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These tips may help if you have an aggressive, bad neighbor

When you bought your new home, you felt excited to get to know the people who lived nearby. You hoped to make friends. You imagined sitting out on your porch in the evening and talking to the neighbors.

The reality has been much different. You have a bad neighbor; there's really no other way to describe it. You keep having disputes, and this person is aggressive and confrontational. It's not just that they're not your friend. You wish you didn't live by them at all. It's completely undermined what you hoped for in the neighborhood.

This is a tough situation and it happens all too often. Here are a few tips that may help you moving forward:

  1. Focus on communication. Try to talk to them. Some disputes happen because two people do not communicate properly and are not on the same page. You may talk it out and discover a solution.
  2. Try to take action as soon as possible. If you see your neighbor out measuring for a new fence that you think goes on your property, bring it up before they install the fence. If you put things off, it just gets more complicated.
  3. Try to get to know your neighbor. It can be hard if the two of you already have a stressed relationship, but it may help. If your neighbor is a stranger who annoys you, you're more likely to react with frustration than if they're a friend who simply may not be the most conscientious person.
  4. Talk to other people in the neighborhood. Are you the only one with a problem? Or do they agree with you? They may help you get some perspective or at least show you that you're in the right.
  5. Try to stay positive. Assume that they don't want to make you angry. It's just an oversight or a mistake. Maybe they don't understand what you're trying to explain. Keep a positive mindset and do not escalate the situation.
  6. Start taking notes. Maybe these tips aren't working. You tried talking and being kind. Now it's time to start taking notes and photographs to document what is going on. Make sure you write down specific dates, times and other details.

While these tips can help, remember that you can't use them to solve all disputes. They don't magically make your neighbor into the kind of person you wanted to live by. If you do end up with serious boundary disputes or other such issues that require more work, make sure you understand all of the legal options you have in Washington.

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Riach Gese Jacobs, PLLC
7331 196th Street, SW
P.O. Box 1067
Lynnwood, WA 98046

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