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Neighbourhood disputes

If you are experiencing trouble or arguing with a neighbour, consider the advice of experts on conflict resolution. According to the website eHow.com, here’s how to deal with conflict with your neighbour:  

  1. Don’t react immediately. Let the problem rest before you approach your neighbour. You may decide it is not worth pursuing, especially if the problem is not ongoing.
  2. Meet face-to-face with your neighbour, as long as the situation is safe.
  3. Keep an open mind for your discussion. Figure out in advance exactly what it is bothering you, what you want to the outcome to be, and how to motivate your neighbour to work with you toward this goal.
  4. Your neighbour may be defensive. Plan for it, and respond with empathy. Stay calm.
  5.  If your face-to-face meeting does not work, explain the problem in writing. If possible, refer to the City by-law that supports your argument.
  6. If it’s a problem that affects other neighbours, ask them to sign the letter. Your neighbour may be willing to work with you if he sees the problem is bigger than just you.
  7. Work with a mediator, if you need to have an objective third party help you find a resolution. Organizations such as Community Mediation Ottawa provide neutral, trained volunteer mediators to assist community members in having productive conversations to resolve issues.  Visit www.cmo-mco.ca to learn more about this free community service.

For more information, visit Austalian based Conflict Resolution Service's booklet on managing and resolving neighbour disputes.