Condo Living: Four Ways in Dealing with Difficult Neighbors

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“A bad neighbor is a misfortune, as much as a good one is a great blessing.” -Hesiod

“Be patient with a bad neighbor: he may move or face misfortune.” -Egyptian Proverb
“Better a bad harvest than a bad neighbor” -Croatian Proverb

You have recently settled in your new condo in the Solstice and everything seems fine and dandy—that is until you hear the persistent loud voices and errant noises from your neighbor down the hall almost every single night. Now, it seems like your dream condo unit is something straight out of a nightmare where you have to struggle every night to get some sleep. The truth is, no matter where you live or how swanky and luxurious your neighborhood may be, you cannot always choose your neighbors. A good condo unit might be a good investment initially, but a bad neighbor can easily decrease its market value.

Many of us may have had an experience with a bad neighbor at one point in our lives. In fact, so many proverbs would illustrate what living with a bad neighbor would be like as seen from above. So, if you feel like you and your neighbor would not see eye to eye, here are a few tips on how to handle it.

1.) The Noise is Driving You Nuts

Noise at ungodly hours would be irksome for just about anyone and it would be no surprise that this would be the chief complaint of condo owners who have a noisy neighbor. It can be a range of things from the loud stereo player, a crying baby or just generally loud footsteps—but before losing your head over this, try to assess the situation first. Maybe the noise is due to a special occasion—if this is the case, let it slide unless it gets unreasonably late. If you need to address it, deal with it nicely. If that does not work, bring it up to your homeowner’s association.

2.) The stench of cigarettes seeps into your unit

Some condominiums are pretty lax when it comes to their smoking rules. However, every unit owner should consider that the hallway is not an extension of any unit which means, it would be common courtesy not to smoke in the hallway. Neighbors who would usually take a puff near your door can be particularly annoying as smoke leaves a lasting smell and may enter your unit. Be polite in approaching them and ask them if they could smoke elsewhere. However, if this fails to work, check your condo rules as regards smoking and let this serve as a basis for dealing with a smoking neighbor.

3.) You are an alternative to the Supermarket

Neighbors who naturally swing by to ask for a cup of sugar or borrow some tools can be a good catalyst for fostering good relations. However, when this becomes a habitual practice, then you could not help but feel annoyed that your neighbor is mooching off of you. The only way to go about this is to politely but firmly declining—a good way to phrase it would be. “I am sorry but I am almost out myself.” or “Sorry, I do not have any extra left”. This will discourage your neighbors from further mooching while maintaining their friendly ties with you.

4.) The constant gossiper

Some neighbors have a nasty habit of prying into their neighbors’ private lives and making it the central topic of their lunches with the other neighbors. This can be especially grating if the gossip shared is unfounded and mostly untrue. Though it might be a bit hard to do, the best tack is to ignore your neighbors when they are gossiping in the same vein that you should ignore them when they invite you to join their discussion. Your other neighbors may have misconceptions or opinions about you, but let it be. Do not indulge them by getting offended or calling them out.

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