Getting along with neighbors isn’t always easy. Forty-two percent of Americans say they have had a dispute with a neighbor, according to a new survey by FindLaw.com, a legal information website. Conversely, the survey found that the majority of people surveyed—58 percent—say that they have never had a dispute with a neighbor.
Noise was the most common complaint between neighbors, accounting for nearly half of all disputes.
The most common neighbor disputes, according to the survey, involve the following issues:
· Noise – 48 percent
· Pets and animals – 29 percent
· Children behavior – 21 percent
· Visual nuisance, property appearance, trash, etc – 18 percent
· Property boundaries – 17 percent
· Suspected criminal behavior- 8 percent
· Health or building code violations – 4 percent
· Parking – 1 percent
When neighbor vs. neighbor conflicts arose, most people report that they took steps to try and address the situation. Eighty-six percent of people who had disputes said they took some kind of action, usually in the form of discussing the issue directly with the neighbor or sending them a note or email. Others elected to notify the appropriate authorities, such as the police or a neighborhood association. Only fourteen percent of people with a dispute took no action at all.
· Discussed issue personally with neighbor – 49 percent
· Called police – 27 percent
· Notified neighborhood or owners association – 15 percent
· Sent letter, note or email – 11 percent
· Went to court – 4 percent
· Went to mediation – 4 percent
· Other action – 4 percent
· Took no action – 14 percent
In the vast majority of neighbor disputes – eighty-two percent – people said that the issue was eventually resolved to their satisfaction.
· Mutually settled – 40 percent (no outside or third-party intervention)
· Matter resolved itself – 35 percent (neighbor moved, behavior stopped, etc.)
· Outside party solved – 11 percent (police, court, association, etc.)
· Matter still unresolved – 14 percent
An additional five percent of respondents said that while an outside party (police, courts, association, etc.) settled the matter, they were not happy with the outcome.
“Neighborhoods form dynamic communities with unique personalities, since a group of unrelated people must live close together,” says Stephanie Rahlfs, an attorney and editor with FindLaw.com. “Most often, neighbors are friendly, but occasionally, disputes will arise over issues such as boundaries or excessive noise. Our survey found that most issues between neighbors are satisfactorily settled without the matter turning into a legal dispute. It’s important for people to know what their rights are on issues such as boundaries, nuisances, animals and so on, as well as what legal and other resources are available that could help them.”
* Percentages may add up to more than one hundred percent if more than one dispute
For more information, visit www.FindLaw.com.
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