How to Handle Bad Neighbors

bad neighborsThere are a variety of ways people can be bad neighbors, so let’s look at some of the most common types of bad neighbors before we start talking about what to do about them.

Noisy neighbors: these are the ones who make a lot of noise that might disturb you when you’re at home, especially in the middle of the night. Whether they have young kids, noisy pets, or are prone to mowing their lawn at midnight, there are a variety of ways for them to make your home uncomfortable for you without being aware they’re doing it.

Irresponsible pet owners: these are the ones with dogs they don’t control. They may let their dog(s) bark a lot, run around off the leash, or they just don’t bother picking up after their dogs.

The property line fanatics: Most properties share some responsibilities – whether it’s bushes planted on the border between properties, or a tree on one property that has branches hanging over another property, there are always opportunities for neighbors to disagree about who is responsible for what.

The disorderlies: whether they’re drunk, selling drugs out of their house, and/or leaving trash and litter on and around their property, these people can be the worst neighbors – even to the point of being dangerous.

What to Do About It

If your neighbors are breaking the law, you do have the option of calling the cops or filing a complaint in court, but those should both be last resorts.

First, remember that kindness and manners can get you a long way. If your neighbor is doing something that’s bothering you, ask them nicely to stop. Don’t accuse them, just point out how what they’re doing is disruptive and offer solutions you can both work on together. If you have their phone number, call them ahead of time and schedule a time to talk, otherwise you can meet them on the property line or sidewalk (neutral territory) to discuss the issues.

If they don’t respond to common decency, then you can look up your local noise and disturbance ordinances and write them a personal letter. Keep a copy for yourself so you have a record of your correspondence (email will also work, because then there’s a record of when you sent the correspondence).

If your home is part of a homeowner’s association or you live in a condominium, you can ask your homeowner’s/condominium association to send your neighbor a standard letter citing the ordinance or by-law. Many of these associations also have their own rules inhabitants are required to live by, so even if your neighbors aren’t breaking the law, they might be in violation of the building’s rules, in which case you can get assistance from your condo association in getting your neighbors to cooperate.

If you’re still unsuccessful, then you can call your local precinct. Be sure to maintain your own record of your complaint.

Your local police precinct can also help you find a professional mediator who can help you and your neighbor reach a mutually agreeable solution.

The attorneys at Sherer Law Offices have been providing legal representation for real estate cases, civil cases, as well as all types of family law for more than 20 years. Our experienced divorce attorneys will take the time to really listen to your unique situation so that they can plan strategies that can best protect your best interests. 

Do I Need a Financial Power of Attorney?

670px-Write-a-Medical-Power-of-Attorney-Step-4If you have income or property, a Financial Power of Attorney can be an essential tool for you. It is especially important if you are ill and are worried that your illness may hinder you from handling your own financial affairs.

Why Should I Sign a Financial Power of Attorney?

Signing a Financial Power of Attorney will assign someone you trust to handle your finances should you become unable to do so. They will be able to pay your bills and do any banking that is required, and handle insurance benefits and paperwork for you.

Will It Help to Avoid Conservatorship or Guardianship Hearings?

If you have a Financial Power of Attorney in place, your loved ones will not have to go to court to be able to take over your financial matters. These proceedings can be very expensive and can also become public record that may be published in the newspaper. Relatives often fight over who should take control of your finances. To avoid the embarrassment and ugly public fighting, not to mention the expense, you will want to have a Financial Power of Attorney in place well in advance.

Do You Fear a Family Fight?

Once you finalize your appointment for your Financial Power of Attorney, anyone choosing to challenge it will be fighting a battle they will not likely win. If you suspect that your family might challenge your decision, a guardianship or conservatorship might be an option to consider.

If you do not have someone you trust well enough to appoint as your agent for a Financial Power of Attorney, a guardianship or conservatorship, with added court supervision, could be set up as an alternative. This is something that should be discussed with a trusted legal advisor.

What if I am Married?

If you are married, you might not think that you need a Financial Power of Attorney, but this is not the case. Your spouse has some authority, but it is limited. For example, if you have property that is in both of your names, then you both must agree to a sale. This includes cars and property. A Financial Power of Attorney will give your spouse permission to sell joint property if necessary. If there is no p Financial Power of Attorney, your spouse won’t be able to do anything without first going to court. This is also true if the property in question is in your name only.

What About a Living Trust?

A living trust can be helpful if you become unable to take care of your financial matters, but it is not a substitute for a Financial Power of Attorney. The trustee that will allocate the trust property after your death also has the authority, in most cases, to take over managing the trust property if you become ill.

However, the trustee does not have authority over any property that is not held in the trust. Not many people put all of their property in a living trust, such as real estate or securities. They usually only put things in a living trust that would be expensive in the probate process.

A Financial Power of Attorney is a legally powerful document. For more information on setting up a Financial Power of Attorney or if you would like to know more about your options, CONTACT Sherer Law Offices for a consultation.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements. See additional disclaimers here.