19 Most Annoying Things Neighbors Do

Living harmoniously in a neighborhood requires more than just a friendly wave. Unwittingly, we might be engaging in behaviors that disrupt community harmony. From loud gatherings to neglecting lawn care, here are 19 common missteps that could be making you the talk of the town—for all the wrong reasons.

Loud Late-Night Gatherings

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Loud parties, events, or even just sustained loud noise can disturb the peace in your neighborhood, impact other residents’ sleep, and possibly violate local laws. The National Library of Medicine says, “Tens of millions of Americans suffer from a range of adverse health outcomes due to noise exposure, including heart disease and hearing loss.”

Neglecting Lawn Maintenance

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Overgrown gardens and unkempt yards often upset neighbors and cause disputes. Not keeping the exterior of your house neat and tidy can affect neighborhood aesthetics, attract pests or rodents, and possibly cause decreasing property values for nearby houses.

Blocking Shared Spaces

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Parking in a way that obstructs sidewalks or makes it difficult for your neighbors to access and use communal areas is bound to disrupt the balance of peace in your neighborhood. Make sure you’re also careful not to create safety hazards with your parking, especially for children and emergency services.

Overlooking Pet Etiquette

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According to the American Kennel Club, good neighborhood pet etiquette includes picking up after your pet promptly, not allowing your pet to pee on other people’s property, keeping your dog close by when passing people on sidewalks, and asking permission before allowing your pet to greet other people or pets. It’s also important to minimize excessive noise from pets where possible.

Excessive Outdoor Lighting

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Bright lights that intrude into your neighbors’ homes may affect their sleep. Make sure your outdoor lights and floodlights are appropriately positioned to avoid glare in other people’s homes. Also, by having lights on a timer or turning them off at an appropriate time, you’ll help to reduce light pollution in the area.

Ignoring Trash Disposal Rules

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By leaving your trash bins out long before or after collection days, or by not sorting your waste and recycling properly, you can cause sanitation issues in the area. This will especially upset neighbors if excess litter finds its way onto their property, putting them at higher risk of rodents and other pests.

Intrusive Surveillance Cameras

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Be careful to position your security cameras in an appropriate manner in order to respect property boundaries and the privacy of your neighbors. Forbes says, “While well-intentioned in their designs, doorbell cameras, drone cameras, front-facing car cameras, etc., have brought the concept of ‘fence gossipers’ to a new level. It also brings up significant issues around personal privacy, ethics, etc.”

Frequent, Disruptive Home Renovations

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While your neighbors will thank you for keeping your house in good condition and fixing problems left behind by previous residents, noise, dust, and disruption from constant construction work won’t go down so well. Make sure to speak to your neighbors in advance of any work, and try to ensure as little disruption as possible.

Overbearing Smoke and Odors

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Smoke from barbecues or fire pits that are located too close to your neighbors’ open windows and doors can enter their homes and cause unpleasant smells. Other odors, such as those from cooking or chemicals, can also leave your neighbors unable to enjoy their outdoor space.

Disregarding Community Facilities

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Whether your property has a shared space, such as an entranceway, or access to shared amenities, such as parks, pools, or clubhouses, it’s important to adhere to community rules and treat shared areas with respect. Avoid leaving trash or belongings in these spaces, and try to leave them clean and tidy for others.

Overbearing Plants and Trees

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It’s important to keep your outdoor space in good condition. Proper maintenance of any plants or trees is essential to avoid them encroaching on neighboring properties or into public spaces. Make sure to keep an eye on any plants to ensure falling pollen, seeds, or leaves aren’t causing problems for your neighbors.

Uncontrolled Stormwater Runoff

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Poor landscaping of your outdoor space can lead to rainwater flowing onto neighboring properties and into communal spaces. This can cause erosion or damage to the local area and infrastructure, and even contribute to local flooding issues.

Non-Consensual Feeding of Wildlife

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Although it may feel tempting to encourage wildlife by feeding them, attracting excessive numbers of wildlife and pests can become a nuisance for your neighbors. It also damages property and the ecological balance, disrupts the natural behaviors of animals, and can potentially lead to an increased risk to their health.

Excessive or Inappropriate Decorations

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While it’s great to embrace the holiday spirit, keep in mind that excessive decorations may upset your neighbors. Bright, flashing lights or loud music can all disturb others’ relaxation and sleep. To keep the peace, make sure you don’t encroach upon or block communal spaces, and take decorations down in a timely manner once the season is over.

Not Participating in Community Efforts

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Your local community can be a great way to make friends, support one another, and work together on issues that matter. By not participating in efforts such as neighborhood cleanups, fun projects, or safety initiatives, you create a sense of disconnection with your neighbors, as well as missing out on communal well-being.

Hosting Large, Disruptive Events

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We all like to celebrate every now and again, but excessively large events too often will definitely not go down well with your neighbors. Whether your guests cause parking issues or blockages in the street, there’s a high level of noise, or there are just a lot of people around, these types of events will disturb your neighbors’ peace.

Ignoring Local Zoning Laws

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Building extensions or modifying your property without the proper permits may leave your neighbors feeling that you’re negatively affecting the character and well-being of the neighborhood. Also, by engaging in activities that are not allowed in residential areas, you’ll leave others feeling disrespected.

Visible Storage or Clutter

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Cluttered yards or storing very large items such as boats, RVs, or construction materials in plain view may cause your neighbors to feel that you’re detracting from the neighborhood’s appearance. It may also violate HOA regulations, and Hunker says they “might issue a warning or fine for the violation.”

Disrespecting Boundaries

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By encroaching on your neighbors’ properties or public rights of way, you can create disputes or tension with those around you over land use and ownership. Pay extra attention to your boundaries when installing fences, structures, or plants around your property’s exterior.

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