Secrets on how to be a good neighbour

By Todd Lewys

No matter whether you live in a single-family home, side-by-side, townhome or condo, each of those living situations has one thing is common.

That commonality? You’re someone’s neighbour.

And while each living arrangement is different, a common theme runs through each: the need to be considerate of others, whether you share a common wall, or an acre of land separates your homes.

Here are a few guidelines — divided into two different scenarios — that will help you be the best neighbour possible:


Single-Family Detached/Attached Homes

• Be friendly. This entails welcoming new neighbours to your neighbourhood and consistently striking up conversations with next door neighbours rather than just giving them a curt nod of your head when you see them.

• Maintain your home to the same standard as the rest of the street. Simply put, no one likes an eyesore. Mow your lawn, trim shrubs and trees, keep your home’s exterior in tip-top shape and make sure you keep the driveway and yards clutter-free. Doing this will ensure harmony reigns in the neighbourhood.

• Limit noise. Truth be told, no one expects you or your family to be quiet as a tiny little church mouse. That said, don’t rev your car engine when you start it to go to work at six in the morning, and, if at all possible, wait to mow the lawn or snow blow your driveway until 10 a.m.

• Be party conscious. No one begrudges a good get-together with friends or family. However, if conversations on the backyard deck or patio are still going strong at 10 in the evening — and those areas are close to your neighbour’s bedroom — take the party inside to put a lid on the noise. You’d appreciate the gesture. So will your neighbour(s).

• Maintain control of pets. This means keeping Sparky in the yard and bringing him in — pronto — if he won’t stop barking. No one wants to clean dog poop from their front lawn or listen to their neighbour’s dog yammering away for 30 minutes or better at any time of the day.

• Drive the speed limit. If you live in a family-oriented neighbourhood where lots of kids are running around, slow down from Mach 3 and drive down your street — and neighbouring streets — at 30 to 40 kilometres per hour. There’s no need to test out your reaction time.

• Strive to get along. If you do get into a disagreement with a neighbour, don’t let it fester. Go over, have a calm conversation and find common ground. Take the high road if required. No one wants to have to move unless it’s a necessity.


Condominiums/Attached Dwellings

• Be aware of shared walls. This means keeping a lid on sound levels on things like music, movies and home maintenance. For example, don’t try to hammer a nail into a shared wall after 8 p.m. Wait for the next day; your neighbour will appreciate it.

• Limit conversations in hallways. While it’s fine to see off guests for a minute or two when they leave, keep long conversations inside. In condos, noise carries more than you realize so try to be considerate.

• Parking peeves. Few things are worse than arriving at your parking spot only to find you’ll need to perform an elaborate series of contortions to get into your car. Do your best to leave a reasonable amount of space between your car and neighbouring vehicles. People will genuinely appreciate the gesture.

• Mind music and movies. This issue can’t be emphasized enough, especially for those who live in condos. Sound carries in wood frame buildings, and in narrow hallways where entrance doors line up. If possible, watch movies or listen to music using headphones. Otherwise, try to maintain reasonable sound levels.

• Don’t stomp down the stairs or around units. Be light-footed when going up and down stairs in wood frame buildings and do the same when in your unit. Your neighbour below will appreciate it.

Strive to follow these simple guidelines, and you’ll be the best neighbour ever!