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I signed a lease and I hate my neighbor – What can I do?

Originally posted on November 27, 2018 10:30 am
Updated on November 27, 2018 10:40 am

Signing a new lease and finally getting all moved into your new apartment is a great feeling. However, nothing can ruin this feeling quite like loud music, bad smells, loud crashes, or yelling coming from your neighbors.

Some neighbors you meet you’ll get along with just fine, but if you ask around, nearly everyone has had at least one “bad neighbor” experience, so they are pretty common. Maybe they played music at all hours of the night, maybe they are dirty or maybe they simply just annoy you to no end. Whatever the reason, almost everyone will deal with a bad neighbor at some point.

Sometimes it can get so bad that it might actually start to make you want to leave the apartment. However, you signed a lease, so what are you to do? Well, this blog post is going to take you through the things you can do if you have signed a lease, but hate your neighbor. We will look at things in the order you should do them if you experience this type of situation, so read on and see what you can do.
 

Document everything

The first thing to do is be sure to keep a record of all the things the neighbor is doing that breaks the lease agreement, as long as this isn’t against the rules that your landlord has set out. Your lease agreement likely has some rules about either quiet time or the right for tenants to peacefully enjoy the premises. You need to keep notes about how often (and when) they are breaking rules and try to prove it as best you can.

Now, before going any further, if you just hate your neighbor for a random reason that isn’t breaking any rules or isn’t criminal, there isn’t much you can do. In this case, you should either try and ignore and avoid them or maybe bring up your concerns with them.

In addition to documenting your experiences, you could also potentially reach out to other tenants in your building to see if they have had similar experiences. There is a good chance that if you are experiencing issues, there is a good chance they have as well. If they will be willing to corroborate your story, it could help your case.
 

Reach out to the neighbor directly or the landlord

From here, you can do one of two things, either reach out to the neighbor directly or take your findings to the landlord. Generally, it is a good idea to go to the neighbor first to give them the benefit of the doubt that maybe they didn’t know they were being loud.

Of course, being loud isn’t the only way a neighbor could annoy you. They might have a bad smell coming from their apartment, they might track mud or dirt in front of your unit, might constantly bug or annoy you, take your parking spot or do any number of things. You should try and approach the situation lightly and let the neighbor know what they’re doing is affecting your happiness and might even be breaking the lease agreement.

However, if they disregard you or plead ignorance and then continue the behavior, it’s time to go to the landlord. You should give the landlord all of your evidence and they will do their research and reach out the neighbor themselves.
 

Wait for a resolution

Next, you just need to wait. The landlord will do their digging and if they discover the neighbor is breaking the terms of the rental agreement, they will likely offer a warning first and then will evict if they don’t heed the warning.

This resolution could potentially take only a few days, but could potentially go longer depending on certain factors. If it does go long, don’t be afraid to reach out to your landlord for an update.

If the landlord decides to evict the neighbor you hate, well, then they are no longer a problem for you and you can move past this. If your landlord doesn’t evict or doesn’t discover anything wrong, and the issues from your neighbor continue, things become a little more difficult.
 

If no resolution arrives, inform landlord you intend to break your lease

If the issue continues and your landlord doesn’t do anything about it, it might be time for you to break your lease. Of course, each rental agreement is different so see what the penalties are for breaking your lease or leaving early.

Even if there are penalties, you might deem it worthy to pay them to leave, as the landlord clearly isn’t interested in evicting the neighbor. One way you could potentially evade these fees is to allow the landlord to show the apartment to interested tenants as if they can fill it as soon as you leave (and not miss out on any money), they might be willing to waive the penalties.

If you feel that the landlord wasn’t doing their part and you shouldn’t be held responsible for the penalties, it might be time to speak to a lawyer knowledgeable in the space who can deal with your situation directly.

In conclusion, we hope that this article has helped you to learn and understand what you should do if you’re locked into a lease, but aren’t a fan of your neighbor. Again, the steps in this article are merely an outline as every situation and landlord/neighbor will be different. If things start to get serious and someone is threatening to take legal action, be sure to speak with a professional or lawyer.

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