Disputes with your neighbour
If your neighbour is giving you grief by violating the condo's
declaration, by-laws or rules, report the issues to the property
Common problems included:
• excessive noise or dog barking.
• 2nd-hand smoke entering your unit.
• water leaks entering your unit.
• cigarette butts falling onto your balcony.
• smoking in the staircases.
• someone parking in your parking spot.
• leaving their garbage on the floor of the garbage room.
• dog droppings in the common elements.
• banging weights in the Fitness Room.
• selling drugs out of their unit.
The manager will need records of:
• Who is causing the problems (or the unit #)
• What is the issue (in detail).
• Where is this happening
• When: day of the week, date, time.
• Why is it happening; if you know. (don't guess)
"Just the facts, ma'am"
TV Detective Sergeant Joseph "Joe" Friday
Keep excellent records of dates, times and outcomes of every single
interaction, letter and phone call you make or that someone else makes
towards you. It's not just about the incident(s) themselves, it's how
people have been informed of the incident or treated the incident.
Keep it short and to the point and be non-judgmental.
A property manager told me that she used to get three-page accusatory
letters and the board usually ignored them if they were full of vague
accusations and statements denouncing someone's ethics and speculation
about their motives.
Confronting your neighbour
might work if you know them by sight and it the issue is something
pretty simple like too much noise. If you decide to knock on their
door, stay pleasant and polite. If the conversation starts to go bad,
quickly break it off before it leads to more trouble.
Make all future complaints to security or the manager.
If you can't talk to the neighbours—if you are on hostile terms—try to avoid them. Less chance of unpleasantness.
Board of directors
If the manager does not get back to you within a week or so, or tells you that it is a
problem between neighbours so he/she will not get involved, then send a
letter to the board of directors listing your complaints.
If the problems persist, inform the manager that the problems have not
been resolved and include information of all new
When complaining about a neighbour, you cannot expect to remain
autonomous. If the neighbour refuses to stop their deviant behaviour
you may be required to sign an affidavit that lists your complaints.
If you refuse to "get involved" then there may be little the manager or board can do for you.
Be polite and business-like when speaking to the manager and/or
directors and in all written communications. No pouting, swearing, yelling, long winded rants or
Don't visit the office repeating the same complaints or send numerous
e-mails repeating the the same thing as the manager may
claim that you are harassing her at her workplace.
Never, and I mean never, threaten to sue the manager or the board. That
will just alert them that you may become a troublemaker and they will
stop talking to you.
Why boards may not involved
The board may not realize that they have a legal duty to get involved
when an owner complains, even if it just one owner who has the problem.
They may think your complaint is not important or they don't want to take on the expense and hassle.
It may be personal. Perhaps they don't like you or you are
complaining about someone who has friends on the board. Could be they
are hoping you will sell and get out.
Perhaps you will never know why.
Get a legal opinion
If the problems continue and you have reasons to believe that the board
is not taking your complaints seriously, then I suggest that you have
an initial consultation with a lawyer who is experienced in condominium
law to see what your options are.