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Neighborhood Disputes

It can be a terrible burden when neighborly relations collapse in a heap of anger and frustration. Every moment in your own home can seem like a nightmare of trouble, turmoil and tension. Probably, everyone has experienced it at some time or other.

But, how can you identify the problems you may experience before they start? How can you know what to do about a particular neighbor before something untoward happens?

To discover the problems and possible solutions, match your home next to your neighbor’s. Maybe you are in the situation now or you need to know what may arise after you buy or rent.

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Identify Your Neighbors’ Homes


The Picture Home

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Probably the most common, the Picture Home is close to “picture perfect.” Its owners do everything in their power to make everything painted and planted so that it looks just so! Of course, the Picture homemakers would love it if everyone else in the street did the same.

The Place Home

Place Home

The Place Home is characterized by detachment and, to some extent, neglect. It is not intentional. The occupiers understand their home is something of a semi-permanent hotel. Even if they own it, they may as well have been renting.

The Preserve Home

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From the outside, you can usually identify the Preserve Home quite easily. The binds are drawn, the hedge is high, the garden path curves out of sight. It is a site of safety and security for the occupants. It’s a retreat where they can be themselves totally and they can shut off the world entirely.

The Play Home

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This mad and merry home is made for coming and going. It is often messy but may not be as decrepit as a Place Home. There is so much activity and noise that it is obvious this is a home that is made for fun. But, it may not always be so. Sometimes, there are fights. You can hear the yelling from half a block away.

The Pursuit Home

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Sometimes the Pursuit Home can be a little hard to recognize. You see, this home exists as a place for activity, so it can take many different forms.

An angle grinder shrieks from a workshop. The paint on the homemade letterbox is drying. A stack of paving tiles awaits the realignment of a garden path. A car’s hood is up because someone is tinkering with the carburetor.

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What Will the Dispute Be About?

The most common subjects of neighborhood disputes are trouble with fences and other shared areas like driveways. You know the old saying by Robert Frost, “Good fences make good neighbors.”

Animals and birds can cause problems, particularly if they encroach or seem to be abused or sick.

Drainage faults and overflows from pools, sewage and fish tanks cause havoc, as do overhanging trees, especially if they drop fruit or if their roots lift pavers or strangle plants.

Complaints arise from car or house alarms, noisy power tools, loud arguments, parties, air conditioners, aviaries, and barking dogs. Smoke from inside and outside fires can bring trouble knocking at your front door, too.

Neighborhood fights often start with incidents of trespassing or offensive behavior. Cars can provoke outrage, particularly if neighbors think your driving is dangerous or that you are causing parking problems. Car wrecks are pretty irritating to look at, as well.

A house with an untidy garden and unmown grass or garbage left around can cause trouble.

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A Picture Home neighboring a …

A Picture Home Next to a Picture Home
Neighbors in two Picture Homes will get on well only if their ideas about what is suitable and beautiful are the same. Otherwise there will be trouble. Both occupants will need to integrate their ideas about what looks good and what is appropriate to keep trouble from brewing.

A Picture Home Next to a Place Home
There is the potential for trouble when neighbors in a Picture Home decide that the Place Home should look more like theirs. Of course, the occupants of the Place Home either won’t get it or won’t care.

The occupants of the Picture Home will have to open their minds (not easy for them). Alternatively, the occupants of the Place Home will have to incorporate some of the Picture Home’s look. They could ask the occupants of the Picture Home what color their front fence should be painted.

A Picture Home Next to a Preserve Home
A Picture Home next to a Preserve Home can succeed. But, because a Preserve Home is a sanctuary, that does not mean it is beautiful, so troubles can arise. The occupants of the Picture Home could encourage the occupants of the Preserve Home to express their values visually at the front of their place … in keeping with the rest of the suburb, of course.

The Preserve Home occupants probably don’t care because they believe that other people either share their values or they don’t. Enough said.

A Picture Home Next to a Play Home
There is more potential trouble looming between these neighbors because the occupants of the Play Home are concerned about socializing, playing games, making practical jokes and ignoring the damage. It may be best to invite the occupants of the Picture Home over to see their wonderful house from a new perspective: the living room of the Play Home. Of course, the Play Home will have to be tidied up before and after.

A Picture Home Next to a Pursuit Home
Trouble between neighbors in the Picture Home and the Pursuit Home is almost inevitable. The Picture Home people will not like the noise, the activity, the lack of aesthetics, and the general busy-ness.

The Pursuit Home people will think that the Picture Home people look good but are a bit too two dimensional. The Pursuit Home people should pop over and offer to help make the Picture Home more perfect.

The Picture Home people should (very tactfully) offer suggestions about jobs that will make the Pursuit Home fit more into the aesthetics of the suburb.

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A Place Home neighboring a …

A Place Home Next to a Picture Home
Those who live in a Place Home will not care how their house looks. That will eventually become a problem for those who live in the Picture Home.

The best path to avoid conflict is for the Place Home occupants to do something that lifts the look of their house. If they can link it in some way to the Picture Home or get the advice of the Picture Home folks, the tensions may disappear altogether.

A Place Home Next to a Place Home
When two Place Homes are neighbors, there will rarely be any trouble between them. The occupants pass each other in the night (or, it may as well have been the night) and there is unlikely to be any friction between them.

Neither neighbor cares that much about their home so nothing they do concerns the other, within reason.

A Place Home Next to a Preserve Home
Those who live in a Place Home will not understand the Preserve Home people and will not bother to inquire. So long as the Preserve Home is left undefiled, all will be well.

Preserve Home occupants should count themselves lucky to live next to a Place Home because the Place Home occupiers are one of the easiest to get along with, particularly seeing as they are rarely home.

A Place Home Next to a Play Home
The Place and Play Home people will seldom contact each other. But, when they do, trouble could be around the corner. A Play Home family may irritate a Place Home person because all they really want is a spot to lay their weary head and a garage for the car. Play Home people should avoid making the Place Home person deal with their house any more than that.

A Place Home Next to a Pursuit Home
The Pursuit Home person is probably lucky that they live next to the most disassociated homemaker possible. At most, all the Pursuit Home person has to do is to wave as the Place Home occupier pulls in and out of their driveway. 

The Place Home person is likely to tolerate most noise, activity, smell, and encroachment on their home because, in the end, they barely care.

Place Home

A Preserve Home neighboring a …

A Preserve Home Next to a Picture Home
A Preserve Home next to a Picture Home can be just fine under certain conditions. But, a secure Preserve Home is not necessarily nice to look at. The Preserve Home can appear worse than a Place Home, so the Picture Home occupants may develop concerns about it.

The occupants of the Picture Home should encourage their Preserve Home neighbors to express their values visually at the front of their place, in keeping with the rest of the suburb, of course.

But, be careful. The Preserve Home’s occupants probably don’t care because they believe that other people’s values are not that important.

A Preserve Home Next to a Place Home
The Preserve Home folks want, above all else, to be left alone. Probably, the Place Home people want the same although they seek it in a completely different way. As long as everyone ignores everyone else, all will be well. Following this simple, basic rule, the peace will not be disturbed, and relations will be perfectly tolerable, although not close and friendly.

A Preserve Home Next to a Preserve Home
Two neighboring Preserve Homes can cause endless trouble. One homemaker’s concept of perfection is rarely the same as another’s. So, any infringement, difficulty, racket, or stench will be taken as trespassing on the other’s sacred values. It is not their home that you are talking about. It is their life! Soon, if they are not careful, they will become implacable enemies.

A Preserve Home Next to a Play Home
The Preserve and Play Home occupiers can become entangled in endless disputes. The fun, games, parties, and high jinx of the Play Home will inevitably irritate, enrage and, finally, embolden the ‘Preserve’ occupants to act. The Play Home folks should try to involve the Preserve Home folks, at least thematically, in their high-jinx. The Play Home occupants should invite the Preserve Home people to a fancy-dress party but should not be surprised when their Preserve neighbors come as themselves.

A Preserve Home Next to a Pursuit Home
The Preserve Home person wants to imagine they are alone. So, when they hear noise or nonsense from the Pursuit Home neighbors, they become irritated. They are aroused from a hibernation too early and they are far from happy. A thoughtful Pursuit Home occupant should make something that is emblematic of the Preserve Home’s values.  They should make their neighbors a shield decorated with the family crest or give them something free from the home business that endorses their neighbors’ concept of living in a sanctuary.

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A Play Home neighboring a …

A Play Home Next to a Picture Home
Potential trouble is looming between neighbors in a Play Home and a Picture Home because the occupants of the Play Home are concerned about socializing, playing games, practical jokes, and closing their eyes to the damage.

Is there some way the Play folks can have fun and help their neighbor’s house look better? Can the Picture Home people offer to help their neighbors tidy up after yet another outrageous Play party?

A Play Home Next to a Place Home
However little contact there is between the Place Home and the Play Home people, when they meet there is the strong potential for trouble. If the Play Home folks do something that irritates their neighbors, it may not be easy to resolve the issue. The Place Home occupant does not want to worry about their house, so wild activities by the neighbors that encroach on their Place are distinctly unwelcome.

A Play Home Next to a Preserve Home
The quiet sanctuary of the Preserve Home can easily be destroyed by the crazed goings on of the Play Home. Nothing will bring the angry bear out of its cave quicker than irritating noise, smell, vibration, or whatever. The Preserve Home people must learn to accept the carry-on next door while the Play Home folks must curb their exuberance or align it with the neighbors’ values.

A Play Home Next to a Play Home
When two Play Homes meet, the chance of complete integration is high. But, so is the chance of complete disintegration. First, both parties should check each other’s style. Sometimes, even if the occupants are different, they can enjoy the new games and activities of their neighbors. If there is trouble, it will inevitably arise because one form of entertainment clashes with another. How about scheduling around each other’s activities?

A Play Home Next to a Pursuit Home
There will be so much noise and activity in both of these houses, that any tensions could be lost in the cacophony. Of course, if the Play and the Pursuit Homes focus on radically different activities and values, then trouble will brew. A renovation being carried out while a social lunch party in under way could be fine, unless someone decided that the noise of the workshop was too much, or the parking was too difficult to deal with.

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A Pursuit Home neighboring a …

A Pursuit Home Next to a Picture Home
As the Pursuit Home occupants pursue their occupations, the Picture Home folks will become troubled. These are two fundamentally opposed notions of what a home is supposed to be. So, the activity of one will certainly interfere with the picture-perfect stillness of the other. It is the Pursuit Home person who will ‘cause’ the trouble and the Picture Home person who will complain. The Pursuit Home person should do something to help the Picture Home person ASAP.

A Pursuit Home Next to a Place Home
The Pursuit Home person is probably lucky that they live next to the most disassociated homemaker possible. At most, all the Pursuit Home person has to do is wave as the Place Home occupier comes and goes. The Place Home person is likely to tolerate most clamor, bustle, stink, and intrusion on their home because, in the end, they hardly notice.

A Pursuit Home Next to a Preserve Home
Every time the Pursuit Home person turns on an angle grinder on a Saturday afternoon, the Preserve Home occupants will snarl like dragons woken too early from hibernation. The noise tells them that they are not alone. The Pursuit Home occupant should offer to do something that will help make their neighbors’ Preserve Home even more of a sanctuary.

A Pursuit Home Next to a Play Home
There will be a huge amount of coming and going with both houses and, both neighbors will have to work hard to ensure there are no clashes. If they can somehow blend their fun and work, all will be well. If not, there could be endless, irreconcilable troubles.

A Pursuit Home Next to a Pursuit Home
For two neighboring Pursuit Homes to avoid trouble, the jobs that the occupants do have to be either compatible or the same. If the occupants of both homes use screeching electrical tools through the weekend, there may be little trouble. But, if one occupant is running a small hairdressing business in the garage and the clients sometimes block the neighbor’s drive, then trouble may loom. Maybe both occupants can do jobs for each other. Then everyone will be happy.

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