Having trouble with a neighbour? It’s important to tread carefully, as arguments with people in your community can make living there difficult. Here’s some advice to consider:
- Don’t react immediately. Take some time before deciding what to do. You may decide the issue isn’t worth pursuing, especially if the problem was a one-off.
- Keep an open mind. Figure out exactly what’s bothering you and what you hope to achieve. Look at things from your neighbour’s perspective, and think about how you could cooperate with them.
- Meet face-to-face. Only approach your neighbour if the situation is safe. While they may become defensive, you should try to stay calm and polite. Be prepared to walk away if you feel the situation is getting out of hand.
- Write a letter. If a face-to-face meeting doesn’t work, explain the problem in writing. If possible, refer to the City by-law that supports your argument.
- Involve others. If the problem affects other neighbours, ask them to sign the letter. Your neighbour may be willing to work with you if the problem affects several people.
- Find a mediator. As a last resort, a mediator can help you settle the argument. Organizations such as Community Mediation Ottawa provide neutral, trained volunteer mediators.