November and December is that wonderful time of year where we get to decorate our homes and our yards in order to enjoy time and festivities for Christmas and the holidays with our friends and neighbors.
However, these holiday decorations can raise some issues and conflicts among neighbors or other people in our community.
How to Handle Holiday Dispute with a Neighbor
We all know or have that neighbor who goes all out and decorates their home with lights and music that plays all hours of the nights. Perhaps the lights even shine into your window all night long.
We all have heard of the situation where a neighbor’s decorated home causes so many onlookers that driveways are blocked and people cannot access their own homes.
These situations can make for a difficult relationship with your neighbor and lead to conflict.
Know the Local Laws
It’s important to be aware of your city and county ordinances when it comes to decorating your homes and yards for the holidays.
Knowing these local laws can help protect yourself, but it can also help you broach a conversation with a neighbor whose decorations are causing problems for you.
Be Familiar with HOA Rules
Many homeowner’s associations and condo associations have covenants and rules regarding the decoration of holiday lights. There may be specific hours during which the displays can be turned on.
If your neighbor’s outside holiday is causing an issue, talk to your HOA. Consider reaching out the HOA board members or the HOA management company. This could be a good way to avoid an awkward confrontation with your neighbor if it’s something that the HOA can enforce and take care of for you.
Legal Remedies for Disruptive Lights & Displays
If a conversation with your neighbor or HOA are not successful, you may have a case for what’s called a private nuisance suit.
If the lights or the music are so bad that they infringe upon your enjoyment of your property, you may have a case for a private nuisance lawsuit.
Another issue some people have is neighbors crossing property lines. Let’s say your neighbor’s ginormous Santa Claus and his eight tiny reindeer comes onto your property. How do you handle that?
Again, the first step would be to try to discuss the issue with the neighbor or have your homeowner’s association try to resolve it for you.
If neither of these steps work, you a claim for a trespass. A trespass is a claim that not only can affect when people come onto your property, but also when their personal property or their things encroach upon your property.
A trespass claim may be a remedy to help you in that situation.
How to Handle the Neighborhood Scrooge
Let’s say you have tastefully decorated your yard. You’re the responsible homeowner who turns off the lights. You do not encroach upon your neighbors, but you happen to live next to that Scrooge or that Grinch who demands that you take down your holiday display. Or, even worse, your neighbor damages or destroys your decorations. What should you do in that situation?
Again, HOA and city ordinances can be very helpful to report that kind of activity.
Legal Claim for Damages
If your HOA cannot help the situation, you may have a claim for damage to your property against your neighbor.
That’s something that you should speak to an attorney to help you to make that claim and handle that situation with your neighbor.
Need Help with a Naughty Neighbor?
Most of these scenarios can be handled relatively easy, but there are legal remedies to help with difficult neighbors. Our litigation attorneys offer a case assessment. Call 303-688-0944 24-hours a day to set up a meeting, or click here to schedule it online.