Living in harmony

Tips on how to live peacefully with your neighbour


Living in harmony


“Love thy neighbour” may be an ancient commandment, but in many cases, this can be something of a challenge. Just as good neighbours can significantly improve your day, bad neighbours will inevitably impact your happiness and stress levels. Fortunately, with our E&V guide to achieving a harmonious, neighbourly relationship, there’s no need to let difficulties with your neighbour rule your life.

Approach the situation calmly
However frustrated you feel, don’t desert your moral high ground. Take a deep breath before confronting any situation and try not to act rashly. Bringing issues up calmly and in a relaxed manner is the best way to start negotiations. It may be that your neighbour is not even aware of their behaviour and would be mortified to discover that their actions are affecting you.

Tackle problems face-to-face
If you’re concerned about raising an issue, try inviting your neighbour round for a cup of coffee, setting up a friendly meeting to air your grievances. If possible, it’s far better to work through difficulties in person, as this avoids any unnecessary misunderstandings or building resentment. You might find you have more in common than you expected. If you can understand and appreciate each other’s position, you should be able to help each other out.

Write it down
If you feel uncomfortable or concerned about talking to your neighbour in person, try putting your feelings down on paper. Keep your letter friendly and to the point, asking for a second opinion from a trusted friend before posting. Err on the side of caution, as statements that sound tactful in your head may be read in a very different tone by the recipient. Should the situation escalate, the paper trail documenting your efforts to mediate could well become invaluable, so you may also wish to keep a dated copy of your notes.

Keep everyone in the loop
If you’re renting, include your landlord in your efforts at diplomacy and keep them up to date with the situation. As the owner of the property they should be aware of any potential issues and will be able to support you more effectively if they already have a comprehensive overview. Homeowners should consider talking to other neighbours, especially if you suspect that they share your opinions. A group discussion with the offending neighbour may be your most effective option, particularly if you have already tried talking to them alone.

Try to be flexible
It’s not always easy to admit, but there’s a chance that you yourself are not the perfect neighbour. It’s possible that you, too, have frustrated your neighbours and may even continue to do so. Review the situation impartially and consider whether a compromise is possible. If you have very high standards, it may be unrealistic to expect your neighbours to live up to them.

Plan ahead
When moving into a new home, it’s wise to consider who your neighbours will be and how that will impact your residency. You may be able to pre-empt and subsequently avoid the issues that could arise from living near a busy restaurant or bar, refining your search to neighbourhoods that suit your lifestyle. With over 30 years’ experience of property brokerage worldwide, Engel & Völkers are ideally placed to help you. Visit us online to find out more.