The Creeps Next Door: How to Handle Bad Neighbors


If you can keep your disagreements civil, there's a good chance the problem won't escalate.

Your home is supposed to be your sanctuary, but when annoying neighbors are being nosy, noisy or nasty, your abode can quickly feel uncomfortable. Don't lose sleep over the negativity next door--before you do something you might regret, check out these tips to help you cope.


  • Set an example: Although your initial reaction to an irritating neighbor may be to lash out, consider taking the high road instead. Your neighbor may be looking for attention, so if you ignore them or respond with kindness, that may diffuse the situation.
  • Confront the issue: Tell your neighbor what's bothering you, but approach them with civility. If you bang on the door and begin screaming, expect that they will return the hostility. Be direct and, if possible, propose a solution.
  • Document the problem: If an issue persists, such as harassment, jot down notes of time and place, and take photos if necessary. You may need this details if you choose to report them to your property manager or the police.
  • Report them: Reach out to your landlord or neighborhood association and tell them what's going on. Specify the disruptions and/or violations and reference the rules or laws in your region. Other residents may have had similar problems with your bad neighbors and can help you take action.
  • Know your rights: If your neighbor's actions are negatively affecting your quality of life, check with your local housing authority to see what kind of leverage you have. If your neighborly dispute involves code violations, the city might solve your problem for you.
  • Call the authorities: If you sense danger or illegal activity, or your neighbor's problems are affecting your well-being, it's time to get the police involved. Your neighbor will hopefully realize that you are taking this seriously and the problem will be on police record.
  • Moving on: Moving out is always an option, but it should remain very low on the list because you’ve done nothing to earn that burden. However, it may be less costly than taking legal action against your neighbor and you have to do what is best for you and your loved ones.