Dealing with one or more difficult neighbors is a common downside to living in the close proximity of a suburban or urban setting. While the temptation may be strong to ignore this type of problem, doing so can lead to tempers erupting, often resulting in lasting damage to the relationship or worse, acts of property damage or physical attacks. If you are currently in the midst of dealing with a difficult neighbor and want to find a way to deal with the problem in a proactive manner, the following tips can help. 

Expose the problem through honest discussion

Even though you find your situation to be extremely annoying, others may see it differently. For instance, a neighbor who annoys you with a certain action may never have considered that others find it offensive or maddening. In many cases, neighbors who willingly seek an honest, enlightening discussion can find a way to solve a problem quickly in a way that is satisfactory to both parties. 

Involve the HOA, if applicable

In situations where an honest discussion of the problem was impossible or simply ineffective, the next step may be to escalate the issue, if possible. If you live in a condo or housing development with a homeowners association (HOA), reporting the problematic behavior to the board may be helpful in alleviating it. If your home is not governed by an HOA, check with your city to see if they offer any type of mediation services that could be used to help you solve a problem with a neighbor. 

Consider taking legal action

While taking legal action is a serious step, it can be necessary when dealing with a neighbor who has previously refused to work with you to address the problem. One form of legal action is to file a small claims court case. This can usually be done by simply filing some simple forms with the court and paying a filing fee. 

If the problem is serious, hiring an attorney to file a civil suit or seek a legal solution may need to be considered. Most states have laws entitling tenants and homeowners to have quiet and peaceful enjoyment of their homes. Under these laws, you may be justified in seeking a legal course of action.

Getting along with your neighbors is an important part of creating lifelong friendships and building a strong local community. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. If you are involved in a dispute with your neighbor that is making you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, discussing the matter with an attorney will help you determine your legal rights and the best options for addressing the problem.