What if your neighbourhood’s dreaded neighbour… is you? Here are 11 tips for being a good neighbour.
The people we share our neighbourhoods, apartment buildings, and dormitories with can have a significant impact on everyone else’s enjoyment of those spaces. How miserable would you be if your dream rental experience was ruined by the behaviour, noise, or attitude of the neighbours you see every day?
Well, here’s a twist: What if that terrible neighbour… is you? Not that anybody actually intends to be a bad neighbour, right? However, sometimes we may not realize how our actions affect other people. Here are 11 tips for being a good neighbour.
Less noise = more friends. Nothing turns a good neighbour into a bad one faster than loud noises at late hours. If you’re prone to arguments, try keeping your voice down. If you like to party, move it indoors at a reasonable hour. And if you want to blast music at 3 a.m., go for it — just make sure you’re wearing headphones, so your neighbours don’t have to hear every drumbeat.
Floors can be sound amplifiers. Dancing, jumping, or even just walking in heavy shoes or heels can sound like noise torture for the people who live below you — especially if you have hardwood floors. Consider laying down rugs in areas where you know you’ll make a lot of noise, or in spots directly above where your neighbours are trying to sleep.
Small acts of kindness count. Even something as simple as holding the door open for a neighbour can go a long way toward establishing common trust and respect.
Alert and invite. If you’re going to have guests over for a graduation, baby shower, family reunion, or just a simple party, consider mentioning the event to your neighbours and letting them know when you expect the event will wrap up. You can also invite them to stop by during the event. (They may politely decline, but your good manners will still be appreciated.) Plus, try to see your event from your neighbour’s point of view: there’s a big difference between a neighbour having a party that you know will end at 10 p.m. and a party that might last forever.
Put yourself in your neighbours’ shoes. How can you tell if something you’re doing is disruptive for a neighbour? Well, think about their life stages and routines. For example, if you’re the only person in your building who works late hours, try to be considerate of your neighbours’ sleep schedules as you come and go. Likewise, if a neighbour has a new baby, they probably didn’t intend to wake you up with crying at 4 a.m. Give your neighbours the benefit of the doubt while also trying not to create new disruptions for them along the way.
Have a problem? Be polite but direct. If you have an issue with a neighbour, try speaking directly with them to resolve the situation. If that doesn’t work, talk to the property manager, the landlord, or the homeowner’s association for assistance with resolving the issue.
The police should only be called for emergencies. Some people are inclined to call the police over the slightest inconvenience or disruption, but that often creates more trouble than it solves. Plus, it’s challenging to repair a relationship with a neighbour after you’ve sent the police to their door.
Make sure your home is up-kept and clean, inside and out. Even if you’re just renting, you still have a responsibility to ensure that your space is clean and approachable. When you have trash or recycling, dispose of it in the proper receptacles and take them to the curb on the appropriate pickup days. If it snows and your lease says you’re responsible for shovelling your own steps or sidewalks, keep them clear. If you have weeds, pull them. And don’t use your porch or your yard as storage.
Treat shared areas as if they were your grandmother’s. If you have a shared laundry room, a lobby mailroom, or a communal kitchen, keep it as clean and orderly as you would keep the home of an older relative. (We would say “treat these areas as if they were your own,” but honestly, most people’s sense of “clean enough” is probably much lower than their grandma’s!)
Don’t let your dog treat your neighbourhood like a chew toy. If you own a dog, always clean up after your pet when you’re out on a walk. If they’re prone to barking, try not to leave them outside for too long at a time — especially if it’s cold or raining. And if you know any of your neighbours are uneasy around dogs, or if they have small children who may not yet know how to calmly approach a dog, steer your dog away from those potential conflicts before they arise.
Inform your property manager about any repairs ASAP. Accidents happen. Things break. Parts wear out. If something in your rental needs to be repaired or replaced, contact your landlord, property manager, or maintenance staff to make sure it gets on their radar. Remember: they can’t fix the problems they aren’t aware of.
About the Author
Jonathan Foux is a Chief Technology Officer at UpTop. UpTop is the first free end-to-end rental platform that combines a rental listing search platform and a property management software to streamline the way renters and landlords, owners, reps and property managers work together for the entirety of the renting lifecycle.