Problematic Residents Coping With Disruptive Neighbors

Home is the place where you come to escape all the sounds, smells and people that you may encounter outside of your own closed doors. Home is a refuge—at least until that day when you can’t escape the sound of a dog barking next door, the noxious smell of cigarette smoke seeps under the crack of your door, or when not-so-quiet toddlers are heard through your paper-thin walls. That’s when co-op or condo living becomes tedious, and when your neighbors can feel more like adversaries. 

The vast majority of co-op and condo residents are decent folks who wouldn’t dream of disrupting life in their buildings by being verbally abusive to neighbors, by blowing up board members’ phones and email inboxes with endless complaints and threats, or by filing lawsuits at the drop of a hat for every slight (real or perceived) that they suffer.

Unfortunately, there are shareholders and unit owners who seem to thrive on these very things and they can make life miserable for neighbors, board members and managers alike. But, never fear, there are ways to deal with them effectively, and civilly.

Bad Apples

According to Alex Kuffel, president of Manhattan-based Pride Property Management Corp., which provides building management services for co-op and condo buildings throughout the New York metropolitan area, there are two classic disruptive 'types' he and his colleagues tend to see in the building communities they manage. 

“There are those who innocently break the rules due to their lifestyle without knowing they're disturbing their neighbors,” he says. “And there are those blatant, arrogant types who have no regard for their neighbors.” 

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