Working Out Problems With Neighbors

handshakeIn neighbor relations, there are generally two dissatisfactions:

  • safety or health issues
  • individual taste issues

Golden Valley has ordinances to protect overall community safety and health, and property maintenance issues, but when it comes to matters of taste, neighbors sometimes just have to work through it together.

Discussing an issue directly with your neighbor before calling the City not only cuts down on the number of complaints and grievances that turn into taxpayer burdens, it also goes a long way in making sure your neighborhood is safe, well-maintained, and quibble-free.

Ordinance Violations

If the neighbor’s behavior is actually a violation of an ordinance, here are some tips for dealing with the issue.

  • Get the facts. Is the issue a one-time problem or a constant occurrence? Figure out who is responsible for the disturbance so you can address the proper party.
  • Vent your feelings to a friend or spouse before you approach your neighbor. Write out your issue so you’re clear about what is bothering you and what you want done.
  • Arrange a time to meet with your neighbor, and choose a neutral location. When you get together, speak calmly and stick to the facts. The goal is to create a cooperative atmosphere. Attacking your neighbor won’t help. Instead, ask for help finding a solution. Write a letter presenting your concern(s) if you are uncomfortable meeting in person.
  • Give objective reasons why the behavior may not be in the best interest of the neighborhood. Find common ground and focus on what you do agree on. If necessary, tactfully point out the ordinance in question.
  • Couple a complaint with a suggested solution, and search for a solution that satisfies everyone. You may not get exactly what you want, but good relations with your neighbors are certainly worth some compromise.
  • Be open. Neighborly relations are a two-way street. If your neighbor approaches you with a legitimate complaint—listen and be open.

When Diplomacy Fails

If you can’t reach an agreement, inform the City about your complaint or, for issues that aren't addressed in City ordinances, use a mediation service to resolve the matter. Community Mediation Services, Inc provides mediation services to residents, businesses, schools, and organizations in north and west Hennepin County. For more information, go to or www.communitymediations.org or call 763-561-0033.