Love thy neighbour
Opinion: Home is a sanctuary where you can stop, put your feet up, and enjoy some peace and quiet before you venture out into the world again.
So when you’re partway through a G&T and well on your way to feeling zen, only to be rudely interrupted by doof-doof music from over the fence, you’d understandably be put out.
Summer is the time of year when your neighbours’ most annoying behaviours are more likely to come to the fore.
Warmer, sunnier weather equals longer days and more opportunities for their friends to visit, which also equals more voices and music drifting over the fence, and more strangers’ cars parked in weird places.
If you’re struggling with your neighbours, take the high road and be the kind of neighbour you’d like them to be to you.
If you’re hosting a gathering at your place, give them a heads-up first.
Remind your guests to park on the road, not down your shared driveway.
Be aware of the volume of your music. Set an end time so guests don’t overstay their welcome. When you go out of your way to consider your impact on your neighbours, they’ll be more likely to follow suit.
If you continue to struggle with loud music or raucous behaviour, it’s time to make contact.
If you feel comfortable chatting face-to-face, pop your head over the fence or rock up to their front door at a time when they’re likely to be receptive to constructive feedback (not at 6.30am after they’ve been raging all night).
Keep the conversation casual and non-confrontational.
They might be in the wrong (and hopefully know they’ve overstepped the mark) but if you turn up with all guns blazing they’ll put up their walls and throw the attitude right back at you.
If face-to-face isn’t your thing, leave a note in their letterbox or on their front step.
Again, keep the language friendly and constructive. If you want to get results, you need to take the high road.
If problems persist, your next port of call is their landlord or noise control.
Because landlords are in a position of power, tenants are more likely to pay attention.
Noise control also keeps things confidential by saying, ‘‘We’ve had reports of loud music’’, rather than, ‘‘The family at number 4 has complained about your music again’’.
Use legal action and the media as a last resort. Not only can courts get expensive and media contentious, if the relationship between you and your neighbours has any chance of surviving it absolutely won’t if you get higher powers involved.
That being said, some neighbourly conflict can only be solved by getting the law involved so if you’ve done all you can to no avail, the disputes tribunal is there for a reason.
A wise fellow once said, ‘‘Love thy neighbour as thyself.’’
This summer, keep that in the back of your mind whenever you turn on your stereo.