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How to Handle a Dispute With Your Neighbour

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Your home is your haven, unless of course, you don’t get along with the people next door. While tension between neighbours is rare, there are steps you can take to dampen the flames of conflict and maintain harmony.  

Speaking with your neighbour face-to-face is always the best way of handling conflict, and the following are tips to help you maintain the peace.  

First, qualify the issue

Just because something bothers you, doesn’t mean they are doing something ‘wrong’. We all have our own way of doing things and while your neighbour’s behaviour may bother you, it doesn’t mean you are justified in bringing it up.  

Start by speaking with friends about the issue to determine if it is worthy of discussion, and also research the rules in your state or local government. Many apartment buildings and townhouse complexes also have strict guidelines all tenants must follow to maintain harmony, so take note of any official laws or guidelines they are breaking.  

Address the problem

Be neighbourly and bring up the issue with them directly, as many people are not even aware of their own quirks and the effects they have on others. If confronting the other party feels too intimidating you can always send a letter explaining your issue, how it affects you, and what you would like to happen going forward.  

This gives you time to consider your words, as well as the recipient the space to process your complaints without feeling put on the spot.  

Whether you choose to send a letter or address them face-to-face, always follow up in the near future and allow them to have a voice on the issue.  

Seek resolution

Once you have brought up the problem and allowed your neighbour to have their say, try to seek resolution – and remember you may need to compromise.  

It is important for you to clearly communicate your ideal outcome in the situation, while still keeping things calm and polite. If you do feel tensions rising, suggest taking a break and discussing again in the near future.  

Take it further

If you can’t find resolution, or if the situation escalates, it is best to take the issue to a third party. Each State Government offers a Dispute Resolution Centre to help mediate discussions and seek a solution that works for both parties.  

It is best to have kept a record of the offending behaviour, as well as the attempts for resolving the issue for you to refer to during discussions.  

Finally 

It can be tempting to take your complaints to other neighbours first, or to retaliate in equal measures somehow, however this could make the issue worse and more difficult to resolve.  

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