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5 tips to maintaining good neighbour relations

Conflicts with our neighbours can sometimes be a major source of stress and have serious consequences.

On the other hand, getting along with them can make your life much easier. Here are a few tips to help you foster good neighbourly relations.  

1. Create ties and communicate

You just moved into a new neighbourhood or noticed that a new neighbour is moving in? As soon as you have the opportunity, you can initiate the first contact by going over to say hello.  It’s the easiest and most efficient way to build friendships and foster communication.  

So, your approach to dealing with more sensitive issues will be that much easier if you’ve already established a rapport with your neighbour. Your neighbours will likely be more accommodating if you raise dicier issues later, i.e. maintaining a common fence or dealing with an overpowering smell.  

Also, your neighbours will appreciate the gesture if you warn them beforehand of any inconveniences they may have to endure, such as  noise resulting from repairs. They will be more understanding if you show them consideration.

2. Gauge the impact of your actions on your neighbours

Your actions will have a major impact on your relationship with your neighbours. It’s therefore important to think about the consequences of your actions on their well-being.    

For instance, if you plant a tree, choose the location and type of tree with care. Make sure that the branches and roots of your tree will not encroach on your neighbour’s property. Use Hydro-Québec’s Choose the Right Tree or Shrub tool.

Here are other examples of issues that may arise between neighbours:

  • Holding certain outdoor activities
  • Getting a dog
  • Installing a fence
  • Maintaining your property
  • Doing renovations

3. Respecting your property limits

Before you undertake any work on your property, redesign your landscape, carry out construction or install a temporary unit, make sure that you do not encroach on the adjacent property. Refer to your property’s certificate of location and keep an updated copy in your files.

Having this document handy will make it easier to speak to your neighbour if, for example, he or she decides to install a new shed on part of your property.

4. Know and follow the rules

Take the time to read up on the municipal bylaws. Construction, renovation and landscaping work, property maintenance and acceptable noise levels are among the elements regulated under these bylaws. Being a homeowner means knowing and complying with these rules.

The Civil Code of Québec also states that as a property owner, you are responsible for ensuring that your property, landscaping and maintenance do not cause injury or material damage to a third party. You must therefore make sure that your property is safe.

5. Be kind and accommodating

Remember that if you disturb the peace, so can your neighbours. So be kind and accommodating. They’re more likely to do the same for you.

More importantly, if one of your neighbours keeps bothering you, it's best not to wait until your frustration gets the better of you. Your neighbour may not even know he or she is bothering you. Be diplomatic and try to find a common ground. 

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