Bad Neighbours: How to Deal with Them

Toronto Life

Check out also How to improve relationships with your neighbours and Bad Neighbours: How to Deal with Them Part II.

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 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.


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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.

<< Not everything is lost yet? Read how you can improve your relationships in the neighbourhood. Or check out part 2 where we resolve some of issues our readers complained about >>

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

May 2, 2017 at 6:18 pm
Jacquelyn says:

Neighbor and newly licenced teenage son are careless with their parking and hitting doors and scratching cars when they park to both vehicles that park on either side of them. Video to support. My husband was in our truck when the son hit his mirror. The truck is a year old to the day. My husband asked him to be careful and was told to f*ck off. Approaching mom does no good either. Was told to file a n4 against her. Others in the complex have them and nothing is done about them. She has called animal control on my dog barking, which was unfounded. My house smells of pot leaking from my walls coming from her side, complained nothing was done about it. She has an unregistered business in her home and the management company wants me to make a complaint against it. What do I do when the management company won’t do anything except encourage me to be vindictive?

June 27, 2017 at 3:08 am
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi Jacquelyn,
You have a right to complain to the city. We recently published a part 2 to this article that deals with some of these problems in more detail. You can read it here:
Hope this helps you find some resolution.
Jamie Sarner

May 14, 2017 at 10:25 pm
Marie says:

I live next to horrible people. They have a dog that’s crated all day and night and only let out to go to the bathroom. The dog cries for hours. We were threaten by the man that lives there. Police were and nothing was done. Now his 13 year old daughter harasses out 2 younger daughters and the man constantly stares out his window at me while I’m in my backyard, gives my husband and children horrible looks. We don’t feel comfortable living here. How can we get something done about these people? Police have been to Thier home 3 times in the last 2 months because of the daughter’s bad behaviour. These people live right beside us and bang on the walls on purpose. I was so stress out this past October I went into labour 2 weeks early with my baby girl and had to have an emergency c section because these people stressed me out so badly. Please help. Thanks so much, sincerely, Marie

June 27, 2017 at 3:08 am
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi Marie,
This is a very complex problem. Beside pet problems, there’s a chance you are living next to a bullying neighbours. We recently published a part 2 to this article that deals with some of these problems in more detail. You can read it here:
Hope this helps you find some resolution.
Jamie Sarner

June 3, 2017 at 6:21 pm
Katerelou says:

What do you do with three annoying neighbors? I have one next to me who is renting and they do not care for their lawn. They have BBQs and throw their bones in the backyard causing rats to run in and out of our backyards. We had ask them to split the cost on our fence that separates our backyards due to the fact that it’s not stable and they refuse. We do not have any information on the people who own the house. Then I have on the other side a lady who calls to give anyone and everyone tickets on cars that park on the side of the curb after three hours. She also gets another lady who live a house down to measure people’s driveways when people are home. I find these people ridiculous. Also the lady that calls to ticket people has dogs. Her dog bit mine through the fence. I filed a complaint and she said we will not get a cent out of her cause she knew people in the city of Mississauga. To this day I have not received any information or email back on the case with my dog and it has been three years. Any ideas to deal with the trio that torments our neighborhood?

June 27, 2017 at 3:15 am
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi Katerelou,
We recently published a part 2 to this article that deals with your problem in more detail. You can read it here:
Hope this helps you find some resolution.
Jamie Sarner

June 18, 2017 at 7:43 am
Dean says:

Hi Jamie, I’ve lived in my co-op for 36 years and in this particular apartment for 25, peacefully and quietly. With wonderful downstairs neighbours. Sadly they passed away last year and a new person moved in in December. I was acquainted with this person as he already lived in my building. He was always friendly and nice. He always has a very large dog. This second on is a St. Bernard. The dogs are wonderful and well behaved. Shortly after he moved in he wrote me a note asking me not to water my plants as it was going on his balcony and getting his dog wet. It had rained steadily for about 10 hours that day and my balcony was wet as well. I immediately went down to his apartment to speak to him as I new he was home but he wouldn’t answer the door. I found this strange as I’m not an unfriendly person and I wanted to explain to him about the rain. I ended up writing a note on the back of his explaining the situation and left it at his door along with my phone number if he had any further issues. That seemed to solve things as he issued me a Christmas card and invitation to his house warming and Xmas party. It was the day before the party and I was unable to go and since he gave me his phone number I called and explained this.
In January he started pounding on the walls in the middle of the night waking me up. I could just hear another dog yapping, not his, in one of the other apartments and that’s why he was doing that. It happened several more times and I began to think I would need to talk to him again. However the next time I saw him, I said Hi, and he walked right by me. I know he saw me and recognized me so I found this very strange. I began to think that someone else had complained and he figured it was me so me was angry at me. But I hadn’t complained yet. So my attempts to talk to him were thwarted twice and I decided not to bother. I woke me in the middle of the night another 5 times and then began protesting any noise he figured I was making. Like the maintenance people in the apartment across the hall from me or when I was cleaning the bathroom. The bathroom’s a small awkward space and it’s hard to clean while being absolutely quiet. I would say it’s impossible. That time he banged so hard on something in his bathroom I figured he had done some damage. I waited just over 6 months from the time of his moving in to complain. I had started keeping a diary sometime in March documenting as far as I could remember his past behaviour and now everyday. I had 50 days of documentation before I complained to the co-op board. They spoke to him and when he came home from that meeting he started slamming doors, making as much noise as possible and turned his music up really loud. I’m home most days as I’ve been unemployed since I was laid off 2 years ago. I continued to document him as he started following me around my apartment in his, doing dishes, cleaning, making the bed and would make noises, like tapping on his ceiling or opening and closing cupboard doors. He woke me again twice and then left me another note complaining of the water on his balcony after it had rained. And I started smelling things, like perfume/cologne/hair spray but mostly bug spray. The it started whenever I was in the shower. We have vents in the shower to to help take the moist air out. I taped them up. I’d had enough and complained to the co-op property manager again. This time only 36 days after the first complaint. He didn’t come back from that meeting slamming doors etc. I think because I mentioned that behaviour to the Property Manage. Now it’s perfume while I’m in the shower. Brushing his dog on the balcony and throwing it off so it floats up to mine. This morning I smelled bug spray again. I’ve already got a letter ready to go to the office on Monday only 7 days after the last one. I think this person is a sociopath and am very nervous about running in to him. I keep my phone on record when I enter and leave the building. What a way of life. I have no intention of moving, couldn’t afford it if I wanted to. I’m hoping that with enough complaints they will evict him. I actually don’t want this to happen as I know he has a chronic illness and is on social support. I’m sure he’s unhappy but he’s making me very unhappy. I wish I could talk to his previous neighbours and see if they had these issues with him.

June 27, 2017 at 3:04 am
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi Dean,
Reading this, looks like the problem might be on both sides this time. We recently published a part 2 to this article that deals with some of these problems in more detail. You can read it here:
Hope this helps you find some resolution.
Jamie Sarner

June 20, 2017 at 1:48 am
Chloe says:

Hi I have my upstairs neighbors that constantly fight a lot and throw something hard below my roof it so disturbing I can’t fall alsleep or relaxed in my own apartment. It been going on for a year in a half since they moved in. They also invaded my pravicy when I’m talking to family or friends I can hear them below my roof. I want some advice how to feel comfortable in my own home again and get a good night rest stress free from these wired people.

June 27, 2017 at 3:14 am
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi Chloe,
You have the right to complain to your building or to the city. We recently published a part 2 to this article that deals with some of these problems in more detail. You can read it here:
Hope this helps you find some resolution.
Jamie Sarner

June 26, 2017 at 1:05 pm
s mason says:

Hi Jamie
I purchased a property in Toronto/Scarborough 6 years ago and have had my life made extremely unpleasant by the neighbours to the north. Their behaviours and deeds have been such that I’ve had to document everything and it didn’t matter if I approached calmly, rationally and reasonably, or shouted at them for some of the things they did, or had the police or by-law officers over to speak with them, each and every approach was a guarantee of retaliation and/or some form of abuse (like bullying and harassment). As a single woman on my own I really don’t need any of this so a few years ago I simply stopped having anything to do with them. But things continued. This past spring I had to take them through the court system (it didn’t go all the way to court, it wasn’t that sort of a case) in order to get money from them to fix damage they’d done to my house. They are well known not just for their behaviours and attitudes but also for being quite devious, uncooperative, evasive and, well, completely without honour. During this court process they alleged that they own one foot of property to their south (eg/ onto mine) from the streetline all the way back to the back fence line. Part of this alleged one foot is actually my driveway, beside which they’d built a retaining wall years before I came on to the scene. My driveway and that wall meet. Then there’s a narrow section between the 2 houses which they still allegedly own one foot of, but at the end of that is a gate that leads into the back part of my property. That is open for a short length and then, to my horror, I discovered a small gate attached to the fence that divides the 2 properties along the side back there. This gate is attached by hinges to the fence post but not attached to their house. The wall of their house is kind of in my back yard. There is a narrow piece of concrete, about a foot wide, that they claim they own. The fence along the side is right on the one foot line. Getting back to the open area, someone who lived at my property before very wisely planted 3 spruces and they provide some rather nice privacy. Unfortunately down that side of their wall, near the corner, they’ve got a downspout coming down from the roof. It reaches the ground and has been arranged to go under the gate and run along their side of the fence. As a security measure I placed some largish but not harmful objects by the gate, not touching it or the downspout, in an effort to stop anyone from just entering my property at that point, because that is what would happen. If anyone was to come in, the one foot width of concrete along the ground, that meets the wall of their house, would mean anybody could just access the back of my property and be on it. Trespassing. Security and safety issue. I’m in the process of trying to have a discussion with, and hiring, a surveying firm to do an updated survey of my property but have concerns about this one foot property line issue, and in particular the part that is my driveway as well as the back part. I’ve heard about properties in the area which may be on a Registered Plan of Subdivision but don’t know what that means, or if it would prevent me from having the surveyor move the line in the 2 affected sections back so that I actually own them. Even if it means that my property abuts directly next to theirs at the back and with the driveway. Recently one of the people next door opened up the gate and shoved over the objects I had there as deterrents and cut the string (when I found the gate there’d been some string tied around it and the downspout to keep it closed…I didn’t put it there, but I was so alarmed at finding this situation that I replaced the string….which has been cut a few times….I just keep replacing it for my own safety and security and that of my property). I have never once been in any agreement nor given consent for anybody to enter that part of the property from that gate or from anywhere else. In fact, I’ve made a point of either telling them myself, somehow, or having it communicated to them via other means, that they need to completely keep away. The situation is ridiculous because they seem to think they can do whatever they want and not only abuse me and my property, but they can be and are nice as pie to everyone else in that area. So, not a pleasant situation, I’m doing the best that I can but being on my own and now suffering healthwise because of this (huge anxieties, trepidation, and being physically sick) it is very very hard. Just wondering, after this really long note, whether you can offer any insights about this business of property being on Registered Plan of Subdivision and, if so, whether a surveyor might be able to move property lines closer to the neighbouring property. Also if it turns out that the width of my property isn’t what was noted in the documentation, and I get that confirmed, I would plan on raising the issue with MPAC with a view to reducing my property taxes. In the meantime, not sure what else I can do. Putting up a “Do Not Enter” sign isn’t really possible because there’s no real way to attach it plus they’d probably open that little back gate, cut the string, shove the deterrents over again, and cut the sign down. Really super nice bunch! I’m also in the process of trying to find a contractor to do a few fix ups of my property so I can sell it, but that opens up a whole other can of worms (such as where am I going to live???!). So, any insights, including whether you thing Toronto Building might be able to answer some of my questions and short of going to a lawyer or to Title (I tried that but don’t understand it so first need to understand), or anything would be most appreciated. Really, this sort of behaviour towards one neighbour makes one feel targeted on top of everything else, and this after they were royally lectured by the adjudicator that we’re neighbours, they need to learn to get along. They can get along with everyone else, what’s the deal with me!

June 27, 2017 at 2:59 am
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi s mason,

A registered plan of subdivision is a legal document that shows the exact surveyed boundaries and dimensions of lots on which houses or buildings are to be built. A registered plan of subdivision creates new, separate parcels of land and can be legally used for the sale of lots. It means som houses in your area are planning to subdivide their land or their are planning to build new houses in empty lots nearby.

As for your dispute, you have the right to submit your fence dispute to City of Toronto. We recently published a part 2 to this article that deals with some of these problems in more detail. You can read it here:

If you are planning a move and are in need of a new realtor, please don’t hesitate to give me a call. We might be able to figure out your living situtation together.

Jamie Sarner

June 26, 2017 at 1:17 pm
s mason says:

Hi Jamie
Follow on from the lengthy tale I just left….wanted to add that there is literally no talking to these people, they simply believe they are well above the law in all that they do, including flatly denying responsibility and pointing the finger of blame elsewhere. But lord help anyone who does anything to their property!

July 18, 2017 at 7:27 am
Hanoverian says:

Hi Jamie,
We’re the neighbour someone is complaining about!
We have a two-year-old son who is fairly average and going through the typical “terrible twos”. Our neighbour has complained about his crying since he was born. Initially I was very open with her, thinking if she got to know us it would ease the annoyance of living next door to a baby. Instead of developing into a friendly relationship it deteriorated into her accusing my mother-in-law of abusing him during the day while we’re at work. When I emphasized that she’s hearing temper tantrums, rather than abuse, she said he has serious psychological issues and needs to see a psychiatrist. Earlier this week she was on the balcony yelling at my husband because my son wanted cake for breakfast at 7:30AM and cried when we (obviously) wouldn’t give it to him. In the end, she complained to the property manager about his crying. I don’t think the noise bylaws cover the terrible twos, but I’m on edge thinking we’ll get evicted or face more conflict with her. A family member is a detective in Peel Region and he recommended I minimize contact with her. Between the accusations, door slamming, and yelling, it’s starting to feel like harassment, but perhaps I’m being sensitive.

What would you do in this case?

I feel as though we’re being accommodating. We’re sending him to daycare come September so she can get some peace during the day and when he has a temper tantrum I carry him into our bedroom, which does not share a wall with her unit. Of course, there are two sides to every story…

Thanks in advance

July 20, 2017 at 6:31 am
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi Hanoverian,
As you say, there are two sides to the story. Maybe your building just has a really thin walls. Some wallpaper or more furniture against the wall is advised for noise minimalisation or cancelation.
When it comes to neighbourhood dispute and/or bullying, there are certain institusion that can help mitigate the problem. Try contacting the property manager and explaining your situation. It’s hard to keep the children quiet because the neighbours might complain, but you can explain to your neighbour (calmly and with as much maturity as you can) that they will grow out of their tantrums and ask them to have a bit of patience.
We recently published a part 2 to this article that deals with some of these problems in more detail. You can read it here:
Jamie Sarner

July 30, 2017 at 10:21 am
Andrea says:

Hi Jamie,
I have a horrible new neighbour who has been smoking us out of the house every day and night since March (it is now the end of July). We are subjected to their smoke for a minimum of 15 hours per day. Although we live in a rural area, our houses are very close to one another and their smoke constantly blows in and around our home. On top of that, we have no air conditioning, so we either have to open the windows and let the smoke in or sit in a muggy, sweltering house with the windows closed. There is no way we can spend much time outdoors.
We have left a letter in their mail box detailing the problems their smoke has been causing and suggesting that perhaps they were just unaware of the issue. We even asked that they restrict their use of the wood stove to the winter months. Unfortunately, after they received the letter, the smoke has only gotten worse.
We called the police, but they said that there was nothing they can do. The municipality only has bylaws for outdoor fires (ironically the bylaw states that an outdoor fire cannot be a nuisance or create a health hazard to neighbours), but the municipality does not have any bylaws for wood stoves or wood furnaces that are inside a home. As we are the only other neighbour close to this house, we also can’t team up with someone else on our street in order to voice our complaint.
What can we do? We can no longer enjoy our property and home. We have to constantly deal with stinging eyes and difficulty breathing and all our household items smell of smoke. Is there no such thing as the right to clean air in your own home?

August 1, 2017 at 12:20 pm
JoAnne says:

I live in a rented half of a duplex with a lovely back yard that I have worked hard to build gardens in. The other half of the duplex was SOLD to a young couple. In short my neighbor told me twice that he was planning on putting a fence up. Unfortunately this did not happen. Now they have built a HUGE play set/fort along with filling the rest of their side with a multitude of toys and play areas. The only child they have is about 18 months old. Recently a number of children..from 4-7 or 8 arrive in the morning and are picked up around late afternoon. Aside from the obvious noise and distress these kids are in my gardens resulting in a lot of damage…I’m pulling my hair out..what can I do?

August 14, 2017 at 7:37 pm
Becky says:

I also have neighbors who play loud music smoke dope and cigarettes out side my door and the window is open my place stinks it all started when my dad and my husband where in the yard my dad was telling my husband about my cousin and his sister dad’s sister has breasts cancer and her son passed away and the other son was in hospital he’s a iv drug user and my husband say so he’s a crack head dad said yes so 4 hours go by and I hear yelling so me and my dad look out side and the neighbor was yelling at my husband saying my daughter asked me what crackhead ment then it just started from there every day they would yell out the window in the yard so I put a camera out side my place and I wrote a 3 page letter to the property manager the next weekend she was out side yelling playing loud music and call us rats and say the property manager did not care to read it because it was not of aney importants and it go on from there from Oct 2016 to present I have 12 police reports for noise and 1 bylaw complaint and a letter from the property manager saying I will be evicted for calling bylaw and in April I gave another 3 page letter and in June another 2pages and I get a call at work and it’s my property manager saying she received 5 letters and I was to find a new place to live eather way but I have video servilance and I have the neighbor say that my husband dose nothing and her husband keep it going I also have video of her saying why do you come out side when we go in ##################################

September 10, 2017 at 5:45 pm
Amee says:

Hi Jamie,
My parents and I are living in an apartment where the neighbours upstairs are terrible. They have 4 small kids (approx. ranging from 2 to 9 years old) and they’re constantly running, banging, screaming, throwing things and making a lot of noise. Their parents yell & scream and they constantly move furniture around. These kids also play in the balcony and make noise there by banging on the metal, yelling, screaming, etc… and it’s extremely disturbing. I’ve tried the following things to resolve this: 1) Speaking to the neighbours directly but they barely speak English and they don’t listen 2) informing their landlord several times – he speaks with them, the noise levels go down for about a week or 2, and then it starts again and the cycle repeats and at times, I don’t event think they listen to their landlord 3) I got the building management to speak to the neighbours, still no luck 4) calling 311, they closed my complaint without any investigation 5) I’ve called the police several times but since it’s not a priority, nothing gets done 6) I’ve gone to the police station to ask for advice and I got told that this is not the police’s problem. What can I do? I am completely lost and don’t have the money to pay for a lawyer to handle this problem. My parents own this unit so there’s no way we can move either. Please help! The noise is unbearable. We would really appreciate your advice.

September 11, 2017 at 3:08 am
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi Amee,
unfortunately, if the authorities are not responding to complains, this really looks like a lawyer-needed kind of situation. I recommend keeping a close record of the disturbances. Video or audio records. Then try to submit your complaint with the evidence that could support it. That should help.

January 5, 2018 at 2:54 pm
Patricia says:

Similar problem. There is a child running upstairs every single day… probably having her shoes on, because it’s very disturbing. The building manager told me he’d solve the problem, but nothing has changed. Since we work from home sometimes, it’s really a hassle. I wonder what we could do.

September 24, 2017 at 7:51 pm
George Zhao says:

Hi James,
My neighbour has just completed a project of fence poles and wake-way. Yesterday I found that when they changed the fence poles they have pushed the boundary to my side significantly, one tree was on my side now is completely on his side and they started to cut the tree. What can I do to solve the problem? Thank you!

December 7, 2017 at 5:25 am
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi George,
looks like you need to do a survey of the land and probably start a fence dispute with City of Toronto. I touched this problem more in second part of this article so make sure you read it before you undertake any other actions,


November 16, 2017 at 10:40 am
Gus Nadarasah says:

Dear Sir,
My niece’s classical dance teacher had her advertisement with my niece picture on it and placed it on my Couch on the front of my house patio.
There is a Classical dance teacher who teaches classes in her basement closed to my house called us to remove the ad. We said that we are not interested on that ad but our niece picture is on that why she place it in.
She told us she knows what to do. If she told us she will call the city and by law you can’t place the ad then it’s a different story we will remove it. Because we have to respect the law which we just knew after the City Officer visit.
I received numerous complained from someone in my neighborhood, that why City Officer visit my home for all these complained.
I attached all complains and also the Officer want visit my home next Monday at 10am.
One complains was false – Officer identified – Inspector Allen Reid 416 396 7677
– Createing a basement entry door in the rear of dwelling without first obtaining a building permit
Second complain is the big issue – NOTICE OF VIOLATION – Front yard is not covered by soft landscaping Section (1)(D) and (1)(B)
Two months ago we did the concrete on our front and side yard
– Our house had fire and the front and side grass was damage after that so much weed grown
Can’t get off the weed and so hard to maintain the grass because of my parents are old and I have knee issues- hard to operate the grass cuter and maintain the grass. Winter time is the worst. My neighbors recommend that we all change and never known about ask City’s Permissions which they never know either. I called few contractors and they quote me different prices and never even mention to call City for authorization. After that we placed the concrete on it. No one complained for two months now after the Teacher involved for the Ad placed on the front couch.
Please can you make this dismissed and I don’t have to dig the concrete which I spend thousands of dollars. Now I have to pay money to remove. Please help me out.

November 20, 2017 at 5:52 am
Ted says:

Hi James;

Over the past year an elderly woman behind us has been calling by law. It’s has gotten so bad that we can even use our own backyard as when we do she either comes out and watches us or stands in her kitchen window and looks out. We are currently in an appeal process for the complaints that we have recently received. All complaints before this have been dealt with accordingly. I was wondering if there’s anything legally we can do to get her to stop. As we can no longer live a “ normal” life. My family and I feel as if we are prisoners in our own homes.

December 7, 2017 at 5:22 am
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi Ted,
please read second part of this article. There’s a “Bullying in your backyard” part that could help you with this issue.


November 26, 2017 at 6:28 pm
Jose says:

I live for five years in an rental building, very quiet neighbours everyone mind their own business, my problem started when my neighbour boyfriend move with her, their unit is next to mine, this man yells and screams my name in the hallway, also I heard some embarrasing things he mumbles intentionally directed to me, don’t really know what is triggering this, but I will have to ask him directly to find out maybe, last option is just to move from here, I live with a bit of fear in the sense that I don’t know what he is capable if confronted.

December 5, 2017 at 1:27 pm
Ricksha says:

Hi Jamie

I have a neighbour who refuses to allow us access on to his property to repair and rebuild our chimney. It’s not about to fall over but needs repair and we want to replace the liner. it’s a fire hazard and against code to use it otherwise. We also have squirrels in the attic entering from that side. We 100% cannot complete the work without stepping on his driveway as our house is 18-20 inches from his property line and less than 1 foot around the chimney. I cant use a lift either.

He is upset over our recent ongoing and nearly complete renovation although we never did anything personal to him. We have otherwise always respected his right to his property (the odd worker “trespassed” without our knowledge or consent by walking on his driveway 2 years ago. Since then we put up a fence to avoid these inadvertent errors. We also have always kept his driveway and property clean and free of debris. In the past We offered him a new driveway/cash in exchange for use of his driveway and even a free trip. He refused just to spite us. He refused an offer of mediation. Anyway I suspect he will say no again.

Would the courts uphold his right to keep us off? What can we do?



December 7, 2017 at 5:20 am
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi Ricksha,
your best move is to explain to your neighbour that the faulty chimney is endangering his property as well and it’s best for both sides to allow a correct repair.
I touched renovation resentment issue in second part of this article so you can read a bit about it there.


December 5, 2017 at 4:25 pm
Andy B says:

Hi Jamie,
We recently moved, Our next door neighbor park every day on street by curb in front of our home even-though his driveway empty, However inconsiderate to our privacy. Neighbor go In &Out several times a day, We tried to speak with him regarding this issue once, but he reacted with anger and F__** words.
He never apologies for his behavior and continue parking in front of our house.

Don’t know how to deal with this situation. please help.

December 7, 2017 at 5:15 am
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi Andy,
I actually talked about this issue in second part of this article]. He probably has no right to park there if he is parking in front of your driveway or blocking it in any way. Gather photo evidence and please contact Toronto parking authority to settle this.

Best Regards,

December 8, 2017 at 4:28 pm
Andy B says:

Hi Jamie,
Actually He is not blocking our driveway, But Right in front of our house curb parking, legally Okay. But very annoying that they use this parking so often during day and night almost 20 times per day. I contacted city but they says “okay to park on street !!” Nothing city can do.

As we want neighborhood peace, we did not fight back for parking. as we our neighbor is 3 year old toddler (Not Normal Adult). however city should change all these parking rules overnight.

January 24, 2018 at 1:18 pm
diana says:

A neighbour who owns a commercial/residential property behind my house and who is a landlord to one of the retail stores at street level, had her tenant dump the snow from her properties onto ours which is across a public lane in a lane way. It’s possible he did this of his own free will, but as the property owner, I believe she is responsible for this. What recourse do I have at least to lodge a complaint, as it does involve illegal dumping and even trespassing on private property. The city could not issue a fine or anything because it’s not illegal dumping on city property.

February 8, 2018 at 12:03 pm
Anon says:

The house next door was purchased by a developer. He has since sold the house again but is still in possession of it until it is renovated. The one man contractor brings his 2 huge rottweilers to the site every day. The backyard fence will not restrain them. He refuses to stop bringing them. My 7 month old needs the freedom to explore the backyard without threat of a dog attack as the weather warms. What process should I take to resolve this? I called 311 – they said I could file a complaint with animal control of an aggressive animal. The dogs did lunge at my husband once.

February 8, 2018 at 12:51 pm
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi Anon,
This sounds like a terrible situation to have to endure, especially with a young baby. I would suggest that you speak to a lawyer to see how you can ensure that you can take the proper steps to stop this behaviour.

I hope you are successful and thank you for visiting my site.

February 12, 2018 at 9:50 pm
Betty mcbride says:

I have a neighbour who almost daily blasts music I have complained several times to property Mgmt and security who will not help me they say if they can’t hear music in the hallway though they can hear in my condo they will not speak to neighbour I am at my witts end I have even wrote to the board with no response I just don’t know where to turn

March 15, 2018 at 9:20 am
Sonja says:

My back yard is shared with my neighbour’s side yard and there is a big fence. We barely see our neighbours let alone talk to them. We have a dog we take great care of, he is high energy therefor is walked and ran 2-3x a day. My fiance and I work during the day mon-fri and I come home from work to walk him and let him out. So really our dog is outside a bit in the morning 730am-8 for maybe 5 minutes, he is out at lunch 12-1 and then whenever after 5pm. I am home on weekends as well.
My dog barks… like all dogs on this planet. He does not bark at night or for no reason, but if he wants to come inside, or sees another dog through the fence or someone coming to visit he will bark.I caught my neighbour yelling at my dog on Sunday morning at 10am, obviously for a while as my dog was barking bark at him. I then caught this man video taping my dog in the yard on Wednesday at 1pm… Wednesday at 1pm; why should this be a bother at 1pm during the week? He is not out late or up early. What can I do about this nosy and privacy invasive neighbour?

March 27, 2018 at 11:57 pm
Sandra says:

I live in an apartment building. The neighbour across the hall has some gil staying there. She is not on his housing agreement and is constantky crying, yelling, banging anf waking people above, below and me up late at night / early in the morning. (12-4am is her usual freak out times) we have all called the police but they leave doing nothing. We all want her gone, and the a hole guy who lives there keeps sating he has kicked her out and we wont see her again. This whole end of the building is sleep deprived and i am starting to miss work because of this. Where are my rights? Who is going to pay my bills because i cannot go to work in the morning?

April 1, 2018 at 8:08 am
Jessica says:

The bad neighbor has been harassed me over four years with countless visits from polices and city inspectors. Now I have been sued with criminal code of interference his enjoyment of the property. The day after hearing, he came to scream us next morning and later the police took my husband away for an assault as he did leave my property. Being immigrant in this foreign land and the English is not my first language, I really need help if you can advice on how to stop him to continue to harass me and leave me alone.

April 1, 2018 at 8:21 am
Jessica says:

The bad neighbor has been harassed me over four years with countless visits from polices and city inspectors. Now I have been sued with criminal code of interference his enjoyment of the property. The day after hearing, he came to scream us next morning and later the police took my husband away for an assault as he did leave my property. Being immigrant in this foreign land and the English is not my first language, I really need help if you can advice on how to stop him to continue to harass me and leave me alone. How to fill a restrained order against him?

April 29, 2018 at 8:29 am
laurelie campeau says:

Luckily my problem is now solved and I have lived in blissful peace since these horrors moved. They were renting the house next door. There is a long narrow driveway between us but 3 feet from my kitchen, bedroom and dining room window. The father, an abusive bully, put up a basketball ring so his 3 boys and all their friends could play all day. He put up a back board on the garage roof to hinder the ball from hitting my house and going over my fence…the noise was literally deafening. The boys constantly climbed my new chain link fence and ruined it to get the ball. In the end I called a mediator from the city who advised them that their children were not allowed on my property and told me I absolutely was not to allow them either. The father threatened to sue me if his children hurt themselves whilst climbing my fence to get the ball! The police were called many times but the ignorant father would ignore it and encourage abusive behaviour towards me. I do think the city mediator did help by telling them they were not permitted to trespass, thereby not being able to retrieve their ball. I endured 6 years with these ignorant people and I thank God every day now of my peaceful enjoyment of my property. However they are most likely tormenting other innocent victims.

May 25, 2018 at 2:40 am
Anne Burpee says:

In 2000, I bought my modest bungalow in Markham. In 2010, the city approved an infill build next door which was eventually sold to couple who now live there, Sally and Dave (not real names). The builder removed 120ft division fence. I understood that he would replace – never done. When sally and Dave were about to purchase, I advised them of the missing fence. After they moved in, they decided that they did not like the perennial garden (4ft x 60ft) and unilaterally removed it. I had always understood it to be my garden so I was upset. I did not have funds to sue, so simply replanted a small portion. Sally and Dave later removed that too. They then put in a swimming pool, and built a fence as required. Even though it Has been 3 years, I have continued to feel rather upset about the loss of my garden and determined to find the funds for a proper survey as any simple research advises, with the intention of replanting without causing further fuss but with clear lines established. Now the results of the survey are in – leaving me with 3 major concerns and questions as to how to enforce my rights.
1. The pool fencing is clearly on my property. By 21cm on one end, and 36cm at the other. This infringement also includes a portion of their pool shed in my property. If i cause them to move the fence (and shed), they may (?) also be in violation of city requirements for placement of pool and distance to the proper fence line.
2. There are now drainage issues st the back of my property that were never there before. This is only apparent when it rains – water now pools and the ground remains soggy for days.
3. They decided to prune a very large pine tree on the boundary (tree is on my property) because it’s needles were dropping into their pool. Below the top of the fence, they clearly trespassed and removed branches at the base of the tree to make way for the fence. Above the fence, they did a hatchet job and, with the property line now clearly defined in the survey, clearly pruned the tree well into my property. The tree is now dead on their side (but apparently still healthy enough overall).
4. The survey also determined that part of the house is too close to the property line. City bylaws require a distance of a minimum of 6 ft. At the shortest point, they have just under 4ft. I was present at the hearing. No variance was sought at the Committee of Adjustment, and although I raised a concern that the house was being placed too close to the property line, the City advised me that the builder was following every bylaw and my concerns were baseless. Neither the City nor the Committee of Adjustment requested the builder to obtain an updated survey. Instead, they all relied on the original 1954 survey. As far as I can tell, no one checked property lines. I myself relied on the CofA as experts when they advised that the builder met all bylaws. This also means that the position of the gas meter is within the 6ft minimum distance to the property line.

I am happy to report that my survey clearly shows that the garden the neighbours removed was mine after all (and yes, I will now be replanting it). And, while I would normally strive for mediation, I am not feeling very “neighbourly” in consequence.

Any thoughts on how to protect my rights for the fence ? What about the tree (future cost to remove and to also replant as required?). How do I push the city to enforce bylaw infractions (I have visited numerous times but they only care about the tree).

Was there an error made by the city in not requiring the builder to do a new survey prior to building? Was there an error made by the Committee of Adjustment in its oversight? I don’t want their oversight grandfathered in if Sally and Dave apply for a minor variance to amend the side setback issue from the 2018 survey from 6 ft to 3 ft.

June 4, 2018 at 5:05 pm
Pam says:

My neighbors back yard is full of weeds – hip high. In addition she feeds the squirrels which of course leads to more raccoons – who can I call!

November 12, 2018 at 7:54 pm
liann johnson says:

THE new condo owner next to mine commenced reno,s 8 months ago its been physically debilitating to me a senior.. what is the bi law to help me.. is his length of time reasonable,,, can I take him to court and win my case against him

August 23, 2020 at 4:58 pm
Anab says:

We’ve been living in our house for over 4 years now. The neighbors have been generally peaceful. This summer we have noticed some erratic behavior of the wife ( ie yelling, screaming in her backyard, calling police on some contractors and screaming profanities). It is my opinion that she may have some unaddressed mental health issue. One morning she woke me up by yelling profanities and throwing water in my backyard. I went outside to find out what was happening. She wanted to jump over and punch me. Her husband contained her. I tried to reason with both of them at no avail. They kept throwing profanities. I was not sure what their concern was. I went inside as I did not feel safe. Later on it turned out they were upset that some of our branches were leaning over onto their backyard and they wanted us to clean them. We removed them the same day just for the sake of having them stop yelling and embarrassing us further.
I have to questions:
1. What can i do about verbal abuse and potential physical abuse? I did not go to the police as I do not want further aggravation, but now I feel scared as it seemed to me she was having a psychotic episode.
2. What is the proper way to deal with branches going over the neighbors fence

August 31, 2020 at 5:03 pm
Anis Zuberi says:

my neighbour’e ivy constantly fall no my fence and adjoining backyard shed. When I complained in writing sent pictures . The neighbour text that that the roots are on my side and refuse to deal with it . The City advised me to take legal action.
I have been cutting growth on my side in the last twenty years. How to deal with situation?

September 8, 2020 at 11:22 am
Stephanie says:

We have issues with our neighbour because of the property line. He doesn’t have access to his backyard through our side, but insists that he owns a foot of land between our properties and is threatening to build a fence up the side of our houses that will essentially block access for me to my backyard/garage. Is that legal? He also recently took out one of the fence panels are replaced it with a gate so that he can access our backyard whenever he sees fit. I feel like that’s an invasion of property/privacy and should not be allowed. What do I do?

October 11, 2020 at 8:24 pm
Lu says:

Hi ! I would like some guidance about an issue with my neighbor. We recently moved to a rental building, and everything was fine. But lately our downstairs neighbor started to complaint about some noises coming from our apartment. We tried to be more careful, but she kept complaining. One day I went to her apt for a peace cup of tea and asked to my husband to walk around the apt normal and with heavy step. With heavy step of course we could hear it, but normal no. She said that the noises are almost every day, like something is bumping and be dropped on the floor. I gave her my number and asked to let me know when she heard the noise, she text me one day saying that she just heard noises from the kitchen and bedroom, my husband and I were sitting in the living room watching a movie. We have a security camera, so I recorded and print screen moments before she text me. We don’t have a clue what noises is she listening, the bedroom was empty. And right now she said that is recording the audio and time of the noises to show me. How can I solve this? The building’s management only exchanges our complaints, doesn’t do anything about it, and appears to be inexperienced. All this situation is so uncomfortable, I’m afraid to make any noise at my own house. Please what can I do. PS: She is also new at the building, she moved 15 days before us. I tried to look if this was a common behavior of her.

March 19, 2021 at 11:32 am
Amelia Aubeeluck says:

Hi Jamie,
I have complained about my neighbour to both the city and the police officers but apparently a soundbar creating rumbling earthquake sound to my living room is not considered a noise-bylaw infractions. I am not able to enjoy my living room or my house as the vibration sound goes all the way to my room. How can i solve this issue even if i already spoke to the neighbour who swore at me? I live in Barrie and i understand you are in Toronto but seeking advice please

April 7, 2021 at 2:02 pm
Paola Matos says:

Hello there. Finally I feel I am not alone. I live with my husband and son in a townhouse complex. We have neighbours upstairs who make lots of noise at night time ( 10:00pm to 3:00 am mostly), it consist on yelling, swearing, stumping, moving obects, etc, before pandemic they where hosting parties all the time, but that fortunately has stopped. This is an ongoing situation for 2 years, we tried first talking to them, we sent a few letters as well, called 311, and the police, we have finally contacted the condo board and the property manager, and they have already sent them two letters. After these letters our neighbours stopped the noise for 3 weeks, but then again for the last two days they have started to make lots of noise. This situation is afecting our mental and physical health, our performane at job is not the same due to lack of sleep, my son is sometimes grumpy since he is not rested in the morning. What other thing can we do. We are starting to regret the moment we moved to this place, if we knew we was going to have these disrespectful neighbours, we would have never bought the property we own.

October 7, 2021 at 2:10 pm
mcfly says:

My neighbour and I share a driveway. Generally we are amicable in our dealings with each other. Recently hes changed careers and currently works in junk removal. As a result he has been leaving on his half of the driveway metal garbage that he stores and then dismantles to take to the dump. Usually once the driveway is full of varies items (fridge…stove name it) then him and his co worker smash and hammwr the items into smaller manageble pieces. Load them up. And repeat the process. Needless to say its an eye sore and the banging is a constant form of noise pollution and my car is right next to them as they smash these items loose; leaving debri and possibly scratching or damaging my car. What options do i have as a neighbour in this case? Is it legal to operate in this manner. What advise would you give me. Id rather not sour relations.

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