house. They even rotate their Vehicles among each other to create confusion. It seems to be working because Law Enforcement has simply given up and denies the existence of any illegal activity at all. I simply don't have that luxury because I live right in the middle of it all. How can I get Law enforcement to realize the overall danger that is growing by allowing this activity to continue without putting myself and Family in danger .

    Reply

  9. March 25, 2019 at 12:09 pm, Mary said:

    I have a neighbor upstairs who purposely stomps on floor and throws things it’s almost non stop. I have complained to owner. He has her convinced that I am lying. I recently started to record him. With dates and times. What can I do about it.

    Reply

  10. April 02, 2019 at 1:02 am, Trina said:

    Yes we were having problems with the neighbors down stairs who played loud music all day until 3 in the morning because he didn't like me. 311 was called, the police came. I've asked my neighbors upstairs to help me. Management was called. The Attorney Generals were called. I don't know what happened, but a week before Christmas the Loud music stopped. He plays it but not very loud. You can barely hear it that was a miracle. Before hand he started knocking on my door stating that were leaking water in his house. That wasn't true it was in the walls and managements responsibility. There name is HSC Management in Mount Vernon. You could never get them on the phone, they aren't polite, their only concern is to collect the rent or Maintenance. They will never help you with making repairs. As a owner you are responsible. If it's in the walls they are responsible. They must be reported to the higher organizations. They are slum Lords. But one tenant can't do that, everyone has to get involved in solving these problems. The Board Members are worser , they don't care what happens to these buildings either, just their own apartments. An investigation must be done to make sure that shareholders are treated properly. The management office and Board Members can't be trusted at all. Expecially, the seniors citizens, they are being ingnored by them and taken advantage of. My mother has her 6 children. We speak in her behalf but their are other's who live here that don't have advocates.

    On Thu, Jan 3, 2019, 10:59 AM Localize.City <[email protected]
    This complaint still exists. They have continued to become a nauisance. Now he bangs on my ceiling, when no one in my house makes nose. We can't eben walk in our bedrooms.

    Reply

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