Ownership: Rules to Make Nice With Neighbors

Rowdy neighbors. Filthy neighbors. Neighbors who never speak.

Some neighbors are boors and it can affect property values, says Deborah Ford, director of the bachelor of science program in real estate and economic development at the University of Baltimore.

“There are strict laws about housing discrimination, so [real estate practitioners] can’t do or say anything that would deter someone from moving to a community,” Ford says. [But, “if people get tired, some of them will decide, ‘I’m moving out.'”

Johns Hopkins University professor P.M. Forni, founder of the Johns Hopkins Civility Project and author of the book Choosing Civility, says he has always found it fascinating that the word “rival” comes from a Latin word for “neighbor.”

Now writing a follow-up called The Civility Solution: What to Do When People Are Rude, Forni offers these neighborly tips from his upcoming book:

When walking your dog make sure that your pooch does not stray onto your neighbor’s lawn. Clean up after your pet.

Do not schedule grass-mowing or leaf-blowing before 10 a.m. on Saturdays or Sundays.

Let your neighbors in the apartment building or cul-de-sac know when you are planning a party with multiple guests. Apologize in advance for any parking-related inconvenience that might occur.

If you have planned substantial renovation work, send a note to your neighbors with beginning and ending dates of the project and the daily working hours. Assure them that you have instructed your contractor that there must be no spilling over of the site onto neighboring properties. Include in the envelope two carwash gift certificates apologizing for the inevitable dust. Send an e-mail to neighbors to give updates or get feedback about how your contractor is doing.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, Donna M. Owens (01/13/2008)