6 tips on being a good neighbour
Living in harmony with your neighbours is possible. Here’s how.
1. Be neighbourly
This may seem obvious, but saying hello and engaging in small talk will help you build a relationship with your neighbour.
Communication will make things easier when discussing more sensitive matters, like expenses for a shared hedge or fence or asking your neighbour to address an issue that is affecting you.
2. Prevent potential conflicts
Being on speaking terms also helps avoid disputes.
Let your neighbours know about situations that could inconvenience them.
Are you new or is your neighbour new to the neighbourhood? After introducing yourself to him or her, casually bring up the fence or the hedge or any other shared structure that requires maintenance or replacement.
3. Know your responsibilities
As a homeowner, you have responsibilities. As a good neighbour, you have to know the rules and abide by them.
Municipal bylaws govern matters that may affect quality of life, like noise levels, landscaping and maintenance, construction and renovation, etc. Always check with the city or municipality before starting a project.
The Quebec Civil Code makes you responsible for ensuring that your property, landscaping and maintenance do not cause injury or material damages to your neighbours and visitors. In other words, be careful, be a good citizen and act in good faith.
4. Know your property line
Keep a copy of your property survey (certificate of localization in Quebec) in your files.
Refer to it to make sure you don’t accidentally impede on your neighbour’s property when landscaping, constructing or installing a temporary structure.
You should also refer to it to make sure your neighbour isn’t impeding on your property, and if so, find a solution.
5. Think about how your actions affect your neighbours
Whether you’re landscaping, doing maintenance work, renovating, getting a dog or doing something outdoors, think about how it affects your neighbours. Being a good neighbour means being considerate of your neighbours.
Trees: Think before you plant them!
Trees are the cause of many disputes. Before planting one, make sure you are willing and able to maintain it.
Also, choose the species and location wisely. When it comes to the species, consider how big its branches and roots will grow. Choose one that won’t impede on the neighbour’s property or nearby structures. For help, refer to Hydro-Québec’s Choose the Right Tree or Shrub tool.
6. Be tolerant and open-minded
Even the best of neighbours can be annoying at times. It’s therefore important to be tolerant of occasional disturbances. If you do, then your neighbours will be more likely to return the favour.
Of course, there are limits. If your neighbour is the source of constant inconvenience, intervene sooner than later. You mustn’t wait to be totally exasperated before broaching the subject. Be understanding and try to find a solution. Your neighbour may not even be aware that there is a problem.
Note: This blog post is provided for information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional legal, financial or fiscal advice. For advice specific to your personal situation, always speak with your advisor. SSQ Insurance cannot be held responsible for any decision made as a result of reading this blog post.