From time to time, you’ll surely encounter apartment neighbors that you simply don’t get along with. Before making a sure decision, try to get to know them! But if that doesn’t work out, you’ll need to deal with them maturely and responsibly for your own sanity and to ensure your landlord wants to extend your lease at the end of your term. If your landlord hears of trouble, they may be less inclined to renew with you, leaving you in a bind to find a new place at the end of your lease! Here are my top tips for being a good neighbor to bad ones:
This is the MOST important piece of advice. If at all possible, just ignore them and don’t engage wherever possible. This works best for small annoyances (music during quiet hours, occasional disturbances or trash outside, etc.) but is also the most drama-free option. Oftentimes small frustrations can build up over time, making it hard to ignore. If that’s the case, try to remind yourself that it’s really a small thing, or no big deal, and cool off.
Bring it up!
If you know your neighbors, try opening the line of communication with them, gently. Again, this depends on the situation, but try to help them understand your point of view. If you have to wake up early for work or are hosting company or just look forward to peace and quiet at the end of a long day, let them know and offer solutions! Make sure to be calm during the conversation and try not to make them uncomfortable or like they need to be defensive. If you don’t know your neighbors well, try introducing yourself in passing and point out that you live next-door. The bad neighbor may not have realized there was a tenant next to/under them and the bad behavior may stop immediately after they find out.
If neither work, try reporting the situation to your landlord. Again, calm is the key here! Try to reserve this for major situations (leaving garbage outside, hosting loud parties late into the night, buzzing strangers into the building, and/or other serious matters of safety) and frame the conversation so your landlord understands how their property is being affected, more than how you personally are. Remember, both you and the bad neighbor are the landlord’s tenants, so they will likely want to treat you fairly. Bring concerns to management with a calm message of concern about the property itself (which the landlord should care most about) and the specific behavior that has led to your concern. This isn’t a tattling session!
In any case, rationality is key. Make sure you leave your neighbors and your landlord (if you get there) with a positive impression. And, hang in there! You always have the option to move out when your lease is up.
Please leave any other tips that have worked for you in the comments!
P.S. Take this quiz to make sure you are not also a bad neighbor before you start pointing a finger!