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How to Handle Bad Neighbor Behavior

When your tenant is deciding whether to lease your Montgomery County home or not, chances are they are looking at more than just the interior of the home. They want to have a reasonable rent payment, a good looking exterior with nice landscaping, and be within close proximity to amenities such as shopping centers, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

But what about right next door? Or does the street a bit? What about the surrounding neighborhood?

neighbor-behavior-affect-rental -property

Even if you own a renal property in the coveted Gaithersburg area where the value of homes continue to rise, your property’s neighbors and their homes can make or break your rental property business, whether you like it or not.

While you have a certain level of control over the behavior of your tenants, especially with a rock-solid lease agreement in place, unfortunately, you lose much of that control when it comes to the behaviors of neighbors around that property.

Today we will look at some of the bad behaviors your rental property’s neighbors may exhibit with some possible solutions so that your home does not go vacant due to their poor decisions. Sometimes forging a strong relationship with your property’s neighbors may be just the ticket to keeping quality tenants in your Silver Spring home.

Neighbor Behavior That Could Affect Your Property

Neighborhood Eyesore

Nobody likes to see a neighboring property with overgrown lawns or weeds, trash piling up in the front yard, peeling or rotting paint, or generally unkempt property appearance. This is unsightly to look at and can drive the value of your own property down.

Here are some key ways you can take care of a neighboring eyesore:

  • Make a list of the exact issue(s) you would like to discuss with your neighbor and what you would like to result from the conversation. Be ready to explain the effect the issues are having on your tenant and try to approach them kindly to avoid confrontation.
  • Take mental notes about the conversation had with your neighbor and jot them down later. This can be used at a later date if need be should the problem cause legal issues in the future. You can also try taking discreet photos (without trespassing, of course!) to be used as evidence of the eyesore. Sometimes just talking with your neighbor is enough for them to fix the situation.
  • If, after the conversation, your neighbors fail to take the action they agreed to, consider writing them a letter reminding them of the issue. If your neighborhood has a HOA, discuss this issue with them. Many HOAs have regulations regarding the appearance of a property. As a last resort, you should contact the authorities and have them handle the situation properly.

Tree Annoyance

house-damaged-tree

In the beautiful area of Chevy Chase, where walking trails and parks abound, it is not uncommon for homes to have the same greenery that makes the region so likable in their own front yards.

Unfortunately, sometimes your neighbor’s tree may begin to invade your rental property’s space causing a nuisance to the tenants you have leasing from you. If your neighbor has a tree that is extending across your property’s boundaries, there are some very important things to keep in mind should you decide to take matters into your hands so that you avoid irritating your neighbor and getting into trouble yourself:

  • You have the legal right to trim the branches of the tree should they hang over your property line. However, if you or someone else, such as your tenant, cuts down, removes, or harms the neighbor’s tree without permission, regardless of whether it is on your property or not, you will be responsible for that damage.
  • The same consequence is true if you use any type of chemical that seems into your neighbor’s yard and damages the tree.
  • Trees that pose a safety risk do not have the same legal protection as safely growing trees. This means that if your neighbor’s tree is about to fall on your property, you have the legal right to protect your tenants from physical harm and can do whatever is required, even if that means cutting down the tree.
  • In Montgomery County, if you damage your neighbors tree without their permission, there are some serious consequences:
    • You will be responsible for triple what the tree costs
    • You will also have to pay for any surveyor fees, debris removal, and cleanup
    • If any court fees result in connection with the tree annoyance, you may be held financially responsible.

In the end, if your neighbor has a nuisance tree, it is best to try and deal with it face-to-face with them to avoid any legal conflict. Make sure you are knowledgeable about the local tree annoyance laws before you do any type of tree removal yourself and before bringing in the authorities, try managing the situation yourself.

Noisy Neighbors

Your tenants may have to deal with the occasional loud weekend party while residing in your Potomac home. However, if the noise gets out of control, you will be the one held responsible for your tenants’ quiet use and enjoyment of your property.

Noisy-neighbors-upstairs

Most local statues set maximum allowable decibel levels in residential areas in the 55 decibel range at
night and 65 decibel range during the day. If a neighbor is constantly bothering your tenant with excessive noise, you may be able to call the authorities and have them fined for violating the local noise ordinance.

It is important to know that each county has their own procedure for documenting violations after you have filed a complaint. For instance, farmers have separate noise ordinances to follow in Maryland and may not be subject to your complaint, even if the noise is bothersome to your tenant. That is why thoroughly researching the area you wish to invest in is a wise idea before purchasing a rental home in a potentially problematic area.

Dangerous Animals

In Maryland, there are strict regulations regarding dangerous animals, especially dogs, being owned as pets. Your tenant may have major cause for concern if the following apply to one of your rental property’s neighbors:

  • If the dog (or animal), without provocation, has killed or inflicted severe injury to a person or other animal regardless of whether the animal is on its owner’s property or not.
  • The animal in question is being allowed to damage or defecate on property outside of the owner’s property, whether that be in your Bethesda rental home front yard or just on the sidewalk nearby.
  • If the animal causes enough persistent noise that it disrupts your tenant’s quiet enjoyment.
  • The animal(s) cause unsanitary, dangerous, or offensive conditions because of the size or number of animals being kept in one location that is not appropriate.

If any of the issues above are creating problems for your tenant, it is up to you to manage the situation. Each tenant deserves (and is legally allowed) to enjoy their leased home without having to deal with bad neighbors.

If you live in the Rockville area, or any Montgomery County area, it is your responsibility to maintain a peaceful environment for your tenants.

Though you cannot always control what your neighbors will do or how they will react if confronted with a situation such as a messy yard, that is part of being a landlord. If you think you need help managing your properties, especially when it comes to the legalities behind dealing with bad neighbors, consider contacting your favorite Maryland management team, Bay Management Group, to help. Fully compliant with all the state and local laws, Bay Management Group will help you manage bad neighbors the right way. And should the case be taken to court, they will fully support you and aid you in your suit.

Don’t let bad neighbors bring your home value down or cause your tenants to find residence elsewhere after the end of their lease term. Let Bay Management Group manage your properties so you can worry about other, more important things, such as finding good quality tenants to lease your property for the long haul.