Happy Good Neighbor Day: Now Turn Down That Music!


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Old Shoe Woman/FlickrDisputes among neighbors abound for a variety of reasons.

I can think of no greater hell than being at war with my neighbors. I've chopped off the heads of my towering sunflowers because my neighbor complained they blocked rays from her heirloom tomatoes.

Not every neighbor, however, is as peace-loving, and disputes abound. So, as a nod to National Good Neighbor Day on Sunday (Sept. 28), here are common reasons we don't love our neighbors.

Boundary Disputes: Arguments over where my property ends and yours begins is a common neighbor dispute. The best way to avoid that is to make sure your property survey is current. Then, when your neighbor objects to your new fence, you'll be armed with paperwork.

Noise Complaints: If you share musical tastes with your neighbor, you won't much mind when they blast their music throughout summer nights. Most of us, however, aren't that lucky.

Mostly, a polite phone call asking your neighbor to hold it down will suffice. If not, most communities have noise regulations that police will enforce.

Tree Troubles: Let me count the ways trees can cause neighbor wars. His tree falls on your land; leaves from your trees fall on his lawn. Trees block light and vistas, ruining that ocean view you paid through the nose for.

What to do? Consult local ordinances that typically spell out homeowner rights and responsibilities regarding trees and views. You may even have to hire a lawyer to settle big disputes.

Light Pollution: Common light disputes center around Christmas decorations and floodlights that stream into your window all night. But the new popularity of solar panels has spawned new disputes about whose sunlight is it anyway.

In some place, you can't plant a big tree if it will cast shade on your neighbors' solar panels. So, check local regs before you plant that shade tree you've always wanted.


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