How to get on with your neighbours
Having your own space is the ultimate luxury but, whether renting or buying, we don’t live in isolation: everybody needs good neighbours. Here are a few hints and tips it may be worth remembering to help live happily ever after.
Say hello! The proverbial, clichéd cup of sugar could in fact be the perfect ice-breaker. Often cited as a condition of modern life, it is now entirely possible to live next door to someone for months and never really know them. So make the effort to be friendly, a smile goes a long way and can be a great foundation – although it is never too late to start.
Being considerate will always help. Tell them if you are having a housewarming or perhaps just celebrating the end of the week. Even if you choose not to invite them, a note through their door may save an awkward late-night conversation. Likewise, let them know about renovations or building work, anything which will impinge upon them.
No one likes to admit it, but it’s worth acknowledging you too might upset your neighbours. Try as you might, it may be near impossible to quiet your teething child from screaming into the night. Be a little emphatic, in case you too need some sympathy one day.
Don’t judge too quickly. When the garden is a mess and the rubbish is piled high, it is irritating, but maybe there is a good reason. Circumstances from illness to bereavement, and everything in between, can stop us in our tracks and make cleaning a distant concern.
Think before you speak. When their cat likes to use your perfectly manicured grass as a lavatory, maybe they aren’t aware of how you feel? Perhaps they think you love their pet dearly and are happy to share your garden with them. Explaining how you feel is sometimes necessary, and the rule is to stay calm. This is a good example because it raises difficult questions: who is to blame? Are your protests reasonable? What can your neighbour really do? Using carefully considered words in a measured tone might just save you some strife.
Escalating the problem. Sometimes it is necessary to report incidents to landlords or authorities. Keeping a diary of what has happened will mean accuracy and detail, recording may benefit you in the long run, and you don’t need to use it if your issues are resolved.
Be prepared to seek advice. Sadly, friendly negotiations aren’t fool proof. There are mediation services available and the Citizens Advice Bureau would be a great starting point on how to escalate your concerns where necessary. At this point, being aware of your rights, boundary lines, tenancy agreement and so on would be very valuable.