Everyone has heard at least one story about “neighbors from hell.” Your home is your sanctuary, and residing next to unpleasant neighbors can be a living nightmare. Unfortunately, it’s often difficult to avoid such neighbors and even more challenging to deal with them.
Neighbors from hell often dismiss and ignore friendly and neighborly requests to adjust their behavior or fix their property. They are prone to say, do, and have things their way regardless of who is inconvenienced.
If you’re in a difficult situation with your neighbor, options are available to you to find a satisfactory resolution. One solution is utilizing a lawyer to send a letter to your neighbor.
What Are Examples of Neighbor Harassment?
Harassment is considered an action towards you that is recurrent and deliberate. A neighbor who unintentionally backs into your trash can is not harassment. Still, it can be if it becomes a habit or if it’s accompanied by threats and unsolicited remarks.
Under the Texas Penal Code, you commit harassment if you write or email, call, or communicate with another person, like your neighbor, with the intent of annoying, embarrassing, disturbing, or scaring them.
Some of the most common forms of harassment from neighbors are:
- Offensive, derogatory, and uncalled-for comments about sensitive topics like sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, or political views
- Calling police reinforcement repeatedly for small and petty things
- Making false reports to the police or home association
- Entering your property (like your yard) despite reminding neighbors against it numerous times
- Verbal abuse (freedom of speech doesn’t excuse them for making personal and hurtful remarks)
- Repeatedly displaying disorderly conduct on your property or your shared property
- Obscene and threatening communication transmitted verbally or through other forms of communication like email, SMS, or social media messages
- Invading your space and privacy in different ways, like stalking and watching you or any members of your family
These are potentially class B misdemeanors that are punishable by law.
What Can You Do?
If you are in Texas and are a victim of neighbor harassment, here are some steps you can take:
#1. Report them to the police
If your neighbor continues to harass you and you feel threatened, you might consider reporting them to a local law enforcement agency. However, you may not feel that your neighbor’s actions are significant enough to merit calling the authorities.
Involving the police can also be a double-edged sword — in some cases, it can further provoke your neighbor and cause the harassment to escalate. Many people are also reluctant to involve the police over what may just be a civil matter.
If you feel that you are in immediate danger, however, or that the safety of you and your family is at stake, you should not hesitate to call for help.
#2. Get a protective order
A protective order is another possibility, especially if your neighbor is stalking you, threatening you, or is acting suspiciously or dangerously.
A protective order can provide you with additional peace of mind since your neighbor will be legally prohibited from contacting you or any members of your family. At the same time, they must keep their distance from you, your family, your home, and other places where you may run into each other.
However, getting a protective order can be a difficult and sometimes expensive process, as you must go through the court system and show good cause to a judge.
#3. Get a lawyer and send a legal letter
Your neighbor might be ignoring your requests, but they will have a harder time ignoring a demand letter or a cease and desist letter from an attorney.
Lawyers frequently send cease and desist letters for clients with bothersome neighbors. Hiring a lawyer to send a letter can be expensive, but services like Demand Letters offer the service for an affordable fee.
A letter from a lawyer outlining your grievances and demands can settle a dispute with a neighbor without having to resort to the court system or law enforcement. If your neighbor fails to comply, the letter can still be useful later if you decide to pursue more drastic action.
Having a troublesome neighbor can feel like they are ruining your life, and the last thing you want to feel is bothered, harassed, or unsafe in your home. If you believe that you’re being subjected to neighbor harassment, the attorneys that work with Demand Letters may be able to help you make your home a more pleasant place to live in.