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Bad Neighbor Problems (and How to Address Them)

Bad neighbors can be a difficult problem for property managers to navigate and can create a point of tension for your tenants.

 

As a landlord or property manager, there is a multitude of responsibilities that you must attend to regularly, and dealing with poor neighbors can make a difficult situation for you. Regardless of how maintained and updated a property may be, and all the amenities, it may include, your potential renters may avoid the property if poor neighbors seem to mar the deal.

 

Bad neighbors can significantly lower a rental property’s desirability and make it difficult to maintain occupancy.  Even the most beautiful, fairly priced property with the greatest landlord can find itself left vacant when poor neighbors are involved. Fortunately, there are solutions to common bad neighbor problems.

 

Bad Neighbor Problem: Neighborhood Eyesore

 

Whether this neighbor allows piles of trash, yard debris or undrivable cars to litter the property, the result is the same--the chance this unsightly yard can lower the property value for the whole neighborhood. This is usually the most readily noticeable bad neighbor problem, and even if your property is perfectly maintained, potential residents may avoid your rental simply to avoid living in an unattractive neighborhood.

 

Solution

 

If a house near your rental property is a potential eyesore, due to poor yard maintenance or lack of cleanup, try to lessen the problem by making it less noticeable from your potential tenant’s vantage point. Check your local legislation regarding fence height requirements and consider landscaping options that both offer privacy for your tenants and minimize the view of the adjacent unattractive property.

 

Alternatively, you can check your local ordinances for any yard maintenance standards. Select cities have more rules than others, but many have regulations on allowable grass height, refuse or debris on the property, car storage, and other items that may contribute to the decline of property value in the area. If the owners of the neighboring properties are in violations of city code, report it to protect your property's desirability.

 

Bad Neighbor Problem: Noise

 

Excessive noise can drive away a good tenant quickly and can ensure they call you to complain about the issue in the meantime. Whether your new tenant’s neighbors enjoy band practice all hours of the night or decide to rise excessively early to work with power tools or conduct loud yard maintenance a continual noise problem is sure to drive the most reasonable tenant crazy.

 

Solution

 

It can be difficult for a landlord to discover noisy neighbors since most complaints will be the result of late-night phone calls. To avoid a displeased tenant, it is important to familiarize yourself with any local noise ordinances before a situation occurs. Most cities have limitations that set restrictions on certain decibels of noise between specific hours. A polite visit and gentle reminder of the city’s policies can be all some noisemakers need before they comply, for repeat offenders, give your tenants the information needed to report the issue to local authorities.

 

If the noise is allowable through city regulations but still a bother to your tenants, taking steps to eliminate outside noise within the rental can be the best solution. Ensure that the caulking and weather stripping on windows is intact as a tight seal can dampen the impact of outside noise. If this doesn’t seem sufficient, you can also consider installing noise reducing window treatments or dual pane windows to reduce the impact of exterior noise for your tenants.

 

Bad Neighbor Problem: Undisciplined Animals

 

Similar to noise complaints, a continually barking dog can frustrate current tenants, give the neighbors a bad reputation, and scare new tenants away. Animal problems are not limited to noise difficulties, however, aggressive animals that act menacing to your tenants, animals that destroy property, or animals whose owners simply fail to pick up after them can all cause difficulties for your tenants.

 

Solution

 

Check with your city’s ordinance in regards to animals, as there may be specific regulations regarding barking dogs and pet behavior. Ensure that your tenants have the information to report any excessive issues to the police.

 

A creative solution can also be to allow pets at your rental property. A pet owner who had difficulties looking for a pet-friendly rental may be more accepting of bad neighbors if they need to secure a rental that allows animals. Likewise, a fellow dog owner might be more tolerant of a neighboring dog’s antics, since they have their own.

 

A Great Landlord-Neighbor Relationship is Key



Just as a good landlord-tenant relationship is important, a good neighbor-landlord relationship is vital to maintaining the well-being of your rental neighborhood. Just as a great neighborhood can be a beacon for potential renters, a poor neighborhood--or one where tenants sense there is animosity present--will serve as a deterrent to great tenants. While it can be difficult at times to remain professional and cordial with a seemingly unreasonable neighbor, it is always in your best interest to protect your investment by striving for a peaceable relationship with your rental’s neighboring inhabitants.

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