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How to be a Good Neighbor

Unless you are a millionaire living on your own island, you will always have to coexist with other people. That does not mean that you have to be buddies with everyone on your block or in your apartment building, but it does mean that you should learn some basic tips to get along with others-especially if you are new to the neighborhood or building. Do the following to be a good neighbor:

  • Be friendly to your neighbors. This can mean a quick "hello" as you pass one another in the hall or on the sidewalk, or a more formal introduction if the time seems right. Starting off on the right foot will help you to address future problems more easily and in a more comfortable manner.
  • Follow the written and unwritten rules. Whether you rent or own, there are rules about quiet hours, parking spaces, trash pickup, usage of recreation facilities and other issues that you need to be aware of and follow. If you rent or live in a condo, these issues will be detailed in your lease or related agreements. There are also rules and regulations that you will need to learn and follow as a homeowner. Many are standard quality of life rules that relate to noise, trash pickup or other issues. Others are unwritten in nature and involve common sense (e.g., not blocking your neighbor's driveway, trespassing in his yard) or can be learned by gradually getting to know your neighbors and hearing their pet peeves.
  • Be very attentive to noise issues. Try to restrict necessary but noisy activities (vacuuming, lawn mowing, leaf blowing, moving heavy furniture, etc.) to roughly between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Be aware that some rental agreements, condo associations and local communities have even more specific laws for the appropriate times for lawn care-especially on weekends and other issues.
  • Control your children. Be considerate of your neighbors by teaching your children to respect their privacy and property.
  • Control your pets. Follow the rules of your building or community regarding your pets. Keep your dog leashed if a leash law exists. Pick up any mess made by your pet. Be sure that your pets do not disturb your neighbors when you are at work or at other times that you are away from home.
  • Be considerate about parties. Always tell your neighbors ahead of time when you plan to have a party. On the day of the party, be sure to continue to follow the rules regarding noise, parking and other issues that may annoy your neighbors.