How to Deal with Difficult Neighbors Finding a Reasonable Solution

 As an attorney and an apartment dweller, Michelle Freudenberger had seen it all  and more when it comes to living with difficult residents.  

 “I lived next door to twin toddlers whose parents were both attorneys,” says Michelle, who in addition to being a real estate attorney is also a member  of the national Association of Real Estate Women. “They took turns sleeping late and brought the kids to the kitchen early. Every  morning, one child screeched at the crack of dawn.”  

 Wanting to keep peace, and understanding parenting challenges, she didn’t complain to the neighbors until one morning that was the last straw. She had  been suffering with a bout of the flu and finally fell asleep around 4 a.m.,  only to be awoken once again by a screaming child. “I was banging on the walls out of desperation, but the father screamed back ‘get used to living in an apartment!’” she says.  

 Can't We All Just Get Along?

 The reality is that while most co-op and condo buildings or HOAs will from time  to time deal with this situation: either a noisy neighbor, a chronic  complainer, or someone who habitually breaks house rules—Michelle and her other neighbors do not have to just ‘get used to it.’ Steps are typically outlined in the bylaws that residents, management and the  board can take to effectively solve problems regarding objectionable tenants  and turn a negative into a positive atmosphere.  

 Easier Said Than Done

 It’s human nature to complain but the top complaints from people living in close  quarters at a co-op or a condo most often include noise, smoking and cooking  smells, leaving belongings in shared hallways and vestibules, stealing laundry,  and leaving exterior doors unlocked or ajar. Leaving a bike or a pile of toys  outside your neighbor's door is a pretty clear-cut violation of their personal  space, but because the concepts of 'noise' and 'disruption' are so subjective,  dealing with them is somewhat trickier.  


Related Articles

How Can Boards Resolve Conflicts Without Litigating?

Methods for Avoiding Court

Dealing with Conflict - Managing Difficult Residents

Seminar - The Cooperator Expo New Jersey

Bad Neighbors

When Residents Stop Being Polite

Resolving Conflicts

...The Manager's Role

Handling Conflict Between Neighbors

How to Manage Amicably

Common Legal Disputes - and How to Handle Them

Defusing Conflicts, Avoiding Litigation



  • How do I deal with a perfectionist of a neighbor? He not only picks up every twig in his yard but takes it upon himself to throw everything on my yard that lands in his.