Un-Neighborly Neighbors

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Being in an apartment we’ve seen neighbors come and go, some good, some not so good, but you just learn to deal with it.

A couple of new neighbors started out as “so-so” now are bordering on un-neighborly.   The new family moved in a couple of months ago; they seemed okay.  The issue started when they started parking their car in the driveway.  They have two cars, and everyone gets assigned two parking spaces, so it sounds like a no-brainer.  But one day, they parked their car in the driveway, directly blocking ours.  I knocked on their door to ask the husband nicely to please move his car that is blocking us.  He did so.   I did not think it would be an issue so I went about my day.  The following weekend, he did it again.  This time, we asked him to please move his car, and to please not block the driveway.  After all, it is against building rules.

Well, come to find out the following week that is exactly what these people did.  They started parking in the driveway every night from 7 pm to 7 am.   I went to the apartment manager to report the problem.  At first the manager was skeptical.  How do I know it’s their car?  I told him, I see him getting out of it every night, and leaving for work the next day.  We know who are our neighbors.  The manager said he will talk to them.

Two days later, the neighbors were still doing it.  Now it is a safety problem.  What if we had to leave for some emergency in the middle of the night?  We would not be able to get out without having to knock on their door.  It is also an operational security issue- we would not want anyone knowing when we are coming and going to our own home.  Their  behavior has become unacceptable.  This time, we took a picture of their car from a couple of angles, so there is no denying it’s theirs.  We emailed the photos, along with a strongly worded request for management to take action and let us know what their plan is and when it is done.  The very next morning I received a apologetic email from management saying they would take care of it.  The problem has not been repeated since.  Hopefully it stays that way.

Next time you have an issue with your neighbors:

  • First consider if the behavior is a problem or is it tolerable.  Occasional loud parties or kids stomping around do not bother us.  It’s part of living in an apartment.
  • Is it a safety issue?  If it is a safety issue that could put you in danger, then do not wait.   If you don’t mind asking nicely, do it.  Refrain from being accusatory, just ask courteously and see if that is enough to change their behavior.  Most of the time, it gets the job done.
  • If asking nicely does not work, or if you feel fast action is necessary, then you do not have a choice but inform management.  One example would be if the neighbor is causing a fire hazard which places everyone in danger.  In this case, report it immediately.
  • Provide proof of the offending behavior, such as photos, to get the attention and action that you need.


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  1. Good advice. We don’t live in an apartment or have management (though soon enough we’ll have a homeowner’s association). But we do have a neighbor, who has a 5-yr-old son that she doesn’t keep a good eye on. He has taken to (among other unacceptable behaviors) letting himself into our other neighbors’ back yard “to pet the dog.” Problem is, the dog isn’t fond of children. They’ve now locked the gate to their back yard so he can’t get in. But it makes me uncomfortable, knowing he runs around unsupervised. I imagine sometime in the near future, we’ll just have to confront his mother, and ask that she start keeping a better eye on him.

    1. I agree with you, seeing kids running around unsupervised would make me uncomfortable. If he is getting into something he shouldn’t, you may have to speak with his mother, won’t be fun, but it’ll be for his safety. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Very good advice.

    Our place is fairly quiet, and the only real trouble we see here is the occasional lazy-butt that takes up a carport (that belongs to someone else) during the day, when most folks are at work (I work close enough to home that I occasionally come home for lunch… haven’t had a problem personally yet, but have seen it occasionally).

    BTW – your mention of blocking access got me to thinking about something… scouting out an apartment that can help facilitate a bug-out situation if needed. For instance, I know that if things get ugly, our apartment is reasonably easy to get out of if it ever becomes necessary (multiple entry/exit roads, a fairly open multi-building layout, etc). Many complexes are pretty restrictive for that (e.g. a looped driveway with a single entry/exit point, gated communities, on a dead-end road, etc), and a single entry tower parking garage? Fuggedabboutit. 🙂

    May be a topic well worth exploring, and even planning for. For instance, you may not have a choice as to where you rent. OTOH, a bit of planning and familiarity with alternate exits from the tower or complex both on foot and by vehicle (e.g. check if you can feasibly go off-road though the dog-walk area, or knowing where the tower’s service entrance is located) can prevent even the best-planned bug-out from being ‘stalled at the gate’.

    For instance, even if you’re stuck living in a tower with a single entry/exit parking basement, renting a more amenable garage space very close by, or consistently having a parking spot on the street, may be way more helpful.)

  3. Man, that would’ve driven me nuts. Whenever I’ve lived near neighbors, I’ve always tried to be respectful of everyone’s property, rights, etc. Drives me crazy when people don’t return the same courtesy.

  4. Sounds like it’s time to start gifting your un-neighborly neighbors with some cookies, cupcakes or muffins. How about a gift basket with some coffee singles and a flavored spoon added in. If they ask why, say “Why not?” You have to break the ice somehow and help them realize that you are on their side, and not the enemy.

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