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Top 5 Sources of Neighbor Disputes

By Andrew Lu | Last updated on

Your neighbors are a lot like your family. You can't choose them. As a result, you will often have to deal with legal issues relating to neighbor disputes.

Here are five common disputes you may have with a neighbor, with tips on how you can resolve the disputes legally, and civilly.

Neighbor Dispute No. 1: Boundary Disputes

If you want to put up a fence, but are unsure where your property ends and where your neighbor's begins, you will want to undergo a property survey. With a proper property survey, your neighbor will usually respect your fencing decisions. But for especially territorial neighbors, you may need to hire an attorney to request that a judge settle the boundary issues.

Neighbor Dispute No. 2: Trees and Views

Trees can block your views or drop rotten fruit/branches onto your property. Generally, you may trim overhanging branches that cross onto your property. However, you cannot go on your neighbor's property or destroy the whole tree. Try talking to your neighbor and explaining the issue. If that doesn't work, you may need to talk to an attorney to ensure that you don't take any action that could lead to you getting sued.

Neighbor Dispute No. 3: Water Damage

Generally, your neighbors are not responsible for damage caused by run-off from naturally occurring rain and land conditions. So if your prize winning roses are ruined during a spring downpour, you probably don't have any recourse.

Sometimes your neighbor has landscaped the land or altered the property in some way that causes more water to run onto your land than would naturally occur. In that case, you may have some recourse to damages.

Neighbor Dispute No. 4: Noise

In almost every community, there are laws and ordinances that prohibit excessive, unnecessary and unreasonable levels of noise. Most of the time, these laws are enforced by the police and ordinances that set aside certain periods of "quiet time"

You can resolve most noise complaints by simply talking to your neighbor. If you live in a planned community or condominium, you may also complain to the housing board or other authority. If this doesn't resolve the issue, contacting the police should be a last resort.

Neighbor Dispute No. 5: Light

It's almost November and your neighbors will soon be putting up their Christmas lights. Similar to noise, many towns and cities have light ordinances that govern when those flashy lights need to be turned off.

In most situations, a neighborly dispute can be resolved by simply talking with your neighbor. It's the rare case with a stubborn neighbor that you may need to enlist an attorney or even the police.

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