When you go through the searching, touring, and application process, you likely do not learn much about your neighbors until move-in day. Some tenants may introduce themselves to each other, especially in smaller buildings. However, there may be a time when you do not meet your neighbor until you have to resolve a conflict.

How to approach the situation

If you come across a situation where you need to resolve a conflict with a neighbor, you can take the following steps:

Approach the situation respectfully

Take a moment to positively and respectfully introduce yourself to your neighbor, especially if you have not met each other in the past. Then, you can bring up the conflict issue and perhaps offer a solution. For example, if a neighbor sings loudly at 2:00am while you’re trying to sleep, you can mention that singing at 12:00am does not bother you (if that’s true).

Engaging in a calm conversation may resolve the issue, and neither you nor your neighbor will not have to involve a landlord or building manager.

Reread the lease

If the initial conversation does not go well, you can re-read your lease to check for any policies concerning the neighbor’s behavior. Examples may include rules against noise, odor, trash removal procedures, etc. If a policy presents itself in the lease, you have a stronger argument that you can present to management.

Collaborate with other neighbors

While this approach may not always work, neighbors can try working together to present the offense to management. You can ask those who you know in your building if they are also affected by the issue and then present a unified complaint or individually complain. If enough tenants complain about the issues, it may resolve the problem in a more timely manner.

Bring the issue up with the landlord or management company

If attempts to resolve the problem between both parties remain unsuccessful, you can approach your landlord or management company with the complaint. You should provide as much documentation and information as possible, including your conversation with the neighbor. The landlord will likely take action, especially if the neighbor breaks a policy in the lease.

What to do in an emergency

If you witness a potentially life-threatening situation, immediately call 911 and report the issue. You may be asked to provide clarifying details regarding what you saw or heard to the police and landlord or management company.