Handling Conflict Between Neighbors How to Manage Amicably

For as long as people have been living in close proximity, the issue of maintaining relations has been an important one. A good neighbor is a lot of things: sensible, reliable, understanding. But humans can be touchy beings, and when we’re living on top of each other - sometimes literally, in the case of multifamily high-rises – annoyances can turn into more than that. Neighbors in co-ops, condos, HOAs and associations can encounter a host of problems, ranging from noise to odors to fair usage of common spaces. And sometimes, situations can turn emotional. 

Shut UP! ...What’s That Smell? 

According to the property management pros we spoke to, the most common points of contention between neighbors are noise-related. 

Josh Koppel, president of HSC Management Corp. in Yonkers, says he hears complaints about noise regularly. “I have people complain that their neighbors dance and move furniture all night long! I’ve had people who complain ‘I can hear their cat running across the floor!’”

Next down the list of gripes are smoke and other odors – another big problem area. Koppel says in co-ops there is usually a nuisance clause in the proprietary lease that addresses this issue – though of course that doesn’t mean that odor issues are magically eliminated. 

“Smoke complaints are huge,” he says. “If it’s not a non-smoking building already, they’ll have to seal up every crack and stop the smoke from emanating. It’s a lot of work, but if you want to smoke, you can’t bother your neighbor.”


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  • Thank you Georgia - a HOA just came in for a short mediation and told me that they had read about me in the Cooperator. I was pleased to assist them in a five year old dispute among neighbors in less than two hours. All the best. Sheryl Mintz Goski