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. 

Problems With a Neighbor’s Tree – What Should You Do?

chionanthus-virginicus-52809-auTrees can be a beautiful feature on your property, but they can also cause legal problems for a homeowner. If the limbs of your tree hang over your neighbor’s property or block a view, your neighbor can pursue legal recourse. Likewise, if you have trees planted between your property and your neighbor’s property, and the roots grow into your neighbor’s sewer lines, you could be legally liable for the damages.

If you are experiencing neighborly issues because of a tree or other landscaping, read on to learn more about your options for conflict resolution.

Trees and Trespassing

According to the Illinois State Bar Association, a property owner is entitled to the undisrupted possession and enjoyment of their property and the ability to use it as they choose. This is, however, subject to the rights of others.   These rights extend to both underground and above ground property rights.

Trespassing, as pertaining to the above scenarios, includes interfering with a neighbor’s enjoyment of their property, whether physical damage occurs or not. Something as simple as allowing a tree to intrude across your neighbor’s property line could be technically classified as trespassing.

Solutions for Problem Trees

Illinois law allows a homeowner to cut off branches from a neighbor’s tree if the branches are trespassing across the legal property line. This is providing that they use reasonable care in removing the branches and do not trespass in the process of doing the trimming. It is recommended that the neighbor who wishes to trim the tree first give some notice to the tree owner to avoid conflict escalation.

If the trespassing tree causes property damage, or if the removal of trespassing branches will cost a considerable amount of money, a neighbor can take the responsible homeowner to court. For the purpose of getting a court order to resolve the problem, the offended party can even go so far as to sue the homeowner.

Jointly Owned Trees

If the tree in question is right on the property line and neither current homeowner is responsible for the original planting of the tree, then it is considered to be jointly owned. You do not have the right to cut it down without your neighbor’s permission, nor can he/she cut it down without yours. However, if the branches of the tree are hanging over your side of the property line and may pose a hazard, you do not need permission to remove the branches.

Be a Good Neighbor – Communication is Key

Preventing the problem in the first place may be the best solution for all parties involved. You should talk to your neighbors prior to planting trees or anything else near the boundary of your property. If your neighbor has done something to their property that can possibly cause problems in the future, you should first try to discuss the situation with them.

If a tree that is entirely on your property causes damage to your neighbor’s property, you will be liable. You have the duty to be responsible and take any necessary steps to prevent your tree from causing damage to your neighbor’s roof or any other part of their property.

If you are having issues with your neighbor regarding who owns a tree or any other property dispute, speak with an experienced real estate attorney that can help you sort it all out.

CONTACT Sherer Law Offices today for a legal consultation.