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How to Deal With Bad Neighbors Who Damage Your Property

by Liza Hollis

For many, a neighbor can be a trusted friend. Someone you can rely on to help you out in times of need. For others, neighbors can be your worst nightmare by causing disruptions, lowering property values in the neighborhood or even damaging your property with their negligence or maliciousness. If you are suffering from the types of neighbors who make you want to move, look into the steps you can take to handle the situation.

Assess the damage to the property. Determine what was damaged, an accurate account or a reasonable approximation of when the incident took place and a thorough description of the events leading up to the damage. Witness statements also are encouraged.

Report your claim to the police. If the damaged property was an act of vandalism, it should be reported. Even if you do not press charges at this time, a filed police report is a beneficial document to have should you need to present your case.

Contact the neighbor, and ask him to replace or repair the damaged property. If you fear an altercation, put the complaint and request in writing. Provide an accurate money amount that covers any damages. If you feel otherwise harmed, such as lost wages or pain and suffering, you might include this in the document.

Seek mediation to settle the matter. For example, contact the property manager, landlord of the building or perhaps the board of your deed-restricted neighborhood. Each side should be able to voice their complaints and concerns and seek the advice of the mediating party. If the matter is settled, such as the neighbor agrees to pay restitution, this can salvage the relationship without involving the legal system.

File suit against the neighbor to reclaim losses for damaged goods. If all else fails, legal action might be your only recourse. You will need to contact an attorney or go to a courthouse to fill out the necessary paperwork to schedule a court date. Use your documented accounts of the damage and any relevant photos to make your case in court.

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