14 Awful Ways Bad Neighbors Can Ruin Your Home

What happens when you don’t see eye to eye with someone who lives nearby?
Updated April 11, 2024
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 curious neighbor stands behind a fence and watches with binoculars

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Before you move to a new home, you may want to think about different issues that could arise with your neighbors and how you can resolve them. 

It can be difficult to simply move if you don’t like your neighbor, especially if you’re looking for ways to afford rent in other neighborhoods.

What’s more, living next to a troublesome neighbor can be more than just annoying. It could also potentially reduce the value of your home (or neighborhood) when you’re ready to move.

Issues with your property line

JackF/Adobe two displeased male neighbors talking through wooden fence

One of the most common disputes may be issues with property lines. Perhaps your neighbor has tried to ignore specific property issues with plantings, patios, or other items that may be over the line.

If this is an issue, you can hire a land surveyor to check the property lines and add stakes to mark the boundaries. In severe cases, you may need to hire a real estate attorney.

Trees between properties

Julie Clopper/Adobe red fence with wisteria grown over

Trees don’t observe property lines and will grow where they want. This could cause an issue depending on where the tree is in regard to your property line. Check with local laws to see which parts of a tree you may be responsible for.

For instance, if the trunk of the tree is on your neighbor’s property, you may be responsible for trimming any part of the tree above your property. As always, check with your local laws.

Pet concerns

Boyce/Adobe sly cat sitting on a car in urban setting

Pets could cause trouble with your relationship with your neighbor regardless of who owns them. Take into account the behavior of your pets, including dogs who may bark when they’re outside or cats who like to roam freely.

You can also address issues you have with a neighbor’s pet which could include contacting local officials if your neighbor doesn’t comply with local laws.

Trouble with parking

Monika Wisniewska/Adobe angry young woman sitting in a car

It can be difficult if you’re trying to park your car but have problems with neighbors cutting into your space or outright parking in your spot. 

If you live in a development with assigned parking, you may want to check with a property manager to find a way to resolve any parking issues.

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Your neighbor is running a business from home

dglimages/Adobe beauty product party

If your neighbor is running a business from their home it could cause you additional problems with people coming in and out of the house on a regular basis.

If you’re having issues, check with your city about zoning regulations and if there are limitations on what kind of work can be done in the neighborhood.

Your neighbor likes to gossip

caftor/Adobe elderly man standing beside his house and talking on phone

Do you have a neighbor who likes to know the business of everyone who lives in the neighborhood? If you don’t want them talking about you, keep personal issues personal and keep gossiping with other neighbors to a minimum.

Your neighbor’s property is a mess

qingwa/Adobe abandoned foreclosed home

It could affect your property value if your neighbor has overgrown weeds or junk in their yard. Some cities have regulations about grass and plants that grow too high or what can be stored on your property and where.

If you’re concerned, you may look into what your local restrictions are and what steps could be taken if they are being broken.

Your neighbors are loud

Andrey Popov/Adobe young couple covering their ears with pillow

Does your neighbor like to play loud music late at night or mow their lawn in the early-morning hours? It could be difficult to sleep or cause problems when you're at home. 

Find out what kind of noise regulations may be in place for your area to see if there’s a way to limit the issue.

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The property is vacant

Alexey Stiop/Adobe abandoned house in Detroit

Sometimes a bad neighbor is one that isn’t actually there. A vacant property could cause issues due to a lack of maintenance or the appeal to others who may take advantage of a vacant property.

Keep an eye on a vacant property, and consider contacting the city or possibly the HOA if there is one.

Your neighbor is having construction done

JackF/Adobe confused construction worker with pneumatic hammer drill

Your neighbors may want to improve their property, but that could cause strain if there are issues with the construction process.

Check in with your neighbor and their construction company if there are problems due to work that may encroach on your property, such as noise or blocking the entrance to your driveway. Sometimes a polite request to move is enough to fix the problem.

Your neighbor is confrontational

stephm2506/Adobe senior woman shouting over a wooden gate outdoors

There are neighbors who may want to pick a fight for any reason. Try to stay as calm as possible and avoid escalating the confrontation into an all-out fight. 

If they’re being belligerent, be the bigger person and try to come to an understanding about whatever is causing the problem.

Your HOA is causing problems

inga/Adobe buying property woman

You may have bought a home in an area with a homeowners’ association (HOA), which may provide services or other amenities in exchange for fees and staying within particular rules and regulations.

Remember to review any bylaws for your HOA in order to stay in compliance, and be ready to address any issues your neighbors may bring to your local HOA.

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The house next door was foreclosed

Andy Dean/Adobe foreclosure for sale real estate sign and house

A foreclosure could tarnish a neighborhood property and could cause issues with the old and potentially new owners of the lot. Check with the city to see who owns the property and if they have an idea of potential plans for its future.

In the meantime, try and maintain the outside of the property to keep it looking good, which could help you with the value of your own property as well.

Your neighbor’s toys are everywhere

James_Kerwin/Adobe Bastnas car graveyard

It’s not uncommon for neighbors to leave toys, children’s bikes, and sandboxes lying around in their driveway, the sidewalks, or possibly even on your property. This can also include adult toys, like boats, RVs, or broken-down cars.

Check with your city regulations, which may have restrictions on large vehicles stored on the property or items that are left on public walkways.

Bottom line

koldunova_anna/Adobe neighbors discuss the news while standing at the fence

You can’t choose your neighbors, but there are things you can do if you’re having issues with others in your neighborhood. 

Sometimes, a simple conversation can resolve your problems and help you eliminate the financial stress of worrying about the value of your home.

Remember that they may be rules and regulations set by your city or HOA that can help you address lingering concerns.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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