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 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.
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.
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
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
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.