Being Harassed by Neighbors? Here’s how to take Action

by RyanD on August 29, 2012

(US law and generally) Harassment is a serious issue, and though we might expect it on the street or even at work, it often blindsides us when we are at home. In some cases, the worse harassment comes from your neighbors, and if your neighbors are engaging in harassment directed towards you, your family and your property, you need to take action. Harassment is not necessarily something that goes away on its own, and it can have far-reaching effects that touch every aspect of your life. If your neighbor is harassing you, consider some essential steps.

Identify
First, identify the harassing behavior. One common form that harassment takes involves police agencies. For example, your neighbor may start calling in noise complaints to the police directed at your property. He or she might also surreptitiously destroy your property or damage it. These behaviors may seem minor at first, but they can escalate, and even if they do not, they may be persistent. Harassing behavior can have some profound effects on your life and your health, so take it seriously.

Document
Document everything. If the police come to your home, ascertain why the came and the name of the officers in question. If you notice damage on your property, take pictures of it, and if you have any threatening confrontations with your neighbor, write down the date and the subject of the confrontation. If they ever touch you or act in a way that is unwelcome, mark that down as well. A log like this can help you establish a pattern of harassing behavior if the matter needs to come to legal issues. You will also find that in some states, recording your conversations with someone else is entirely legal. Before you do this, however, you should always make sure that you know what the laws in your area are like.

Communicate
Talk to other neighbors. You may find that you are far from being the first victim of this kind of abuse. Many people who harass one person are willing to harass more, and you will find that this kind of behavior might be wide-spread, even if you have never heard about it before. When you are asking around, speak to your neighbors in a calm and deliberate manner. Tell them that you are not interested in causing trouble, but that you have been feeling very frustrated and angry. This is something that can help you figure out if there is a pattern to the harassment and if others have gone through the same thing that you have. If you find that other people are suffering too, you will discover that this can strengthen your case significantly.

Be very clear in confrontations with your neighbor. It is not typically advised that you confront your neighbor but some contact may be unavoidable. If you need to simply ignore your neighbor and to remove yourself from the situation, then do so.

Contacting Legal Authorities
It is important not to take harassment from a neighbor lightly. If they have gone to some trouble to harass you with police presence, your life can easily be disrupted. Most of the time, the violations that they have accused you of will simply result in a warning, but in other cases, you may fined or worse. These are things that can have a lasting impact on your life, even if the original charge seems ridiculous or like something that would be quickly dismissed.

Harassment from a neighbor can quickly become an issue that impacts your life in a big way. Ehow states that you should take a moment to consider contacting an attorney, especially if the police have been involved (http://www.ehow.com/how_2140660_deal-harassing-neighbor.html). Make sure that you know your legal rights and that you understand what recourse you have.

This article was written on behalf of Avalon Construction in Malibu, CA, a leading custom home builder in Southern California.

RyanD

RyanD

RyanD

Latest posts by RyanD (see all)

  • Doctor b

    Our neighbor has put up a high intensity floodlight that is focused on our front door,;it does not shine on his property at all.

  • Lex

    What if its the other way around? My friends neigbor was asked nicely multiple times to fix his key fob so it would stop honking 26 plus times in a row at 6am day after day. They called the police. Three years later from the first call to the police and he gets in his car every morning at 6:15 and revvs his car to the point it sounds like it could blow up, drives up the street with his window down staring at my friends, peels out and yells comments about how he thinks they’re racists. My friends called the police because he can’t get a life and move on and continues to try and intimidate them. He finally snaps at my friend when shes home alone because she flipped him off for again driving past her with his windows down, revving his engine and glaring at her. He peeled out in reverse up the street and came back infront of her house to start something so her and her husband filed a protection order. He got mad and filed one back and calls the cops on them when they go to the grocery store, if they mow their yard and his cars are deliberatly parked in front of their yard and because my friend flipped him off. Not only is he wasting tax dollars but hes using the city to harass them. Sometimes calling the police because a neighbor finds it entertaining to make unacceptable amounts of noice before the 7am city ordinance is the only choice you have.

    • K MCA

      I have to agree with Lex; Police are there to ‘serve and protect and keep the peace’; if you can not call on them when a neighbor is creating significant amounts of noise pollution (constant barking dog in my case) then where else do you turn?

      • gary

        I wood shoot his dam dogs then and slep good

    • gary

      burn his car at 3 in the morning if that does not stop get 3 men to go kick his ass that well stop it

    • DubhBairn

      In my opinion I am having issues with a neighbor’s wife. The male (husband) is a deputy. She has harassed and made accusations about other neighbors with NO proof. I wouldn’t put it past her to use her husband’s resources to look up about people.. Recently she verbally assaulted me while I was outside and has in the past vandalized my yard as well as allowing her adult son to throw loud parties and stay up till 4am yelling. All the while as the “deputy” watches or is present. I have made several reports and called the cops this last time.. I was told by cops to NOT engage in verbal abuse coming at me and to Call them. unfortunately for me I did this last time but will NOT do that again.

      In TX we have a Class C for this type of thing; so they also told me to INVEST heavily into security cameras. I am in the process of doing this. I will also be investing into a camera that records AUDIO. This way I can capture her the next time she does what she did this last time. With that – she will eventually not be able to control herself and will do it again but with AUDIO there is NO question to the cops who is assaulting who.. of course she won’t know it records audio !!!!

      I suggest talking to an attorney and get some cameras!! This will deter them and if it doesn’t get an attorney and take them to court. Have COPS do an investigation into the issues. GOOD LUCK!

  • frustrated

    What do you do if you have filed bankruptcy against your neighbor and now they are now doing other things to you and or your family to make life even harder, because of personal vendetta? Can they do that because they where once a creditor.

    • gary

      make shower theres no witnesses and beat the hell out of them and that well stop

  • lilith

    If a neighbor takes pictures of you and your family, going to work, coming from work, during cleaning your garage, your parked trucks, reporting you to housing, for no reason(literally no reason). Neighbors have told us he has taken photos while we were cleaning our garage. We caught him taking pictures of us while we were taking things out of our truck into our garage (tools) to be specific. I have not had words with him, but I am wondering what rights do I have before I blow up. I feel invaded, threatened, I’m am always watching now as I leave my home, to see if he is watching taking photos. I have two teenage daughters and worry about them. This has been going on for a long time and I am thinking of going to the authorities but wondering if it would be a waste of time. I worry about myself and my family. What do I do?
    invaded

    • gary

      I wood bet the hell out of him that will stop it

  • Candida Calderon

    my neighbor wont leave me alone. I’m 11 and she is trying to get my good friend against me. she has ran over my bush with her bike, tried to run over my chickens and pulled down 2 of our trees. she yelled at me saying ” I DONT LIKE YOU AND NEITHER DOES MY FRIEND!! THAT IS YOUR FRIEND!!!!” she also used to be my friend. she also messed up my gmas truck with a taser!!! when we were friends, she walked in our home like it was hers. she had a present for me then walked in the house and took it back to hers. so on Christmas, i went to her house to unwrap the gift. i unwrap it head out the door and she stops me, takes the gift and tells me “you cant have it.”. can you please tell me what we should do she also attempted to set me on fire.

  • Mony

    My neighbor has some mental problems, not taking medicine correctly and drinks. She was just hospitalized over 2 months ago and when she got back everything was fine, till yesterday. now going on with the 3rd time of her harassing me and my kids, making it very hard to be outside or even just take my trash out. It is like she watches when we are outside and then comes out using bad language and being loud verbally. Now the issue is my fence is a foot over in her property line and wants me to remove my fence or she will. She was yelling last night standing at my fence, grabbed my rake out of my yard, told me to get it if I wanted it. (I did not) then she picked it up walked a block over and walked back without my rake. I have called the cops couple of times they can’t do anything.

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