Make your estate more neighbourly

It’s awful to be on bad terms with your neighbours – and even worse if they are members of the same Home Owners’ Association as you, and you are expected to work together to run your gated community.
On the other hand, it’s not necessary to be best friends, or to spend a lot of time in each other’s homes, in order to be good neighbours, says Berry Everitt, CEO of the Chas Everitt International property group.
“You just need the right attitude, containing healthy doses of tolerance and consideration for each other, and there are actions you can and should take to promote this, especially if you live in close proximity within an estate or security complex.”
Writing in the Property Signposts newsletter, he says that in the first place, you should make every effort to meet your neighbours, find out their names and ensure that they know you, at least to say “hello” to while collecting the post or walking the dog.
“Secondly, you should contact your neighbours before doing anything that might affect them, like hosting a big party, building a new boundary wall, cutting down a ‘shared’ tree or getting a dog.”
Third, Everitt says, everyone needs to be sensitive to differences in age, faith, ethnic background and marital status that can drastically affect lifestyles and, more importantly, perceptions - on both sides of the fence. “You should also always start out by assuming the best, ie that most neighbours will not intentionally be trying to irritate or upset you. At worst, they are probably just thoughtless.”   
Fourth, you should be calm as well as candid if there is a problem you need to raise or your neighbours complain about something you did. “Speak quietly and state clearly what you would like to happen, or listen carefully and thank them for sharing how they feel. If you don't get aggressive or defensive, it is easier to keep lines of communication open and achieve resolution.
“And finally, you should try to resolve any problems as soon as possible. Keep hostility at bay by not leaving things hanging and by keeping everyone informed about what actions are being taken or progress has been made.”

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