How to Deal With Nuisance Neighbors
The Extreme Weirdo
Leaves the sprinkler on for days at a time, swears at the soil, talks to himself, and hisses at cats. Even though you joke about your “psycho” neighbor, he makes you feel downright uneasy (incidentally, your cat feels the same way).
How to deal: Tread carefully. “You never know if someone is going to be rational or irrational,” says Lyn Sweeney, a retired police sergeant who worked in the Jacksonville, Florida, sheriff’s office for 30 years. If a neighbor seems volatile, it’s probably best to call ahead and pick a time to talk. And when initiating a conversation about a problem, make sure you stand on neutral ground, literally. You don’t want to appear to be the aggressor, and your presence in his doorway could be construed as threatening. Try meeting on the sidewalk or with each neighbor standing in his or her own yard. Finally, don’t try to reason with inebriated folks, says Sweeney: “You can’t argue with a drunk.”
The Racket Maker
Blasts music all night; weed-whacks at dawn.
How to deal: First make sure it’s not merely a once-in-a-lifetime event. If the person is hosting a wedding reception, for instance, it probably won’t happen again. If noise is a chronic problem, stop by or send a note. You can always find out whether other neighbors have the same problem and see what the noise ordinances are in your area. Relay this information, then offer a solution. If the noise continues, you may want to make an anonymous call to the police.