People like to complain about homeowners’ associations, but today, they are more popular than ever. Just about every new community that is being constructed today is managed to some degree by an association. HOAs tend to keep property values up by operating under consistent covenants for each property owner. While this doesn’t eliminate issues between owners, it gives them a place to turn when issues develop. But what if you don’t live in a managed community? How do you deal with a neighbor who has a non-working car parked on his tree lawn, a dog that barks at all hours or someone who doesn’t mow his lawn? Well, all neighborhoods are different, and all situations are different, but here are some things to consider.
Take Time to Assess the Situation
It is rarely a good idea to react to a situation quickly and emotionally. When you encounter a situation with a neighbor that you feel may need to be addressed, take a breath. Consider the situation and your options.
Decide on the Outcome You Desire
How would you like the situation to be resolved? What is the outcome you are looking for? Don’t get sidetracked by revenge or “winning”. That may have little to do with resolution of the issue. Most of all, try not to aggravate or amplify the situation where it gets elevated further.
Familiarize Yourself With Local Regulations
Even if you don’t live in a managed community, there may be laws or regulations that address your situation. Community, city, or county laws may address fences, grass height, unlicensed or disabled vehicles, and more. You may be able to search for such regulations online.
Try To Help Resolve the Situation
Perhaps their mower is in disrepair, they don’t know about cash for car programs, or may not even recognize that their dog is barking at odd hours. Odds are, whatever the issue is, it isn’t being done to specifically target you. Offer to help them resolve the situation.
Get Others Involved
If addressing the situation one-on-one isn’t successful, there may not be any other choice than to get others involved. This could include animal control, the zoning board, law enforcement, or the local health department, depending on the problem. You could also get neighbors involved if the activity negatively impacts the neighborhood.
There are plenty of situations that have escalated that shouldn’t have if they had been handled better at the outset. Make every attempt to be reasonable, patient, and understanding when a problem arises in your non-HOA neighborhood. This may not eliminate the need for more aggressive action, but at least you can take comfort in knowing you tried to take the high road.
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