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When Neighbors Go Bad: Is It Time To Hire An Attorney?

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Are your neighbors making things miserable for you? Unfortunately, not all neighbor relationships are what you would consider "neighborly." Sometimes, relations can be friendly for years, and then things change and a minor dispute turns into a major war between you and the people next door, behind you, or across the street. Other times, one particular set of neighbors seems to hate you from the moment you, or they, move in. Other times, one person or family can be the bane of an entire neighborhood.

What can you do in these circumstances? If your neighbors are making threats against you (and you can prove it), being an obvious nuisance, or vandalizing your property, you can call the police. Maybe they'll stop what they're doing. Other times, solving the problem may be as simple as talking to your neighbors about it and working things out between you. It's that gray area between the police and reasonable conversation that can get confusing. Sometimes, you have to look to attorneys to help solve neighbor disputes.

Here are two instances where you should hire an attorney and take your bad neighbor to court.

1. Your Neighbor's Noise Is Negatively Impacting Your Quality of Life

Everyone has a right to improve their property. However, when construction going on at your neighbor's house becomes a noise or access nuisance, it can get pretty annoying for you, especially if the project is a lengthy one that seems to go on for weeks (and even months) with no end.

The same thing goes for a neighbor who regularly makes a lot of noise in general at odd hours. This could be anything from music to housework to yard work and more. Most cities and towns have noise laws, and your neighbor may be breaking them. Do some research first to find out for sure.

If the noise is coming at hours when you and/or your kids are usually sleeping, if it disturbs you when you're trying to enjoy your downtime at home, you've got a problem. You should try talking to your neighbor first, to see if some compromise can be reached to allow them to do what they want or need to do without driving you mad.

If this doesn't work, you should consider hiring at attorney. It may be your only recourse if there is no HOA in your neighborhood and the police won't do anything about it. Sometimes, a simple cease and desist letter from an attorney is enough to get a neighbor to rein in the noise to a reasonable level or restrict it to certain times. If not, filing a civil lawsuit against them may get them to cool it.

Rarely will you have to actually follow through with the lawsuit. If you do, your attorney can help prove the noise is negatively impacting your quality of life and convince the court to force your neighbor to follow certain rules regarding their noise that allow you to live more peacefully.

2. Your Neighbors Are Unusually Messy

What the inside of a neighbor's house looks like doesn't affect you, but the exterior of their house definitely can. According to RealtorMag.Realtor.org, neighbors with unkempt exteriors or yards can decrease your own property values by as much as 10 percent.

Things like trash in the yard, poorly kept trees or other landscaping, overgrown grass, peeling paint and broken boards on the outside of the house, and even loud or vicious pets at your neighbor's house can all negatively impact your house's value. This can be a problem if you're planning to sell your house in the near future.

Hiring at attorney to see if your neighbors are breaking any local coding or zoning laws and taking them to court if they are is a good idea. The money you spend on attorneys is often much less than the loss in value of your home.


It's usually best to try to settle things amicably with a bad neighbor. You have to live near them and see them most days, after all. If you can keep things civil between you, do it. If they won't cooperate and the local HOA or police won't help you with the matter, an attorney can accomplish a lot. Talk to one today to see what can be done about your own particular bad neighbor situation.