How to Get Rid of Bad Neighbors Legally: What You Need to Know

Dealing with lousy neighbors can be a real pain. Whether they are always loud or have a bad attitude in general, it can make your life quite difficult. The key to dealing with such behaviors is to react quickly and decisively.

Luckily, most people can be reasoned with, as they understand that we must all coexist in some type of harmony. And for those that don’t, there are still some tricks you can try. We’ll cover them all below, so read on!

What Exactly Makes One a Bad Neighbor?

Generally speaking, people describe someone as a bad neighbor if they are loud, rude and disrespectful of others, or untrustworthy. So, if a neighbor continuously disrupts the community’s peace with in any way, they can be considered bad.

Matters get even worse when people aren’t willing to actually change their behavior. Unfortunately, many neighborhoods are brimming with people that fit this description in more ways than one.

So, what should you do if you have this type of neighbor? Let’s dive in.

Try Reasoning With Them First

Before concocting a full-on revenge plot, you should try talking with your problematic neighbor first. After all, it is in everyone’s best interest to resolve the matter as quickly and quietly as possible. That way, you can all go back to your lives and focus your energy on something worthwhile.

So, approach your neighbor in a friendly way and try telling them what’s bothering you. As you do, remember to be nice but firm, especially if the neighbor is known for having a bad attitude. By doing so, you will show that you mean business but still want to resolve things peacefully.

If you dislike in-person confrontations, you can also try writing an email or a letter. A phone call can work just as well, as can messaging over social media. As long as you can get in touch with them and explain what bothers you, everything is fair game.

If the problem is noisiness, ask them to tone it down and explain how it’s affecting you negatively. And if it’s more about their disrespectful attitude, try to make them see how it all looks from your point of view. This trick can work wonders, as many people forget to ask themselves how their behavior is affecting those around them.

While you should not threaten them outright, it is also important to mention that you will take legal action if the situation doesn’t improve. If being nice doesn’t get you anywhere, that actually might.

Pro Tip

In case you live in an apartment building or a crowded street, it is also a good idea to get your other neighbors involved. The strength in numbers will most likely be of help and make the neighbor realize they’re in the minority.

Of course, if all fails, the only thing left to do is try and get the neighbor to change their ways (or leave) in a different way. Here’s what you can do while still staying on the right side of the law.

Get the Police Involved

If your neighbors are making a lot of noise and your intervention didn’t make them stop, your next step is filing a complaint. Just note that if you do call the police, you have to provide proof that your neighbors are actually breaking your local noise ordinances.

To that end, it’s smart to record the noise as it occurs using your phone. While an audio recording is a good option, you can also get video proof, as it is usually more damning in cases like these.

Also, before calling the police, check which number you should use. Namely, most precincts take noise disturbance calls through a non-emergency line. So, do not call 911 right away, as you will just waste time with redirections.

In most cases, you will be able to make an anonymous complaint. So your neighbor won’t know that you are behind it, ensuring a higher degree of safety for you and your household.

Generally, getting the police involved is enough to dissuade any noisiness and bad behavior. But if it doesn’t stop or matters get worse, you can consider filing an official court complaint.

File a Court Complaint

While contacting the police is a good idea, there isn’t much they can do if the problem persists. Even if they warn your neighbor or even take them to the precinct for a conversation, it will likely result in a quick release.

However, what you can do is file an official court complaint. If you win it, there will definitely be consequences for your neighbor’s actions.

But before you even consider going to court, it’s essential to ensure your case actually has grounds to stand on. In other words, you should ask advice from a lawyer to see if you can win and bring about a change.

If you can’t, the court proceedings will just be a waste of time and money. Plus, if your neighbor wins, you’ll likely make the situation even worse than it was beforehand.

Still, if your lawyer is positive you have a solid case and can see it through, go for it. You can get compensation and make your neighbor either stop or move, depending on the severity of the punishment.

Draft a Petition

As already mentioned, your chances of getting rid of a bad neighbor increase if you’re not going at it alone. So, you and your neighbors can get together and draft a petition.

Now, this petition truly has to be rock solid. Getting someone to move out of their home is quite difficult, so your reasoning has to be clear and backed with specific evidence.

For example, occasional noise or a rude attitude likely won’t lead to an eviction. In other words, the neighbor has to actually be dangerous or a criminal for the consequences to be that dire.

So, if you have foolproof evidence of several wrongdoings and you’re concerned for your community, a petition can work. Once you gather everything and get your neighbors’ signatures, it’s action time.

If you live in a building, you can either contact the landlord directly or bring up the matter at the next tenants’ meeting. And if you are a part of a homeowner’s association (HOA), you should take it up with them.

In any case, if your evidence is solid and you have all your other neighbors backing you, the process should go smoothly.

Fight Fire With Fire

If you want to be extra petty, giving your neighbor a taste of their own medicine is the way to go. In other words, you should imitate their own behavior and see how they react.

For example, if they throw ragers in the middle of the night, they will likely sleep early in the morning. That gives you the perfect excuse to crank up your lawn mower at 7 am and work on your yard. Alternatively, you can try to figure out when they take naps and play loud music right around that time.

In case rudeness and disrespect for private property are an issue, the key is to be openly hostile yourself. Now, you are the only one who should decide how far you’re willing to go. So, think of your own boundaries and then come up with an attack plan.

You can do anything from signing the neighbor up for junk mail to bouncing a tennis ball against your shared wall. Just think of what has inconvenienced you the most and throw it right back at them. By doing so, you might make them realize how they’ve done the same to you.

However, if you decide to take this petty route, note that you could get in trouble as well. Namely, what’s stopping your other neighbors from reporting you for noise or pranks?

So, if you do take matters into your own hands, make sure you know there could be consequences. To avoid them, you can pick activities that will annoy your problematic neighbor without disturbing anyone else. Essentially, try to play out your revenge during the day when no one is asleep, and noise is more acceptable.

Better yet, get your other neighbors to join in. That way, you can show that you are not to be messed with. Plus, no one will report anyone because you’ll actually all be in it together.

Some Final Thoughts

Bad neighbors can easily make your life a living hell, but there’s no reason to take their disrespect lying down. Instead, you should fight back and show them that you will not tolerate their behavior.

Your first move should be to talk things through and find a compromise. But if that fails, there are several other options you can try. From calling the police to filing a lawsuit, everything is on the table.

And if you just want some payback, it is just as acceptable to be petty and get some revenge. Just be careful not to take it so far that you get in trouble, and you’ll be good to go.

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