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How to Raise a Concern Politely

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Neighborhood problems? Here are some tips for addressing any issue!

 

Maintaining a good relationship with your neighbors also requires clear honest communication. If you have a legitimate concern or complaint, let your neighbor know. Your goal is to maintain your good relationship, so don't complain when your angry. Wait until you can address the issue with your neighbor calmly. Be prepared to listen and open to compromise.

 

Have a polite word with your neighbor.

 Take a calm, tactful, non-confrontational approach: "Karen, I've noticed that after you go to work, the kids are cutting through our yard to get to school." "Sam, for the last couple of weeks your recycling has blown around the neighborhood. Bungee cords solved that problem for me."

Write a courteous note if you can't catch your neighbor in person.

Avoid any language that could be construed as insulting or threatening. Neighborhood petitions may seem like a good idea but are very intimidating, especially if your neighborhood isn't aware of the problem.

Ask for help from building owners/managers or homeowners' associations.

If your one-on-one conversation didn't do the trick, a letter from a higher authority will remind a negligent owner of the rules he or she is expected to follow. This can be a reasonable approach if you don't know the owner or if she has a history of disregarding individual complaints.

As a last resort, take the problem to public officials.

For serious violations, like a yard full of trash, or a persistent problem, such as an incessantly barking dog, it may help if several neighbors band together to talk with local authorities. An official letter of warning may be necessary. Realize that while this approach may be necessary and may solve an immediate problem, it can cause resentment and do little to improve overall neighbor relations.

 

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