Neighborly disputes are not common, but when they do occur, they can escalate quickly. When they do escalate, you may want to know what you should do. Should you contact the neighbors yourself? Send a cease and desist letter? Call the police? Unfortunately, unless your neighbor is doing something illegal, taking legal action of any kind is not possible. That said, you should refrain from taking matters into your own hands as well, unless you can remain calm and civil in your encounter. That said, if your neighbor is doing something illegal, or encroaches on your property at all, you may be able to seek remedies via law enforcement or even your local court.
Common Causes of Neighborly Disputes and How to Resolve Them
Before you decide how to act on your irritation, you should first consider the cause of your problems and determine whether or not they are worth calling the police or a lawyer over. Some common causes of neighborly disputes in Alabama are as follows:
- Noise: According to one survey, 48 percent of all neighborly disputes are triggered by excessive noise. Excessive noise can disrupt persons’ sleep schedules, wake children, interfere with one’s concentration, or simply be a nuisance after a while. Unless city ordinances are in place to limit excessive noise during certain hours, there is not much you can do about your neighbor’s behavior.
- Pets and Animals: The second most common cause of neighborly disputes is pets and animals. According to the survey, 29 percent of individuals claim that their neighbors’ pets cause them more problems than the neighbors themselves. That said, many animal complaints come from the fact that the owners did not properly train their pets. If your neighbor’s pets bother you, check your local laws regarding the number of animals allowed per household, types of animals allowed in the home, leash requirements, length of time and frequency of dog barking allowed, and requirements to clean up after pets. If you cannot find any ordinances that can help you, you may want to file a nuisance lawsuit.
- Children: Children who are allowed to run around on a neighbor’s property, be excessively noisy, or deface a neighbor’s property can become a nuisance. However, like with pets, children who act out in such ways often have little supervision. That said, in Alabama, parents are liable for any damages caused by their children.
- Visual Nuisances: 18 percent of neighborly disputes are the result of visual nuisances, such as trash on the property, unkempt lawns, offensive signs, or other unsightly fixtures. Whether or not a person must clean up his or her yard or remove the offensive sign depends on city ordinances as well HOA rules (if applicable).
- Property Boundaries: 17 percent of neighborly disputes stem from property boundaries. Oftentimes, individuals encroach on their neighbors’ properties not out of spite, but because they have misconceptions about where their property begins and ends. Property boundary disputes may be easily resolved by checking the deeds of each property. Individuals can also resolve boundary disputes by checking the assessor’s website, visiting the county recorder’s office, assessing land surveys, or hiring a surveyor to conduct a survey.
Contact a Alabama Real Estate Attorney
If you have an issue with your neighbor, the first thing you should do is discuss the problem with him or her. However, if your efforts prove to be fruitless, it may be worth your while to at least consult with a Birmingham real estate lawyer regarding possible options. A knowledgeable attorney will be honest and upfront about your options and advise you on what you can do to make peace with your neighbor. Contact Cloud Willis & Ellis today to learn more.