Love Thy Neighbor? Four in Ten Americans Have Had a Neighbor Dispute, Says New Survey Vast majority of disputes successfully resolved without court action

EAGAN, Minn., June 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Getting along with neighbors isn't always easy. Forty-two percent of Americans say they have had a dispute with a neighbor, according to a new survey by, the most popular legal information website. Conversely, the survey found that the majority of people surveyed – 58 percent – say that they have never had a dispute with a neighbor.

Noise was the most common complaint between neighbors, accounting for nearly half of all disputes. 

The most common neighbor disputes, according to the survey, involve the following issues*:




Pets and animals               



Children behavior              



Visual nuisance, property appearance, trash, etc.       



Property boundaries             



Suspected criminal behavior           



Health or building code violations              





When neighbor vs. neighbor conflicts arose, most people report that they took steps to try and address the situation. Eighty-six percent of people who had disputes said they took some kind of action, usually in the form of discussing the issue directly with the neighbor or sending them a note or email. Others elected to notify the appropriate authorities, such as the police or a neighborhood association. Only fourteen percent of people with a dispute took no action at all.* 


Discussed issue personally with neighbor               



Called police                                          



Notified neighborhood or owners association   



Sent letter, note or email                   



Went to court            



Went to mediation          



Other action              



Took no action                      


In the vast majority of neighbor disputes – eighty-two percent – people said that the issue was eventually resolved to their satisfaction.*


Mutually settled              


(no outside or third-party intervention) 


Matter resolved itself     


(neighbor moved, behavior stopped, etc.)


Outside party solved        


(police, court, association, etc.)


Matter still unresolved  


An additional five percent of respondents said that while an outside party (police, courts, association, etc.) settled the matter, they were not happy with the outcome.

"Neighborhoods form dynamic communities with unique personalities, since a group of unrelated people must live close together," said Stephanie Rahlfs, an attorney and editor with "Most often, neighbors are friendly, but occasionally, disputes will arise over issues such as boundaries or excessive noise. Our survey found that most issues between neighbors are satisfactorily settled without the matter turning into a legal dispute. It's important for people to know what their rights are on issues such as boundaries, nuisances, animals and so on, as well as what legal and other resources are available that could help them."

Free, helpful information on neighbor disputes, including what steps to take when disputes arise, can be found online, including at the Neighbors section of FindLaw's Real Estate Center: 

* - Percentages may add up to more than one hundred percent if more than one dispute

The FindLaw survey was conducted using a demographically balanced survey of 1,000 American adults and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percent.

Note to editors: Full survey results and analysis are available upon request.


Michelle Croteau



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