How do you deal with neighbours from hell?

It was moving day.

But Paul Michaels (not his real name) was so happy that in his mind it could have been Christmas Day for all he knew.

And his gift?

Moving away – far, far away – from his neighbour from hell.

While Michaels and his family of four didn’t leave their semi-detached home in the Bloor West Village solely because of their next-door neighbour and his questionable antics, it made the family’s move much easier.

“I was happy to get out,” says Michaels. “He was crazy.
“It was a relief to no longer be in that situation.”

Almost a decade later, Michaels still remembers the havoc his neighbour caused.

He says the middle-aged man would throw garbage and snow into his backyard. The Michaels and other neighbours caught him slashing their car tires.

And they saw him killing peoples’ plants, Michaels says. Shouting and swearing at people in the neighbourhood, were also a favoured pastime, Michaels says.

After nearly a decade of living next door, Michaels couldn’t take it anymore, and moved out.

The family’s digs are much smaller these days – a two-bedroom condo downtown – but Michaels says they were lucky they got out when they did. Who knows what other trouble his neighbour could have caused, Michaels says.

Another woman who also didn’t want to be named, isn’t so lucky. She says she still lives next door to a noisy, intrusive neighbour.

In the 14 years of living next door to each other, she says she’s caught him going through her garbage and recycling bins, smoking marijuana and, during the warm weather, hosting rowdy backyard parties well into the night.

“He’s one of the rudest people I’ve ever met,” she says. “I will never move because of him – I love my house too much – but I hate that he lives next door.”

The prime incident that sticks out in her mind is when her neighbour built a large second-floor deck overlooking her garden while she was away on summer vacation.

He had told her he was building a small deck – one that wouldn’t overlook her garden – and one that would blend in with the rest of the quaint Forest Hill neighbourhood.

He lied, she says.

Returning from her summer holidays a few weeks later she was confronted with a massive wooden deck. It wasn’t only an eyesore, but it overlooked her garden, eliminating any privacy she once had.

She called her local councillor but he never did anything about it, she says.

To combat the loss of privacy she has since put up two large market umbrellas to block her neighbour’s view into her backyard.

Stories like this aren’t new. It seems in every neighbourhood residents-from-hell accounts are as common as the sidewalks and fire hydrants.

And just as the stories range from the silly to the scary, so too are the ways to deal with such incidents.

A Google search of the phrase “neighbour from hell” reveals dozens of sites on the subject.

On Rottenneighbor.com, members list their experiences and offer others members advice on different situations. As well, people can search American cities by keyword to see if a prospective area they might be moving into has a case of bad neighbours.

A similar site in England called Neighbours from Hell in Britain lists ways people can deal with such neighbours, from calling the cops or bylaw officers to keeping a diary or file on what the individual is doing.

One thought on “How do you deal with neighbours from hell?

  • Guest

    Good article but really does not provide help in dealing with the situation where the neighbor is a sociopath as in my case. I have had to call the police for too many times and they don’t even show up any more. He is very smart in that I can usually not catch him in the act. In today’s market it will cost me about $50K to move in moving fees, real estate fees and assorted taxes, etc. and above all: HE WINS. The courts are no use, they just slap him on the wrist. So what options do I have? Move, turn my place into a fortress, rent it to a biker gang? I have a long list of his acts against my property, including slashing all 4 tires, cutting my gas line, repeatedly driving into/over my hedge, dismantling a fencepost and throwing it on my lawn, constant garbage and snow with salt and rocks on my lawn and an attempted break-in this week.

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