Ask Coco

Dealing with bad neighbors has never been more of a headache.

Dear Coco,

We have some very obnoxious neighbors. I am talking trash all over the yard, loud music coming from their vehicles, and belittling us to the other neighbors and their friends. We own our house, they are renters, so us moving is not going to be an option. We have called the police, contacted various agencies, etc. It helps for a while and then they are back to their old tricks. HELP!!!! What can we do?”

- Frustrated Neighbor

Dear Frustrated Neighbor,

I sure can relate. While our next door neighbors are amazing, we also live very close to a rental that is similar in every way… plus a dog that barks through the night. And, in a time when we’re all staying home more than ever, it can be pretty irritating!

These situations can be pretty hard to solve, and to be honest, I haven’t figured out entirely what to do about my own situation. The particular rental that is near our home tends to have the same issues regardless of the renter, which makes me think it has everything to do with the landlord and their vetting process as well as the price of rent.

In terms of strategies to help eliminate the issue, there are still a number of options you could explore. First, If you have never talked to the renters directly about the problem, now is the time. You may have only aggravated things by calling the police or other agencies rather than addressing the frustration directly in a polite, neighborly way. If, indeed, you haven’t talked to them directly, start with an apology for not being more direct with them in the past and invite them into a two-way conversation where concerns can be shared directly.

If that doesn’t work, and if you have the means, consider contacting the owner of the rental and make an offer on the property. If you were the landlord, you could have better control over screening renters and building in protections to your rental agreement. If property management doesn’t appeal to you, you can outsource the work to an agency.

If you don’t have the means to make an offer, consider contacting the owner of the property anyway and sharing some of your concerns and frustrations in a way that presents some solutions. Perhaps you could offer to bargain some yard work or maintenance for the property in exchange for some improvements to the rental agreement that would help to improve conditions for the neighborhood.

Remember that, in all things, you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar, so try to show excessive kindness to these difficult neighbors and perhaps they’ll come around. And, if they don’t, and it is significantly detracting from your overall happiness, it may be time to think about your next home.

Best of luck!



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Colleen Cook works full-time as the Director of Operations at Vinyl Marketing in Ashland, where she resides with her husband Mike and three young daughters. She's an insatiable extrovert who enjoys finding reasons to gather people.