Everyone has heard of them, and those who have experienced them would prefer to stay out of the problem for good: neighborhood disputes can quickly get out of hand, but can take months to resolve. Seattle residents stuck in the middle of a neighborhood situation can understand, however, the difficulty of sorting through an issue with someone who may only live a short distance away.
While noisy pets, band practices and children are common points of contention among neighbors, another commonly disputed topic involves fences and treelines. Fighting over inches of space may seem a frivolous endeavor, but when giving an inch results in the taking of a foot, legal action may be necessary.
A Tedious Task
The Washington Times-Reporter understands the potential difficulty of resolving a neighbor-related issue. Sometimes, neighbors who make complaints to local law enforcement receive instructions to simply let matters subside on their own. As most Seattle residents are aware, this plan often fails miserably. The Times-Reporter stated that police attempt to achieve a community-policing method in which finding a solution is the main priority. Law enforcement also urges neighbors experiencing problems to document all possible interactions — doing so can ensure that an incident is recorded accurately. Lastly, police in the area encourage neighbors to first try to resolve problems on their own, calling upon law enforcement only when necessary.
A Preventative Approach
Home ownership and improvement resource HouseLogic also understands the woes of neighbor disputes, noting a few preventative steps neighbors can take to minimize the chances of a disagreement. First and foremost, it is usually a good idea to stay updated on local zoning laws. Residents can also practice what HouseLogic calls “fence etiquette,” which can help reduce chances of a heated property line dispute. Going even an inch or two beyond a neighbor’s property line could risk the tearing down of a fence, and could also threaten an otherwise cordial relationship between neighbors. Addressing a tense situation is not always easy, but there are some pointers to help make the process a smoother one.