Bad Neighbours: How to Deal with Them

Toronto Life
bad neighbour by moon angel
Good Neighbour / Bad Neighbour by Moon Angel

It doesn’t matter whether you live in a charming and peaceful neighbourhood or in a hectic part of town; there’s always a risk that you won’t get along with your neighbour very well. Nuisances such as loud music, the neighbour’s dogs relieving themselves in front of your house, or the neighbour’s car parked in your space might seem unimportant and trivial; however, on a daily basis they’re real atrocities. Everyone has the right to have a peaceful living environment and if it’s violated by the people living next door, you have to speak up and confront the problem. Here are some tips that should help you to settle disputes with your neighbours.

Communicate With Your Neighbours

You can’t avoid neighbour disputes if you don’t communicate with them. Maintaining a good relationship with your neighbour doesn’t mean that you have to spend all your free time with them, but it’s the best way to prevent conflicts. First of all, you have to know your neighbours so that you can trust and understand them. Conflicts tend to arise much more between strangers and just an occasional chit-chat with your neighbour will significantly decrease the probability of a dispute. This might not be possible in all cases, but even if you don’t talk to your neighbour at all and you’re unable to get along with her or him, you have to bring up the issue. It’s possible that your neighbour isn’t aware of bothering you, so try to approach him in a calm and constructive way rather than being accusatory. Bringing in a possible solution favourable to both sides is a good way to deal with neighbour problems. Don’t forget to show a willingness to compromise. Furthermore, if you’re planning an activity that might be disturbing to your neighbours, let them always know in advance.

Are You The Only One Who Has Problems?

Bad Neighbors by Shawn Allen
Bad Neighbours by Shawn Allen

If discussing the issue with your neighbour doesn’t solve anything, try to find out if anybody else has the same problem with her. It’s possible that you’re not the only one whose life is affected by the nuisance. More people approaching the troublemaker with the same concern might have more influence on her. If you’re part of a condo or community association, try to discuss your issues with them and resolve the dispute more easily and cheaply.

Where to Find Advice Online

People from around the world who have similar neighbour problems discuss their issues and help each other out through online forums and message boards such as Neighbours From Hell and AnnoyingNeighbors.com. These sites offer an abundance of bad neighbour stories that can help you find a solution or realize that your problem is not a big deal.

Mediation

If you and your neighbour aren’t able to resolve the dispute, you might want to get help from a mediation service. An impartial professional trained in dealing with issues such as yours can help you and your neighbour understand each other’s opinions and find a solution. A mediator usually speaks to everyone involved and arranges a meeting between you and your neighbour. The meetings usually don’t last longer than a day and 80 per cent of mediations are settled before going to court with another 5 per cent resolved shortly afterward. The mediator communicates with both parties and sets ground rules for the discussion, makes sure that the views of both sides are heard, and suggests a way to move forward. If both parties are able to agree, they sign a mediation contract, which is not legally binding but which people tend to follow since it’s an arrangement they’ve worked out and signed.

the ADR Institute of Canada
The ADR Institute of Canada

There are communities with free mediations run by volunteers who are educated and instructed on how to resolve issues. Some condo boards offer free mediation that residents have to go through before taking their dispute to court. Furthermore, there are special organizations such as the ADR Institute of Canada that promote mediation nationally and provide a directory of mediators on the websites. The usual fees are between $1,500 to $3,000 for a half-day to full-day session and the cost is usually split between both neighbours.

Court

Taking your dispute to court is the last resort after you’ve tried all other means of solving the problem. Be prepared to provide evidence of damages and that you might not speak to your neighbour again. The cost of your lawsuit depends on your province and the size of your claim. If it’s between $5,000 and $25,000, your case will be heard in a small claims court, which means that you must represent yourself without a lawyer. If your claim is higher than $25,000, your case will be heard in Superior Court and you’ll have a lawyer available. It means that if you lose, you’ll have to pay your neighbour’s legal expenses as well as your own, plus the damages you’re required to pay.

Toronto Neighbour Bylaws

Noise

Is your neighbour bothering you with loud stereos, barking dogs, or noisy equipment even after you’ve talked to the person? You should contact 311 and file a complaint about noise that’s in contravention of the noise bylaw. Don’t forget to mention the actual street address when submitting a service request for investigation by Municipal Licensing & Standards. Afterwards, the City might send the occupants of the property a notice advising them that neighbours are being disturbed by their actions and of the possibility for further action through court if the disturbance continues. If the source of the noise is a gathering, party, dispute, yelling, or screaming in the neighbour’s home, the best way to deal with it is to call the police at the time of the occurrence.

Noisy Neighbours by Floyd Wilde
Noisy Neighbours by Floyd Wilde

Animals

The Toronto animal bylaw establishes restrictions on how many pets Torontonians can keep in their homes. Chapter 349 of the Toronto Municipal Code establishes that no one is allowed to keep in any dwelling unit more than six dogs, cats, ferrets, and rabbits, in any combination with the number of dogs capped at three. Furthermore the rules prohibit keeping an animal in an unsanitary condition and the owner is required to provide her pets with adequate and appropriate care, food, water, shelter, exercise, attention, and veterinary care.

The licensing of dogs and registration of cats is obligatory in the City of Toronto. If your dog or cat is found to be unlicensed, you can be issued a ticket for $240, which if unpaid can become a fine of up to $5,000. Toronto Animal Services provide licensing and deals with all important issues concerning animals in Toronto.

If you’re a dog owner, don’t forget to scoop your pet’s poop and keep him on a leash when on public streets, parks, or buildings. A list of off-leash zones is provided by Toronto Parks, Forestry & Recreation on their web pages.

Fences

According to Toronto fence bylaws, you do not need a permit to build a fence unless it’s for a swimming pool enclosure. However, there are some restrictions, so contact your local buildings office before you build. A line fence, located on the property boundary, belongs to both property owners. People don’t have to share the cost of a fence but are both responsible for keeping it in good shape, and they cannot take it down without the permission of the second party. To help resolve any disputes between property owners, the City of Toronto has set up an impartial arbitration process under the Provincial Line Fences Act, R.S.O. 1990, Chapter L.17.

Trees

My Neighbours by Dennis Crowley
My Neighbours by Dennis Crowley

The Private Tree Bylaw was adopted to protect trees situated on private property and to assist in sustaining the urban forest in the City as well as to educate individuals with respect to tree protection measures and alternatives to tree injury and destruction. It regulates the injury or removal of privately owned trees that measure 30 centimetres in diameter or more as measured at 1.4 metres above ground level.

If your neighbour’s tree branches hang over your property, you can cut and trim them, but only up to the property line. Furthermore, if your tree damages your neighbour’s property, you aren’t responsible unless you caused the damage intentionally or through negligence. That means that you’re responsible for the damage if you didn’t take reasonable care or you were warned or knew the tree was damaged or diseased and could fall.

56 thoughts on “Bad Neighbours: How to Deal with Them

July 19, 2013 at 7:33 pm
Erin says:

I have been dealing with bad neighbours for the past 8 years or so. Mine have been know for drugs and alcohol but the local law enforcement have been unable to “catch them in the act” aside from this, the older kids, over the past few years have cut holes in my fence, destroyed my gardens, flowerbeds, thrown garbage and broken glass onto my property, have harrassed me while I have been out cleaning up the aftermath of their destructive behaviour to my property. I have made several complaints to the local RCMP but I feel that even their coming over to “defuse” these situations have done no good and have only added fuel to the fire. I have put up No Tresspassing signs, just to find them missing after a few days. I have put up home security cameras outside just to find them knocked down and destroyed. I’m at my wits end. I love having friends and family over to enjoy the beautiful backyard that I work hard at to keep but cant because it is just not enjoyable anymore. I love my home and the area that I’m in and would hate to think of having to move, but this is seeming like the only option I have left. Is there any advice that you can give to give some fresh ideas and a hopeful outlook on being able to relax and enjoy my home and yard again?

Thank You so much.
Erin

Reply
July 22, 2013 at 5:19 am
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi Erin!

Home should be a place of relaxation, and it really saddens me when I hear stories like yours! I can understand how it must feel when your peace is disturbed, and hard work undermined.
Have you already had any chance to talk to them? My advice would be to talk to the neighbours once more, and explain to them that you would like both parties to enjoy the privacy of your homes, and how to go about that. If this does not help, then I do suggest you call the police if harassment gets worse. It might also be worthwhile contacting a lawyer to give you her opinion.
I’m afraid moving sometimes really is the best option, but I’ll have my fingers crossed that this won’t be necessary. Keep us posted!

Best of luck to you,

Jamie

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February 25, 2014 at 1:08 pm
Matt says:

When buying or selling, what are the rules in regards to disclosing the neighbour’s behaviour? Is the owner under obligation to let the buyer know of past conflicts with neighbours?

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February 25, 2014 at 6:01 pm
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi Matt,

I asked my lawyer your question and he thinks you would only have an obligation if you were aware that your neighbour was a dangerous criminial, or a convicted pedophile.

I hope this helps,

Jamie

March 23, 2014 at 7:18 pm
Wellergen Paul says:

I have an uncivilized tribe staying next door who never maintains their property, never mows their lawn in summer nor clear the snow in winter. The house does not have any decent shingles left. In addition he has 6 junk cars inside his property. Now does not have any more space to park his working junk and parks it just opposite to my driveway entrance. It makes me difficult for me and my guest to reverse and back out our vehicles into the road. Requested him to park a little away from the entrance to my driveway and his response was “I AM PARKING ON THE PUBLIC ROAD”. Well, this idiot does not realize that the public road is meant for others too who pay their taxes to the city. Tired of calling the parking. Now I am officially going to lodge a police complaint.

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March 25, 2014 at 5:37 am
Jamie S. says:

Hello, Paul!
I am very sorry to hear that. Unfortunately, there are people who do not seem to realize that their contribution to the common good is something they would benefit from themselves. I think your indignation is justified. Let us hope that the police will take care of the problem. Feel free to share your thoughts on how it went!
Jamie

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April 3, 2014 at 7:31 pm
Cee says:

Great article. The part about communication is so important. I have an elderly neighbour who has called Municipal L&S on everyone on our street, the city investigates and closes each file because the problems she called about don’t exist. We had horrible damage from the ice storm in our back yard and have started cleaning it up since the ice is starting to melt and she waited 3 months to talk to us about it. When she came to the door, she was very aggressive – swearing – I calmly explained to her that the weather is interfering with efforts to clean and we will clean it up as soon as possible. The following week, a Municipal L&S officer comes to the door with complaints about more than just the backyard. We moved here in September and she has phoned on us atleast once a month, not just the 311 line but police, CAS, anyone she can find who will listen to her nonsense. Her and her relatives constantly park in our designated parking spot so we’ve had to be the “unfriendly” ones and put up a no parking sign. We really love our neighbourhood, other neighbours and our home. It’s a shame that taxpayer money is being wasted by this woman phoning in unfounded complaints and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it other than move. I have contacted my local counsellor in hopes that they can do an investigation about the abuse of the 311 complaint system. I really feel harassed but it feels like no one takes it seriously because she appears like a “friendly, lonely old lady”

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May 19, 2014 at 11:22 pm
Jer says:

Thanks for the great article!

We have an existing chain-link fence at the backyard that marks our property line. Due to privacy reasons, we decide to erect another wooden fence next to it. This new fence is about 1 foot away from the existing chain-link fence (which remains undisturbed), it is inside my property and it has not exceeded Toronto’s height limit. I paid for everything.

My neigbor intially agreed that I can build it but later complain that the new fence is too tall and is depriving him from the “forest view” behind my own backyard. Previously, he actually had to look over the chain-link fence, into my backyard and then beyond to see that forest.

This is not a dispute about property line, nor about money. I want my privacy and my fence is not violating the city law. He just doesn’t want my new fence to block his diagonal view of the forest. Can he force me to take down my new fence just because he no longer agrees to have such a partition? He kept stressing that both parties (of a semi-detached) must be in agreement about the fence, otherwise it has to be taken down.

Any opinions will be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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September 11, 2014 at 6:59 pm
Susan says:

My neighbour’s new passion is cutting wood, building structures and taking them down and grinding metal for no reason at all. I’ve tried to talk to him but he’s pretty surly. Tore my vines down when I asked him to stop working on a Sunday. I understand the City of TO noise/construction by-laws. But do they apply to someone who is doing this is a hobby? This entire family has a sense of entitlement. They believe the noise bylaw allows them to make noise from 7-6 on weekdays and 9-5 on Saturdays. Apparently someone called 311 and a Noise By-Law Officer dropped by, but this has just given them more incentive to make noise like dropping lumber at 7 am. Has anyone else had this kind of experience? I appreciate all advice. Thank you.

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September 12, 2014 at 7:04 am
Jamie says:

Hi Susan, looks like your problem is a bit more complex.

Firstly, your neighbour had no right to tear down your vines and also to work with the machinery you described on Sunday. The law of course doesn’t exclude people who proclaim to have a hobby in construction and applies to all construction related work, no matter what the purpose is. It’s true that law expressly prohibits making construction noise from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. on weekdays, to 9 a.m. on Saturday and whole Sunday and statutory holidays. However, it also says: “No person shall make, cause or permit noise or vibration, at any time, which is likely to disturb the quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment, comfort or convenience of the inhabitants of the City.” (§ 591-2.). Although your neighbour has right to perform his hobbies, he should also respect the well-being of others.

What you could do to resolve your situation is to speak with other residents in your neighbourhood and find out if they are offended by the noise as well. The more people approach the neighbour who makes the noise, the higher the chance he will listen to reason. Be sure however to point out your reasons and be respectful. You should explain that you don’t want him to never touch a power tool again, all you need him to do is to reduce the noise. Another option might be writing him a letter – in a polite and friendly manner, signed by all the neighbours that are affected and explaining the situation you’ve outlined. It’s always better to find a peaceful solution, than try to put a pressure on him, because that might be received only as a provocation. If the reasoning fails, then there is no other way than turning to authorities.

I hope that my advice was helpful to you and that you will find common ground.

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September 23, 2014 at 10:09 pm
john says:

Hello,
I have been living in my Toronto home for nearly 10 years. I bought it while it was getting built in 2004. My neighbor lives in her home for nearly 30 years. Not only we are having property line dispute, she is also causing property damage. She has cut all the vent pipes on my wall, and stuffed it with garbage, plastic bags, rocks…etc. She also damaged my rain gutter/downspout pipe. Unfortunately, all the vent pipes, water meter, rain gutter pipes are all faced on the side that she has easy access to. I have a recent survey of my home, and 1.5 foot from my wall is mine but she doesn’t allow me to use my space. She also doesn’t allow me to put up a fence (I’ve tried numerous times, she tore it down). I am not able to prove the damages is caused by her because she is breaking the surveillance camera by hiring masked men. What can I do?

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December 8, 2014 at 11:37 am
Beth says:

I have a question about fences.
This coming summer we plan on renovating our backyard. Our next door neighbour and ourselves have a back fence running along the back of both of our properties that was erected by the neighbour that has the home abutting the back of our properties. My next door neighbour, did an informal survey with his friend and said that the fence constructed is 2 feet + over into our backyards.
With our small lots sizes and property being at a premium here in Toronto, this makes a huge difference to us.
The back neighbour constructed the fence without any consultation with the neighbours and without a survey. They also put the “ugly side of the fence” towards all the neighbours. And this happened before I moved in.
I have lived here for 10 years, so the fence has been up for 10+ years. What are our options at this time. A loss of 2+ feet to our lot is significant. We moved in, in 2005, and the fence was constructed before that time. Exactly when I don’t know.
Thank you for your advice

Reply
December 8, 2014 at 12:04 pm
Beth says:

As an aside – sadly these are not people you can talk to. They have had the city called on them numerous times for a variety of complaints from the neighbours and seem to have a vocabulary of only curse words.

Reply
December 9, 2014 at 6:32 am
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi Beth,
This is a difficult situation. I understand you’re disappointed that you lost 2+ft from your lot, but at the same time, you can’t take the fence down. Try to contact the authorities and ask them about the solution. You can find the contacts here: link to ontario.ca and the information on the Line Fences Act here: link to e-laws.gov.on.ca
Best regards,
Jamie Sarner

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January 24, 2015 at 11:35 pm
Sandra says:

Hi, I live in a semi attached home and my neighbours next door have no curtains and I want privacy into my backyard because when I to work in the morning he’s drinking his coffee with no shirt like a creep watching me as I take the car from the garage. I find him always watching whT u do even if it’s just putting the garbage out. I want to put up a legal height fence for privacy. What do you recommend?
Thanks sandra viegas

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April 19, 2015 at 11:16 am
Ricthan says:

My son applied for a variance through the Town to change his attached carport in to an attached garage with complete new roof on the home. Letters were sent to all surrounds neighbour and meetings at the Town were attended by many. He got the permission, permits, etc. Construction took a couple of months and then was inspected by the Town. More than two years later his neighbour has filed a complaint against him demanding he pay for a survey..the Town has complied by sending my son a letter to have one done. My question is why doesn’t the complaining neighbour have to pay for the survey? It’s like gathering evidence for the prosecution. The Town tells him to try and settle with the neighbour, but when I son spoke to him and asked what he could do to settle his concerns amicably, the neighbour made him wait a few weeks and then said he didn’t know and that he was leaving the complaint in place. I don’t believe this is right. Can I complain about anyone and make them get a survey to appease me? We’re talking in the neighbourhood of $1000. And why did he not complain when the renovations were taking place? My son had no reason to assume there was an issue.

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May 11, 2015 at 12:47 pm
TGen says:

My semi-detached neighbours, while nice and quiet people, are very messy and bohemian. They have so many trees plants growing wild, and we try not to interfere. However, their porch is an absolute mess, and when we wanted to increase the privacy fence to eye level between the 2 porches, they’re refusing to allow it, saying it will reduce the evening light into their living area (which is half-nonsense, since their opaque curtains are always drawn anyway). Don’t know what to do about the eyesore which is their porch. Everyone who visits our place comments on the state of our neighbour’s porch. We’re stuck.

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May 18, 2015 at 5:57 pm
dneighb says:

My neighbor is a troubled one . every two weeks fighting with his ex on phone about church or something else calling her C word and yelling and throwing shit around . yelling around my door or my window calling Fa**t etc . another week he listens to super religious chants and then starts exorcism around my door and calling darkness away from his family and church . its sad and funny sometimes but annoying . because he wants reaction from me and i didnt give him one . also he never says anything in my face , or never came to my door if he has any problem with me.

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July 22, 2015 at 3:16 pm
Aileen Campbell says:

My Mom and I are both disabled and seniors and the neighbour across the road is selling drugs, break ‘n enter, damaging our property all the time and the Police here refuse to help. We have lived here since 1966 and are being harassed, bullied and taken advantage of in every way as these neighbours want us to move out of here so they can do as they please.
In desperate need of your help now!!!!

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November 1, 2015 at 11:12 pm
IR says:

Hey Jamie – thanks for this article (which is obviously still a great resource years after you published it). Wondering about this situation: we have a shared driveway with the neighboring house, and each property has a two-car garage. Both houses are rentals, and the neighboring landlord also rents out their garage to non-tenants. The new garage renters are working on cars every night until as late as 1am. They’re relatively quiet given what they’re doing, but there’s constant action in the driveway, which is often blocked. Our house has two families with small children as tenants, and our place doesn’t seem like a quiet family house in a nice neighborhood anymore. Now it’s loud engines and big trucks, and strangers walking around outside our bedroom all night. I don’t know what to do. Our landlord and the neighboring landlord don’t have a great relationship. Any advice? I can’t seem to find any regulations about use of rented garages specifically, and they’re just quiet enough that, if they’re entitled to be there at any hour, I don’t think I can justify a noise complaint. Aaacckkk… Thanks…

Reply
November 18, 2015 at 4:33 am
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi IR,
thank you, I’m glad you found the article helpful. Since there are a number of issues involved here, the best thing that you can do is speak with your lawyer.
I hope you resolve this issue soon.
Regards,
Jamie Sarner

Reply
March 14, 2016 at 9:32 am
wangwu says:

Dear ,

We have a case of a supplier failing to comply with the
sales agreement.

Please advise if this is a case you can handle.

Regards,

wang Wu

Reply
March 24, 2016 at 8:07 am
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi Wang Wu,

If he fails to comply with the agreement after you ask him, I recommend you to consult a lawyer, who will be able to help you.

Best regards,
Jamie Sarner

April 5, 2016 at 5:19 am
Kim says:

Hi – I have a neighbor who harrasses my husband and I each day. I’ve called the cops often but they keep saying there’s nothing they can do because he basically stands on his front porch, then scream atrocities towards our house. He does this day and night. He threatens, he calls us names, he swears at us, he blames us for anything “bad” that happens to his house (like when his cat died, he said we poisoned it). His front porch is right next to my living room window. This started about 5 years ago and has increased substantially in the past 6 months. He smokes therefore he’s outside on his porch every 30 minutes screaming. The police tell me he has a mental issue, that they’ve talked to his family living with him, but they don’t do anything about it. The guy doesn’t work so he’s home alone. Even when the family is there, they don’t do anything except let him continue screaming at us. Other neighbours have obviously noticed but they are too scared of him to do anything. They are scared he will threaten them also. The cops tell us that because he does all his screaming from his own property, he’s basically untouchable. There has to be something we can do? We are being threatened and bullied, can’t sit outside, can’t open windows, scared to walk home alone.

Reply
November 2, 2016 at 10:03 am
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi Kim,
I advise to speak to a lawyer about this issue. Seems like your neighbor needs a proper medical help and his family not doing anything should be held responsible.
Reagards,
Jamie Sarner

April 25, 2016 at 1:04 pm
Debbie says:

We are having a very difficult time with a neighbor that is known to be very difficult. It started over an easement that runs across our property. We did not receive any such documents with our deed on purchase (apparently easements prior to 1960 were not required to be included with registry searches). We openly discussed this with these neighbors and stated that if either of his well lines had to be replaced we would like him to find an alternate and not rerun as we to put a cistern in the location they occupy. It was a peaceful conversation that took place two years previous to the problem in our home over a glass of wine. However, when the day came that there was a problem with one of the lines then he chose to start a very volatile conflict and accuse us of damaging the line. The frost was 3-4 feet deep and the wire was an inside industrial wire that was over 50 years old that had been laid without conduit, it was literally decomposing when it was dug up. He started threatening us, every time we came home he would be on our property measuring the property line. He hired a surveyor and demanded removal of a dock that was in place when we purchased our home (we along with them and one other neighbor front onto a large pond and he owns any shoreline around it). We obliged all of his demands with any property conflicts he had but it still would not satisfy him. He has threatened to build a fence in front of our house blocking our view of the pond and the forest beyond so we negotiated a small fence that would not block our view. Turns out the fence was a tool to argue an illegitimate case with the building department. He started photographing us when we were working on our property and stated several times that our house should have been his, that he had tried to buy it and it was originally part of the parcel of land he has prior to his ownership and should be back. He unsuccessfully sued us for costs of his survey that we did not request or require and his cost to replace the well line (In the end the easement was valid however as he was told in court his burden to prove, not ours to disprove. Easements prior to 1960 were not required to be part of the registry search and this was from the 50’s). He unsuccessfully reported us to the building department for work that we did 10 years earlier that he had no valid reason to contest. He unsuccessfully complained to the bylaw department about the fence we put in place as a result of the problems (fences really do make the best neighbors). He has verbally threatened us, swore at us and has been and still is often caught peaking around the fence to see what we are doing. We have asked him to stop, told him to stay off our property and have no trespassing signs all over the property. The sad thing is he is over 80 years old, well off financially, has over 10 acres to our 1/8 of an acre and seems completely obsessed with our property. He has harassed the other three neighbors that border his property about property lines, been wrong with two and had no valid reason to bother the third. I have been documenting every situation that comes up, dropped our phone line and went to a cellular phone so he can’t call, blocked as much access to our property as reasonably possible and it has improved the situation but not stopped him. I have asked him to communicate through a lawyer preferably or by email if necessary He always stays within the boundary of the law but just barely. We do not want a war or to spend thousands of dollars in court, have already spent too much on a frivolous small claims case he levied against us and he lost. We also do not want to move, we really love our home. Talking and mediation does not work as he is very volatile. We are pretty sure as well he has an outdoor camera on us from a high point. There are many trees that can be used. He seems to know our coming and goings too much with a big fence blocking his view.

Any suggestions?

Reply
November 2, 2016 at 10:00 am
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi Debbie,
unfortunately this looks like a work for a proper court. From the acts you are describing it seems there could be some law he did not respect and you could sue him. It seems that he could be dangerous to you and your other neighbors over time. I advise to talk to your other neighbors he is harassing and advise with a lawyer.
Regards,
Jamie Sarner

May 2, 2016 at 8:04 am
Kevin says:

Hi Jamie,
I live in a high-rise apartment building where a tenant continuously rides his electric bike up and down the hallways and in and out of the building. Despite several requests from the Property Manager, including onsite staff requesting the tenant to cease riding his electric bike in the common areas of the building, this tenant refuses to comply. What department in the City of Toronto can I contact to lodge a complaint to bring this issue to an end? Thank you.

Reply
November 2, 2016 at 9:54 am
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi Kevin,
Property Manager should be the one reaching to the City officials with this issue.
Regards,
Jamie Sarner

May 21, 2016 at 6:28 pm
Irena M says:

I’m writing because the house next door here to ours, & they are all semi detached in Brantford ONT, our next separated semi-detached has always been owned/Boughten by past families. There were minor issues that we were always able to agree on in an adult mutual manor. The latest Home buyer bought home to fix up & rent out which is perfectly fine thing to do & smart investment. However, the new landlord had taken 5 months to rent out to the “Right” so-called Family. Well this family has a Mom, a Grama, 5 kids. they have a tornado of toys, play/tree house, planing a pool w/our low fence, their side of driveway has a full size Basketball Hoop and they play and keep hitting and denting our siding, new drain pipe’s and later model car has dents and deep scratches from the balls, bikes, skate boards, etc, hockey pucks, balls sticks, net, so busy and loud.bumping into. We tell them all the time to be careful, but they keep being careless, they hit side of home so hard that the table w/glass rattles that’s at the siding area, can we do anything and is this a legal things when you have 5 out of control kids causing noise/damage!!! I’ve had 5 children myself and noise and damage never came about in such nature and I was able to control them, oldest will be 16, youngest 6, but I respected others, this here is ridiculous! What can I , or Can I Even do Anything about this? Talking to them never works!! Help, they are damaging property.

Reply
November 2, 2016 at 9:53 am
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi Irena,
looks like this should be reported to the landlord, since they are also damaging his property. Try to outreach to them and resolve the issue.
Good luck.
Regards,
Jamie Sarner

May 23, 2016 at 3:34 pm
Faith says:

Hi!
I realize my problem might seem petty compared to what some people have listed here but I wondered if you might have a suggestion about what I can do.
I’m renting a house from someone whose 80 something years old mother lives next door (semi detached). My wife comes over to visit me a couple days a week from the US and the old lady doesn’t like it, and it is difficult to communicate with her because her English isn’t good. Just after I moved in, when she realized that my wife was still around (she was helping me settle) she yelled at her that I was renting just for one person. I tried to explain it to her, and said the same to the landlord who seemed to understand.There are 3 apartments in my unit and she’s always coming to me yelling about the garbage, which is always too full because they don’t pay for a bigger can. She yells at my cat who sits in the window because she blames her for holes squirrels have made (again tried to explain that to her). She’s yelled about a bike that was my flatmate’s girlfriend on our side of the porch, moved my bike (again, on our side of the porch), and today, waved garden shears at us, called us liars and whatnot. Later, when I went into my bathroom, which has a window onto her garden, she called me a whore in portugese. It’s just getting frustrating because we always feel like we have to sneak in and out. All the other tenants have partners and friends who regularly come in and out and she never says anything to them. They have loud parties till early hours in the morning every week or so yet when I bang a few times in the middle of the day to try and get my hardened sugar separated, she bangs on the wall. I’m wondering if filing a report with the police is something that would help. I’ve let the landlord know about this but never hear back from him. Could you advise me?

Reply
November 2, 2016 at 9:50 am
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi Faith,
since you are a tenant and not the owner, filling a report might be tricky. You could advise with a lawyer first about the situation. Or renting another property with more suitable environment could be the absolute last possibility.
Please give me a call if you need help with the latter.
Regards,
Jamie Sarner

June 21, 2016 at 7:19 pm
Ivory says:

I know this is probably a small issue, my neighbour bangs in my floor constantly, it’s when I come home, when I vacuum, sometimes I’m sitting on my chair not doing anything, when I’m in the kitchen. I’ve tried taking to her but she is very mean, she’s also knocked on my door three times when I was cooking. I cannot find a solution, she seems to be nuts. Please advice. Thank you.

Reply
November 2, 2016 at 9:43 am
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi Ivory,
I’m afraid I don’t have any solution for you. This seems to be an issue in communication. Maybe investigate if it isn’t other neighbor making noises that annoy her.
Regards,
Jamie Sarner

July 2, 2016 at 10:26 pm
Mike says:

My Neighbour (Real Estate Agent and contractor) damaged a single fence post to the extent of it being dangling and being a safety risk. This was in July 2015 and I had called the cops when his workmen jumped over the fence into my property to steal water for his construction. He originally told me that he would fix the fence in December 2015. Then he said he would do it in march 2016 when he was constructing his deck, he has been avoiding to replace the post and is now unwilling to replace the post. What are my options? Since he is getting ready to put the property for sale can I put a lean on his property until he fixes the fence? I have been very patient and now he is only taking advantage of me. I have photos of all the damage with date stamps and there are complaints registered when the cops came for the issues registered last year.

Reply
November 2, 2016 at 9:41 am
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi Mike,
if you have proper evidence and the neighbor avoids resolving the issue I recommend speaking to a lawyer and let proper authorities deal with the problem.
Regards,
Jamie Sarner

July 13, 2016 at 10:36 am
Samir Khan says:

This is a great article! I have a question. There is a big box elder tree in our neighbor’s back yard that hangs over our house and is prone to developing box elder bug infestations. We are incurring significant expense for extermination and controlling the pests. I’ve asked our neighbor (who we are on good terms with) if we could consider removing the tree. He’s said that “it’s not a priority for him” because he imagines (rightly) the cost will be high. In the meantime, I’m spending every day just trying to keep the thing under control. I’m also worried about the problem getting worse. We don’t have the money to pay for the tree removal on our own and he seems to be avoiding the conversation. What can we do?

Reply
November 2, 2016 at 9:39 am
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi Khan,
I recommend to explain the situation one more time to them, with proper evidence (extermination bills and notices). You could split the bill for removal or just trimming the part that hangs above your house.
If they are avoiding the conversation altogether unfortunately I recommend speaking to a lawyer about the issue.
Regards,
Jamie Sarner

September 11, 2016 at 6:43 pm
anon says:

I have a bad neighbour who listens alot of what I do with my mum or if I do errands alone in.my apartment. He lives next door to me. He hardly goes out but watches tv all day mostly and sometimes has a girl come over. They don’t dress well, drink alcohol or smoke.

He swears alot on phone with his friend. He turns down the tv to listen what I’ll do next. Makes me really uncomfortable. He’s very odd.

I feel uncomfortable being in my bedroom as I couldn’t sleep last year. He would bang the wall very hard next to me. And would cough loudly.

He one time would take shower same time as me.

I stay always away from him and his girlfriend or friend. He might do something bad one day or go through my personal stuff. I don’t trust him.

Even once, I was coming from grocery shop and I saw him leave the apartment to go somewhere, he kept staring at me from a distance. I tried to walk fast back to my place but he already saw me with my groceries and couldn’t stop staring.

I didn’t encourage eye contact and just kept walking.

I don’t want him to know my personal affairs, my business at home what I talk about with my mum or my appointments. Hes not making me comfortable.

I have another neighbour whos Peruvian. He’s married and has two kids. Their children are always fighting crying, misbehaved. I hardly communicate with them as they aren’t very nice to me.

I saw the father once and was going to go down to do laundry. He was nice and said “the washers are full”. I felt anxious and frustrated and felt like saying “I still would like to check”. I didn’t like that and kept quiet and returdned with my dirty laundry not washed.

I have another neighbour that makes alot of noise with her plates or what not. It stresses alot.

What could I do. I don’t feel safe in my apartment. I rather move out.

What should I do if my odd neighbour is listening to what I do and looks to see where I go outside.

Reply
October 2, 2016 at 8:44 am
TEdCRuz says:

” If it’s between $5,000 and $25,000, your case will be heard in a small claims court, which means that you must represent yourself without a lawyer.”
This is INCORRECT. You have the option of representing yourself of utilizing a lawyer.

Reply
October 13, 2016 at 3:28 pm
Selina Bryans says:

Hello Jamie,
My neighbour’s airbnb guests have kept me awake for several months. I promptly filed a report with our property management and condo board as our bylaws prohibit short term rentals and management informed me that a letter was sent tot he unit owner. It finally stopped after the police were called and charges were laid. Can I sue my neighbour for loss of enjoyment? His ghost hotel earnings were at the expense of my sleep and peace of mind. I would like to sue him for at least what he earned, Would appreciate your comments on this. thanks!

Reply
November 2, 2016 at 10:30 am
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi Selina,
I recommend consulting this situation with a lawyer.
Regards,
Jamie Sarner

October 16, 2016 at 10:52 pm
DD says:

I have a neighbor who has placed security cameras on the corners of their house (2 on each corner) which face our property. These cameras are facing my children’s bedroom and my bedroom. This is causing us anxiety and worry about the privacy of our everyday lives. The cameras are connected to a business they own down the street; so I have no idea who is accessing the videos or who is watching us on the TV screens. I tried talking to them via their intercom to only find out some man (down the street) was telling me the owners are not there. I have no idea if the workers that are sitting down the street are looking at everything that is going on at our house (inside and out). I have no idea what their criminal background might be, what their intentions are and if my kids are safe.
Any advice or if any laws are being broken would be greatly appreciated. I don’t see how our privacy can be so invaded.

Reply
November 2, 2016 at 10:31 am
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi DD,
This looks like a great breach of privacy. I recommend consulting your situation with a lawyer and police in order to take the cameras down.
Regards,
Jamie Sarner

October 18, 2016 at 11:12 am
Terry says:

My niece has a neighbour who is making her life hell. This neighbour (thought to have alcohol/chemical dependency) has called Children’s Aid saying that the children are not fed properly and are not dress appropriately. Children’s Aid visited my niece and found the complaint unfounded. A few days later this same neighbour called SPCA complainting that the dog for foaming at the mouth and vicious. The visit from SPCA was again unfounded. My niece has been accussed to egging her house, which she did not do. In fact her house was egged as well. I should mention that this is a townhouse. This neighbour also complaints constantly to the landlord about my niece as well as other tenants. My niece approached this neighbour to find out why she is doing this and her comment was that “I will do whatever to get you to move”. My niece has don’t nothing to this neighbour to be treated like this. The landlord (who I might add is a slum lord, but that is a different subject) contacts my niece everytime this neighbour complains even though there is no basis for her complaints. What can be done? She does not have the ability to move.

Reply
October 19, 2016 at 12:11 pm
veronica wells says:

hi my husband is continually being harassed by neighbours that bordered our horse pasture. Bullied, harassed and assaulted. We have been told we poisoned their well, and caused problems to their septic . Instead of informing higher authorities they keep harassing us. What is your advice?

Reply
November 2, 2016 at 10:17 am
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi Veronica,
it seems the best thing you could do is inform the police if they assaulted you or your husband. Proper authorities should be able to deal with them.
Good luck.
Regards,
Jamie Sarner

October 29, 2016 at 2:16 pm
Dora G says:

Hi there, I have a question. Can neighbour’s sign a petition to get rid of a dog that is vicious? Its a gwrman sheppard, 9nly 4 months. THey keep her in a crate all day because no one is home. When they do go home, they don’t exercise the dog. Its got too much energy and not using it up which causes anxiety. She constantly barks and everything and everyone. I’ve also seen, so has my neighbour on a different day, the son hotting the animal when he’s barking. That dog will eventually run, take them along for the ride with the leash and attack someone. I know that we can’t presume that, which is totally wrong, it’s like the making of a serial killer. You know the signs.
What can we do?

Reply
November 2, 2016 at 9:30 am
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi Dora,
The Toronto animal bylaw prohibits keeping an animal in an unsanitary condition and the owner is required to provide her pets with adequate and appropriate care, food, water, shelter, exercise, attention, and veterinary care. In this case you could turn them to authorities.
When it comes to petition I recommend to speak with a lawyer about the proper wording of your request and addressing the problem.
I hope you resolve this issue soon.
Regards,
Jamie Sarner

November 6, 2016 at 1:08 pm
Sandra says:

Hello,
I live in a home which I own. The house next to me is being rented out to a couple. They broke some of our landscaping bricks 2 months ago by smashing their vehicle into our property several times (due to being intoxicated) and never told me anything. It wasn’t until a week after the incident did I noticed the damaged bricks outside and when I and checked my security footage it confirmed they did the damage. I tried approaching them and they are very insulting to me, refuse to pay for the damages and very uncooperative. Is the landlord responsible for this? The landlord is aware of the issue but is telling me he didn’t cause the damages and he has no part in this. I just paid a lot of money to have my landscaping project complete, only to have this issue. It’s so frustrating!

Reply
November 9, 2016 at 10:38 am
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi Sandra,
You should try to resolve this issue with the landlord if the tenants remain uncooperative. You can try consult a lawyer in case both parties refuse to pay. Good luck!
Regards,
Jamie Sarner

November 7, 2016 at 10:19 am
Niall O'Connor says:

Hello,
I’m wondering when noise complaints from neighbours become harrassment.
My girlfriend lives in a triplex in Toronto on the top floor. Her neighbour beneath her constantly complains about my GFs day to day noise. For example, my GF will be talking on the phone in the middle of a sunday afternoon and the neighbour will complain. The neighbour complains because she hears us having intercourse, and “slut shames” my GF. She complains when my GF’s teenage son is there and is walking around, talking etc. in the middle of Sat afternoon with his friends.
The landlord is involved and is trying to convince my GF to find another place. The landlord says stupid things like, why doesn’t my GF sleep over at my place instead of me going there which is only 1 or 2 times per week. Also the landlord said she never would have rented to my GF if she knew she had kids.
My GF is feeling very stressed and uncomfortable being in her own place, because of this intolerant neighbour. My GF works full time and is in bed most days by 10pm. She is a very responsible 48 year old woman who doesn’t smoke, do drugs, have parties, etc. She pays her rent on time every month, and takes care of her apartment. In most ways, she is the perfect tenant.

Reply
November 9, 2016 at 10:39 am
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi Niall,
this looks like a case of harassment. Please try to consult this situation with a lawyer.
Regards,
Jamie Sarner

November 9, 2016 at 10:44 am
Sandra says:

Hi Jamie, thanks for the reply re: issues with my neighbor who is a tenant and broke my landscaping bricks. So is the landlord responsible for the actions of his tenants when his tenants are being disruptive, unco-operative and irresponsible to other neighbors who own their home?

Reply
November 14, 2016 at 5:23 am
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi Sandra,
legally landlords have responsibilities only for their own property and damage done to that property. They also shouldn’t interfere with the tenants. But it depends on the lease they signed with the tenant and rules they set there. It’s possible to demand that the landlord pays you back from the deposit if there was any. But you should consider talking to a lawyer or to the landlord in the matter.

Regards,
Jamies Sarner

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