Residential wars: what to do if your neighbours are bothering you?


Residential wars: what to do if your neighbours are bothering you?

Disagreements between neighbours are a topic that has been around the world for thousands of years. When you live next door, there can be many reasons for conflict. But what if your neighbours’ choices start to seriously affect your quality of life?

Experts at Civinity, one of the largest building maintenance and engineering solutions groups in the Baltics, advise: before you take extreme measures, try all other options.

A case in Kaunas is currently being widely reported in the media, where after trying all other options, Civinity finally went to court and got permission to clean up the flat of a resident who had used her waste to breed cockroaches in her entire staircase.

“Going to court is a last resort, and it’s a long process. In this case, our colleagues simply had no other choice: our team tried both negotiations with the resident herself and repeated appeals to the municipality and the district council. We realised that the situation was serious and we had to defend our clients’ right to live in a clean and safe environment,” says Martynas Naujokas, Head of Civinity namai.

However, according to Naujokas, in most situations it is not necessary to go to court or lawyers. “The Civinity expert shares simpler and quicker ways to solve problems created by neighbours.

The straightest way – agreement

“In any conflict, the quickest way to resolve it is to find a solution that works for both sides. In the case of neighbours, this means a conversation, a discussion: clearly identifying the problem, finding out the causes of the problem and finding solutions together.

It sounds elementary, but you would be surprised how many people skip this step and go straight to the various services when they encounter a problem,” says Naujokas.

“According to Civinity, in cases where neighbours are unable to communicate on their own, the housing administrator can moderate the discussion.

“This is what happened in the case in Kaunas. At the request of the neighbours, we repeatedly talked to a resident who had been accumulating waste in her apartment and who had made her neighbours suffer from bad smells and an infestation of cockroaches.

Unfortunately, in this situation, the conversations did not help, but this is the exception, not the rule. In most cases, when neighbours engage in dialogue on their own or with the administrator’s moderation, problem situations are resolved smoothly and quickly,” says the head of Civinity namai.

The municipality takes care of social issues

Disagreements are not necessarily a sign of malice. In Naujokas’s experience, attempts to resolve a conflict peacefully can be complicated by the health condition of one or more residents.

“If you are facing social challenges in your neighbourhood, it is important to inform the municipality and the district – social care services help restore peace and tranquillity between neighbours on a daily basis,” says Naujokas.

In the case of malicious nuisance, especially noise nuisance, the police can also help.

“However, I would like to reiterate that living in an apartment block requires a willingness to get along with your neighbours and to find common solutions. So we should have tolerance for a child’s crying or other unavoidable noise outside of quiet hours and not waste the time of officers in such cases,” says the Civinity representative.

Lawyers’ involvement in exceptional cases

In more serious situations, when a disagreement cannot be resolved amicably, lawyers get involved. Often, lawyers are used by both sides of the conflict.

“But even in these cases, disagreements are far from always going to court. Lawyers help residents to present their positions in a reasoned way and find a peaceful solution,” says Naujokas.

According to the expert, resolving a conflict in court can take years, so it is imperative to try all other ways of finding a solution before doing so.

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