Bad Neighbors

Real Estate Agent with Remax First Realty II 0790808

Messy yard next door?


Loud parties at the neighbor's?



Smelly garbage coming from next door?



Ferocious snarling dogs?




Turns out that 60% of Americans have a complaint about someone they live near. Bad neighbors can make your life difficult, but that's not all. Money Magazine reports that a bad neighbor can actually reduce your home's value by up to 5%.

So what's a neighbor to do?

You could move somewhere where you won't have any neighbors.



Or you could learn to live with them.

  • Experts say that stomping next door when you're angry won't solve anything. It's far better to invite the neighbor over to your house, maybe for coffee. This offers two advantages - first, the neighbor will see, from your perspective, what you're complaining about. Secondly, your neighbor will know that your goal isn't to punish your neighbor but to seek a way to live peacefully.
  • You should also be aware of any local or State laws that your neighbor is violating. Instead of complaining about the rusted out chassis of a 1945 Ford on the front lawn, you want to know if it's actually unlawful. Instead of whining about the loud dogs, it pays to know the neighborhood statutes on quiet hours.
  • When you state your case, be sure that your neighbor knows that your goal is to find a solution. If they have dangerous branches hanging over your yard, perhaps you can recommend a landscaper. 
  • Worse case scenario - if you and your neighbor can't reach an accord, you might suggest mediation. This may cost $100 or so, but you're more likely to reach a solution than if you hired a lawyer.




How have you solved your bad neighbor problems?





Posted by




~ Wayne & Jean 

Union County, NJ - a great place to live and work!

If you're looking to buy or sell a property in Union County, call us at 908-917-4189 or email


facebook  Pinterest  LinkedIn  Read Our Blog!

All opinions, information and data provided is deemed reliable but is subject to errors and omissions. Not intended to solicit other Brokers' clients. We cooperate with them fully. 

Comments (105)

Sylvia Jonathan
Coldwell Banker Platinum Properties - Irvine, CA
Broker Associate, SFR

We have been lucky so far, but I know that derelict neighboring properties have an impact on the selling price as well as the days on market. Sellers should start the conversation with the problem neighbor before they list the home.

Aug 14, 2013 03:06 AM
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Most homes in that category are from tenants and not homeowners, regardless, the best solution is to contact the city enforcement code department and report any issues as "safety and health" concerns.

Every homeowner has a stake in maintaining their neighborhood as a desirable place to live and a 5% reduction in selling price could be as much as $25k or even more. So, is it too much trouble to make that phone call and file a report?

Aug 14, 2013 03:47 AM
Marina Gavrylyuk
Sutton Group Summit - Mississauga, ON
Homes & Condos for Sale in Mississauga and Toronto

Great post! Love the part, that you actually need to learn some by-laws before making a complaint to the local authorities or even approaching your neighbor. I am actually a lucky owner of a big ferocious dog, you know, cocker-spaniels, they are all like that :)

Aug 14, 2013 03:49 AM
Paddy Deighan MBA JD PhD - Vail, CO
Paddy Deighan J.D. Ph.D

I am not surprised by this first I was surprised but after I thought about it, everyone today is so particular as lot sizes shrink...if average lot sizes were half an acre or more, there would probably be fewer complaints


Aug 14, 2013 04:11 AM
Theresa Akin

We had neighbors who lived cat-a-corner from us and their kids were always out front hanging on the curb and many neighbors were complaining. Some of the neighbors were complaining to me about them and all I said was I was more concerned about the way some people were always running the stop sign and someone was going to get hurt. I saw one day when the very same neighbor came home and discovered her dog got out of the yard. While we were talking, I saw over her shoulder "Spike" (neighbors nicknamed him because of his hair) come walking up behind her. He was carrying her dog. This was like 10 minutes after she got home.  Little Kirby was very happy to see his "Mama".  Kirby almost got hit by a car and "Spike and his friends rescued and took care of Kirby til Mama got home, about 5 hours. She decided the kids weren't so bad and suggested to them not to sit on the curb.  It was arental property and they moved after a year and never really gave us a problem. The next tenants were gone after 5 months because of a shoot out/drive by. We got together and contacted the owner/landlord and told him to get rid of them. They were a bad set of "Section 8' tenants. I say that because I have met with some Section 8s who cared an were trying to get out of that hole. Eventually the house sold in "06" and just sold again. So far good people.

Rick #71 The problem is that dog may have become "only your best friend" and no one else's.

Michael #76, Unfortunately, there are many "piggies" with college degrees and high income that are among the many bad neighbors. I've dealt with these kinds of people before and talk about a mess. Found out where the smell was coming from, inside the house, they were PIGS. not hoarders. Just down right lazy.

Aug 14, 2013 04:45 AM
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

Oh yes we all have had these types of problems in our history. So frustrating! 

Aug 14, 2013 06:45 AM
Marti Steele Kilby, CRS
Steele Group Realty - La Mesa, CA
Broker/Owner, San Diego, CA

Loved the pics! LOL!  We currently have an issue with a dog who barks incessantly that lives on the other side of the canyon...just haven't been able to pinpoint who he/she belongs to.

Aug 14, 2013 06:54 AM
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Great post!  I would agree that neighbors can be a problem.  I had a buyer come through an open house once and claim that she would not buy a house if the houses on either side had a dog.  When I replied that just because there is not a dog at the time that you purchase a home, that doesn't mean the neighbor could not be thinking of getting a dog in the near future or perhaps sell their home to someone who has two dogs a few months from now.  She didn't much like my answer.  :)

Aug 14, 2013 07:59 AM
Peter Preston-Thomas
Real Ottawa - Kanata, ON

I'm with Derrik (#85).  While I certainly wouldn't choose to have the neighbours described, I've had far more issues with what I like to term the self-appointed "Mayor of the Neighbourhood."  The last place I lived had a private drive and our Mayor pretended to be very pleasant while being extremely condescending and setting all sorts of rules for the neighbourhood.  It was a gorgeous rural setting but I often thought of leaving solely because of our self-appointed Mayor.


That said, nobody wants loud or messy neighbours, but I'd really rather have that than my former Mayor.  To put it in perspective, anyone who ever visited me more than 3 or 4 times had had an encounter with her (have to drive by her place on our private drive to get to mine) and been told the neighbourhood rules.  My home was on 29 acres and I moved there in part because I'd rather not deal with neighbours.  Maybe 150 acres for my next home - fronting onto a highway!

Aug 14, 2013 10:32 AM
Jane Chaulklin-Schott
TEAMCONNECT REALTY - (407) 394-9766 - Orlando, FL
TeamConnect Luxury Homes - Orlando, Florida, 32836
Been fortunate to have lived next to great neighbors for years. Seems each tries to have 'nicest yard of the week. This pride in home seems to extend to thoughtfulness for others. However. I was shocked and cannot get the vision of one yard saw. While visiting friends in a southern state, a yard across the street had a FRONT YARD filled with broken down JUNK. Besides rusty old cars, they also had a large children's slide - broke and unuseable, laying on its side. Looked like Hoarder's Hell. Unbelievable!
Aug 14, 2013 04:33 PM
Steven Murray, Broker, SRES® IRES SRS Toronto Real Estate Board
Right At Home Realty Inc. Brokerage - Oshawa, ON
Your Durham Region Real Estate Broker

It's to bad there is not really much you can do about it other than hope they move but that probably won't happen. This is why it is so important to research well a place you are considering moving to. 

Aug 14, 2013 08:11 PM
Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Broker/Owner
Travis Realty - Enterprise, AL
email: / cell: 334-494-7846

Lost a sale due to this type of neighbor. Old school-bus full of stuff in the yard was a major red-flag. Checked with other neighbors - MAJOR issues!!!

Aug 15, 2013 12:13 AM
Thomas McCombs
Century 21 HomeStar - Akron, OH

Neighbors definitely can have a great effect on the saleability of a home.

Good neighbors today can become bad neighbors tomorrow, and vice versa. This is one of the hazards of home ownership as it is harder to move out of an home you own than it is to move out of a home you only rent.

I do not see any way to protect yourself completely from this risk.

Aug 15, 2013 12:54 AM
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
MC Dwyer-Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

You definitely got us commenting on this topic! - Good one!

Our area attracts many unique individuals, so we typically have different types of people and homes of vastly different values on the same street.      Because our valley is a collection of small towns in the mountains, most people are relaxed and nice to each other.    You just never know when you're going to need to borrow your neighbor's chain saw :)

Recently someone wanted to list their home for sale and was nervous about the neighbor down the block who was a "collector."   That's my euphamism for people who buy more stuff than can fit in their house.     Kind of like the wealthy West Virginians in #79.     Anyway, the seller approached the neighbor and offered them a few hundred dollars to help with front yard clean up.    The neighbor was a little embarrassed, and cleaned it up right away.    Wish all our real estate / neighbor stories had this happy outcome!

Aug 16, 2013 05:23 AM
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Great photos Wayne and Jean.  Some of them made us laugh but definately made their point!

Aug 17, 2013 03:17 AM
Valerie Crowell
Keller Williams - Walnut Creek, CA
Broker Associate

I'm probably the bad neighbor.  I rescue dogs and sometimes it gets noisy here.  I work very hard a keeping it down to a low roar but....Sometimes it's me.  

I always check with my neighbors to make sure the dogs aren't disturbing them.  I have a new neighbor who is an insomniac.  Things had been going swimmingly until this new dog got here.  He's just got a lot to say.  And I get up at 4:30am every day.  Her husband came over about two months ago and asked if I could keep him quiet until 7am.  He's such a pain I didn't even notice he was waking her up.  I apologized profusely, thanked him for letting me know and have kept them all in until 7:30am every day since.  That's how a bad neighbor acts like a good one!

Aug 19, 2013 11:13 PM
Gerard Gilbers
Higher Authority Markeing - Asheboro, NC
Your Marketing Master

We have been lucky so far to have had decent neighbors. We did have one neighbor that was vindictive and called on the slightest things and to harrass people, they moved!

Aug 23, 2013 02:20 AM
George G. Kasabian
Century 21 Masters - Pasadena, CA
Realtor, Pasadena

Yup, we all have a neighbors either we love or can't agree with.  My neighbor was complaining that he can't sleep cause bird made a nest on my house.  Told him are you kidding???

Aug 24, 2013 03:36 AM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, EXP - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Great advice Wayne and Jean, this seems to be such a growing problem as we become more isolated from the people around us.

Especially like the idea of inviting them over for coffee so that they can see your perspective and learn to treat each other better.

I would however never call the authorities, this will only serve to destroy all hope of future harmony.

Aug 25, 2013 09:16 AM
Des & Spiro Kouridakis
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices CA Properties - Yorba Linda, CA
- North Orange County Experts

I love your pictures   The first one with the junk in the yard is one that I see so often.  Would hate to look at that everyday :(

Oct 22, 2013 02:59 PM