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Love Thy Neighbor? 4 In 10 Americans Aren’t So Sure

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LANSING (WWJ) - Getting along with your neighbors isn’t always easy.

Forty-two percent of Americans say they have had a dispute with a neighbor, according to a recent survey. Conversely, the survey found that the majority of people surveyed – 58 percent – say that they have never had a dispute with a neighbor.

Noise was the most common complaint between neighbors, accounting for nearly half of all disputes, followed by pets and animals, and children behavior.

The most common neighbor disputes, according to the survey, involve the following issues*:

  • 48% — Noise
  • 29% — Pets and animals
  • 21 % — Children behavior
  • 18% — Visual nuisance, property appearance, trash, etc.
  • 17% — Property boundaries
  • 8% — Suspected criminal behavior
  • 4% — Health or building code violations
  • 1% — Parking

When neighbor vs. neighbor conflicts arose, most people report that they took steps to try to address the situation. Eighty-six percent of people who had disputes said they took some kind of action, usually in the form of discussing the issue directly with the neighbor or sending them a note or email. Others elected to notify the appropriate authorities, such as the police or a neighborhood association. Only fourteen percent of people with a dispute took no action at all.

Here’s how the respondents resolved conflicts with their neighbors*:

  • 49% — Discussed issue personally with neighbor
  • 27% — Called police
  • 15% — Notified neighborhood or owners association
  • 14% — Took no action
  • 11% — Sent letter, note or email
  • 4% — Went to court
  • 4% — Went to mediation
  • 4% — Other action

In the vast majority of neighbor disputes (82 percent) people said that the issue was eventually resolved to their satisfaction. But that isn’t always the case*:

  • 40% — Mutually settled (no outside or third-party intervention)
  • 35% — Matter resolved itself (neighbor moved, behavior stopped, etc.)
  • 11% — Outside party solved (police, court, association, etc.)
  • 14% Matter still unresolved

An additional five percent of respondents said that while an outside party (police, courts, association, etc.) settled the matter, they were not happy with the outcome.

The survey, by FindLaw.com, was conducted using a demographically balanced survey of 1,000 American adults and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percent. *Percentages may add up to more than 100 percent if more than one dispute.

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