Neighbor VS. Neighbor: Unwanted Conflict Between the Two

Originally posted on December 29, 2021 3:00 pm
Updated on December 21, 2021 12:13 pm

Having a neighbor is far from a foreign concept to us. Unless you have lived in an isolated residency for most of your life, we’ve all experienced a person existing near us one time or another. If you are living in an apartment complex you are bound to have either upstairs, downstairs, or next-door neighbors. Some are friendly with their neighbors. You may wave when you’re passing by them in the hall, telling them to have a good day after seeing them in the elevator, or even hanging out on your free time. Others don’t even know their neighbors. The person across the hall can only be identified by their speakers that turn on at 5:30PM sharp and then off again at 9:45PM. Or in worst case scenarios, your neighbor could be a total jerk. 

Constantly clashing heads with your neighbor is never pleasant. You are supposed to be comfortable in your place of habitat, not worried when the next note will have to be written asking them to please stop whatever disturbance they are causing you. There are even some cases where you may need to call in an outside source to mitigate conflict between your neighbor which is never pleasant. So, what conflicts could possibly arise and how do you solve them? 


Noise disturbances are probably one of the most common quarrels that happen between neighbors. We’re talking about those 3AM get-togethers your neighbors have every other night where their friends are talking until early hours of the morning and then stomping down the stairs. Now your other neighbor’s dog is barking and the baby in the apartment to the left is crying. Shoving your pillow over your head is doing relatively nothing, not even the bunch of feathers hidden inside the cloth can drown out the noise. This would be okay if it happened every once in a while, but it’s too frequent of an occurrence for you to stay silent. Now what? 

With every conflict here I will recommend taking this route above all: simply communicate. If you are comfortable enough with your neighbor to shoot them or text or have a conversation with them then do that first. It is not rare for a friend to express their concerns with another friend, so it should be no different with a neighbor in whom you have already built a connection with. It does not have to be anything dramatic and you can even make light of your issue in hope they catch on. Of course, this all depends on your relationship. 

What happens if your neighbor isn’t someone who you would regularly talk to? Well, a hand-written latter slipped under their door always works too. A simple signature of “Thanks, your upstairs neighbor” will do just fine. I have had success with this as my senior year of college I had upstairs neighbors that would play basketball on their hardwood floor late at night. As you can imagine – having my living room furniture rattle while I try to sleep is not pleasant. Me and my roommates wrote out a cordial letter asking them to keep it down after a certain time. We also left our numbers in case they had any further questions, in which they did not, and we continued minding our business. 


Unwanted smells are another point of possible neighbor conflict. Just because your building has a ‘no smoking’ rule does not mean that all residents will abide. This can particularly be a pain when you or any roommates have issues that may arise from inhaling smoke. Sometimes you are unable to open your windows due to the rising fumes from neighbors which is painful when all you are craving is some fresh air. The summer months are brutal, but the second you push the sill up your nostrils are violated with smoke. 

Like I said before, communication is key no matter how you go about it. But sometimes people do not always respect cordial interactions. Or maybe you are too uncomfortable to ask your neighbor to quit smoking in their apartment. If that is the case, you should go straight to your landlord. Especially if your neighbor’s smoking is creating a hazard. Even if it is not, it could be a hazard to others living in the building. Love thy neighbor! If smoking is not allowed… do something about it. Rules are rules and it is not fair if some people pick and choose which ones they want to follow. A simple message to your landlord be adequate. Make sure you include as much detail as possible about the smoke. For example: what time it usually enters your apartment, where you believe it may be coming from, and how constant it is. Also emphasize any health concerns it may bring to the table to emphasize the seriousness of the issue. Most landlords will be attentive as they can get in a lot of trouble if not. 


Poor maintenance of shared property is unpleasant. Especially when you’re the one that is affected regardless of your due diligence. By this, I am talking about trash left in hallways, furniture items blocking common areas, dirty shoes that leave mud all over the floor, and anything else that would obstruct your ability to navigate the area with ease. It is important to take note of the amount of times this issue occurs. Being angry about groceries blocking your front door once in a blue moon is a bit dramatic. If there are bags of garbage constantly being left in the hallway not only is it unsanitary, but could you have a serious issue of unwanted rodents on your hands

I do not recommend removing any obstructions by yourself. It is not your property and you do not want your neighbor complaining that you are messing with things that are not yours. However, you could leave an anonymous and polite note asking them to avoid doing this in the future. If they do not stop, much like the smoking situation, contact your landlord. If your landlord is not helpful, then you could seek out the Department of Health if there are obvious hazards present. If you are going to go about this step, make sure you document. 

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