What Are Your Legal Obligations to Your Neighbors?

Are you a good neighbor? Are your neighbors fond of you? Do they think you’re annoying and irritating? Or, are you often annoyed by them? There is no peace in your home if you cannot get along with your neighbor. Every little thing will annoy you. Whether it’s them playing music loudly or their unkempt yard, you will find things that will annoy you. But as a neighbor, you may not be a paragon, too. People don’t understand that we have legal obligations as neighbors. We have to ensure we don’t encroach on these rights, too.

Health and Wellness

When was the last time you had your septic tank cleaned? If you don’t follow the maintenance schedule, your septic system will start having problems, one of which is the clogging of the pipes because of the unpumped solid waste in the tank. When this happens, untreated wastewater can escape above the ground. This poses a serious health hazard to you and your neighbors. The odor is unpleasant, too, that your neighbors would have to cancel things like a backyard barbecue party with their friends.

Value of the Property

If you allow your property to look unkempt and dilapidated, do you know that it affects the whole value of the community? If there’s a homeowners’ association, you could be violating some of their rules and regulations. But for your neighbor, the sight of your home affects the value of their property.

This creates a problem when they want to put their house in the market. Potential buyers will be discouraged by the sight of your property. Your property could be a deal-breaker. Once you start impeding on your neighbors’ enjoyment of their homes, you are facing a legal dilemma. You could be even persuaded or pushed to sell your home if you’re now unable to take care of it.

Territorial Dispute


There’s a large tree sitting between your property and your neighbor’s property. Who’s responsible for that tree? Now that it needs to be trimmed or cut down because its roots are eating up the land that surrounds it, who needs to take care of that? Often, the responsibility falls on which property the tree’s trunk falls in. If the trunk is wholly in your property, then you should call for tree removal services. If it’s a boundary tree, both property owners have responsibility for it.


You’ve decided to open your basement for short-term rental. How sure are you that this is allowed in your neighborhood? You have to check the zoning restrictions. Some neighborhoods don’t allow for short-term rentals. Others require that you give notice to the neighbors that there will be new people in your house. Why do they have a say on this? Because they will be a part of the community, too.

Being a good neighbor is a long and winding process. As much as you want to keep to yourself, it pays to be friendly with your neighbors. You lose nothing by being mindful of each other’s rights, anyway. Instead, you will benefit from and contribute to maintaining harmony in the community.

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