Rental Unit Neighbor Prodlems

15 Replies

I turned my old home into a rental this year, and the neighbor has my phone number. He calls/texts pseudo frequently with complaints, sometimes not. Currently he keeps complaining about being able to see their clothes hanging in the window (telling me to tell the tenants to keep the blinds shut) and empty beer bottles on the deck occasionally. He says he can see them from their family room... Is there any legitimacy to his complaints and how do you deal with a grumpy neighbor? Thanks for any help

@Luke Redford I wouldn't worry too much about your old neighbor however you should make sure that the tenants are not doing things to lower the appeal of the neighborhood.  I'll address with the tenants especially if they are in fact leaving beer cans on the property.  Otherwise I wouldn't sweat it!

I'd go speak with him in person and thank him for his input and you appreciate it. Let him know you'll handle it.

That is a neighboor you want to have.

Thanks for the input... I guess I'm just unsure when to intervene and when not too. I feel like the neighbor doesn't have a right to tell me/them where to hang their clothes (or if they can be visible in the Windows.) And I guess I see the backyard as their area, and if they want to have a cooler back there then that's their right. He sent me a picture where he saw 3 beer bottles so it's not like there was a ton. The backyard is visible from my neighbors window tho... Am I wrong, is there a level of cleanliness they need to maintain that's not written in the lease?

Maybe you should call your neighbor and tell him thanks, etc but that the lease you had your tenants sign doesn't prohibit those behaviors and that hope he can overlook it or just get blinds etc...and say you will try to find a lease that is more detailed for when these tenants leave and new ones move in. I expect he is upset that he now lives next to a rental unit and is afraid the property will go downhill .

 @Luke Redford

I agree with @Rosston Smith . In addition to that, I'd say the real problem is not the beer cans or washing, though it can get out of control.

What you need to address first is the neighbour's feelings. He feels wronged that he is now subjected to viewing underpants while having a rest. He might be truly suffering from it. I'd say he needs to be heard and his grievances recognized. 

Give him a call and say with empathy: "You feel upset that you have to see beer cans". Then let him do the talking. Let him get it off his heart. Don't argue that three beer cans is a negligible wrongdoing. All he needs is empathy. He also may need to be recognised as the one who is "right", and the tenants are "wrong", that he is a "good man" and has been one all his life. 

He may not have the right to critisize you or your tenants but relationships between neighbours aren't business relationships. You can handle it with grace and strengthen your relationship with the neighbour. 

I suggest you read a book "Non-Violent Communication" by Marshall Rosenberg. It will be a great help to you not only as a landlord but in other spheres of life too. 

Hi..  You probably solved the issue already, but if not and from my understanding we talk about the rear patio. Well my solution that I use for one of my rentals..I change the fence... from chain link to high wood fence...  It solved all problems. Privacy on my tenants and a "wood" view for my neighbors . Plus I will definitely drop another point in the contract.  My lease gains every year another few points. I renew the lease every year... With or without the tenant leaving. 

If you're annoyed by the contact, request that he no longer contact you by phone. If he continues to do so it would be considered harassment and you may contact the police. Sounds like a nosy neighbor whining about things he has no right to...

Modern smart phones also make it pretty easy to block a number. It will never ring or accept a text message.

I like neighbors like this but have a friendly face-to-face with both sides. Tenant could have something to say about Mr. "Get Off My Lawn" next door and might not appreciate the free security guard. Hear everyone out and ask each to try just a little more compromise. Do you hear Kumbaya music playing somewhere? Good luck.

Well, I think you want to tread a fine line here. On one hand it's great to have a neighbor that watches over your house, but to have someone actually look into your tenant's windows and not liking what he sees is way overboard. If I was the tenant and maybe heard about this from my landlord, I would really feel harassed by the neighbor and knowing that every little move I make would be watched by him would make me feel uncomfortable in my home. That, in turn, might make me want to move. 

So, you want to think twice about bringing these observations up to your tenants, because it will definitely create bad feelings between them, if they aren't there, yet. But you should have an honest conversation with your neighbor , find out if there's something else that they're doing that he has a problem with, but where he instead uses petty little things to complain. You know like the blow up fight between a couple about which end to squeeze the toothpaste is actually about something very different. 

Install some proper blinds on the windows

Tell your tenants the outside of the house, the grounds need to be kept clear of debris and garbage needs to go in the trash. Take some photos of the trash that's left out. 

Might have been the rowdy beer party the neighbor is really trying to say went on. Who know's !!

At least the neighbor is calling you instead of the cops or the city inspector.

I'd pay closer attention to the tenants and give the neighbor a wave, and thank him for letting you know.

Thanks for all the help guys...

@Deanna McCormick  There are blinds in the windows... but if they choose to have them open sometimes, isn't that there right? The neighbor offered at first contact that they didn't have a big party or anything, just left some stuff out... maybe things like that don't bother me as much as they do others.

@Michaela G. There have already been issues of the neighbor looking in the windows etc, and they wish the neighbor would just talk to them, the neighbor responds with "I don't want to talk to a tenant I want to talk to the owner" which seems odd to me. 

Account Closed Thanks but the fence is already wood, they're family area is on the 2nd story so that's why they get a pretty literal birds eye view

Totally agree with @Rosston Smith and @Katrina M. . Let them communicate with you, but you could take them with a grain of salt for the silly ones. 

Text Reply
I would reply with, "Thank you! Unfortunately I can't force him to close his window blinds or move the clothes, but if you see anything that is urgent, let me know and I can speak with them. "

What I would do
If it was about temporary existence of clothes/beer, I wouldn't tell the tenant. That's ridiculous.

Other ideas
You could also tell them to email you an entire list and you will review it to see which you can help with, if any.
A long email would irk me less so it's not exploding my phone.

Market Thoughts
This definitely sounds like a stuffy Lynnwood dilemma. Imagine if you were in Bellevue! (laughs)

Originally posted by @Luke Redford :

@Ryan R.I've thought about blocking his #... have you done this before for a real estate issue? I was unsure if that was appropriate. Maybe it's because I lived next to him before but I agree with the nosy neighbor whining comment

It is appropriate any time you feel somebody is annoying you or harassing you and you feel it should not continue. It's up to you to decide if it's appropriate. Once you ask, if they keep bothering you, it will be the other person's fault if you have to take further action.

Last week I had to get a restraining order on a tenant, I guess you could say that's an extreme version of that.

if is 2 Floors .. You can do what i did to my condo unit ... Tinted Window https://www.amazon.com/Mirror-Window-Film-Wide-Roll/dp/B004S7HPJ0. Bottom line you need to limit you neighbour curiosity . What he does can be easy considered invasion of privacy to be actionable under the common law tort of “intrusion” or the “right to privacy”. Good Or bad neighbour i don't know i will  definitely try to build something (even planting a few fast growing trees) that will stay out the inside house of your tenants... Outside is another story for maybe another time..

I have similar situations all the time. My response is always the same. ......... "thank you for letting me know, I will look into it"

I make no commitment to correct the situation and assess the situation case by case as to whether I will contact the tenant or not. In the examples you give I would not bother contacting the tenant. Most problems of this nature clear themselves.

Join the Largest Real Estate Investing Community

Basic membership is free, forever.