I recently moved from a house to a condominium and I’m discovering it’s not as peaceful as I expected it to be. Some residents in my building allow their dogs to bark at all hours, have loud parties, and use the pool well after closing time. I know one condo owner who rented to ten people at once and another who regularly uses the common barbecue and refuses to clean it.
Any suggestions on how to handle these disrespectful neighbors? I’m new to this type of living arrangement and need some perspective.
Frustrated Condo Owner
Unfortunately, when many people live in close proximity, there are bound to be problems. Your circumstances sound more challenging than most. Although it may take a while to become acclimated to communal living, if the issues you describe are unrelenting and causing you distinct discomfort, here are some steps you can take to resolve them.
- Talk to the neighbor who is causing the problem. Before going to the board or taking some other kind of official action, have a one-on-one conversation. They may not realize that their actions are inappropriate and bothering you. Be informative and friendly rather than rude and attacking. Most people want to be at peace with their neighbors and, hopefully, you can resolve your issue with good communication.
- Overlook minor issues. If the annoyance lessens or only happens on rare occasions, the best course is to overlook the issue. Living with multiple neighbors requires some flexibility.
- Go to the association board. If talking to your neighbor, giving them a second chance, and being reasonably flexible doesn’t solve the problem, it is your right to file a formal complaint with your association board. Be sure you provide documentation, when necessary, and follow protocol. Check your owner’s manual.
- If the situation is illegal— like non-residents sneaking in and using the pool in the middle of the night—call the police. You certainly have the right to do so.
Also, you might want to talk with your friendlier, respectful neighbors and ask their opinion. Perhaps some of the situations you describe are already under board consideration or the offenders are temporary and will soon be moving out (for good, I hope).
Wishing you peace in your new location.
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