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What can I do about my neighbor?

Produced by Gordon Shaw, Community Legal Aid
Created February 2021

You have problems with your neighbors.

Talk to your neighbor

If you feel safe, talk to your neighbor about the problem. Simply speaking to them may help. 

  • Maybe the problem is that they play their music or TV loudly.
  • Maybe the way or where they park their car is a problem for you, or how they clean-up after themselves in the laundry room or other common areas.
  • Maybe the way their kids play in the hallways is a problem.

Sometimes neighbors have no idea they are bothering you. 

Write to your landlord for help

If you and your neighbor have the same landlord, you can ask your landlord for help.

Your landlord has a legal duty to protect you from unreasonable disturbances. The law calls this the right to “Quiet Enjoyment”.

Sometimes, this law requires a landlord to evict a tenant.

When you complain to the landlord:

  1. Explain the problem in writing.
  2. Include the dates and times your neighbor made it impossible for you to feel at home. 
  3. Describe your neighbor’s actions.
  4. Tell your landlord you need them to do something about the problem.
  5. Remind your landlord that if they do not take care of the problem, they could be “in breach of your right to “quiet enjoyment” and this is breaking the law.
  6. Keep copies of everything you send your landlord.

Call the police if your neighbor commits a crime

Sometimes your neighbor is obviously committing a crime.

  • If you see your neighbor dealing drugs, call the police.
  • If your neighbor robbed you or attacked you, report the crime to the police.

Some conduct is less obviously a crime.

For example, making too much noise can be a crime.

Some cities and towns have local laws, called ordinances, that outlaw certain levels or types of noise at different times of the day.

The police can enforce these local laws too.

Calling the police does not always solve the problem you have with your neighbors. But it is still important to call them.

Your call to the police creates a record.

The record may be useful to you or your landlord if this disturbance later becomes part of a court case, like an eviction or restraining order.

Go to court

If your landlord refuses to take action to stop the disturbances after you have complained, you may be able to get a court to order your landlord to do something to stop the disturbance.

If your neighbor’s conduct is really bad, you may be able to get a restraining order against the neighbor.

Ask your local Housing Court for a restraining order. Most courts have forms you can fill out.

Find Legal Aid

You may be able to get free legal help from your local legal aid program. Or email a question about your own legal problem to a lawyer.

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