What It Means to Be a Good Neighbor in an Association
We all have different opinions of what makes a “good neighbor”. Some people would classify a good neighbor as someone who will chat across the fence or is willing to lend eggs. Other people may believe a good neighbor is one who leaves everyone alone and minds his or her own business.
While there is no universal opinion of what is a “good neighbor”, there are certain standards that allow residents to enjoy their homes. It is generally agreed that neighborliness and a sense of community helps maintain and even increases property values and increases security for everyone in the neighborhood.
In researching what it means to be a “good neighbor”, I stumbled across several associations that have “good neighbor” agreements, protocols, policies, ordinances, and lists for association owners to adhere to, and even “good neighbor” committees that have been assigned to the community. Some associations give a yearly “Good Neighbor Award” to a resident who has gone beyond the call for their neighbors.
When living in a homeowner’s association being a good neighbor also means complying with the covenants, rules and regulations that are in place. The association is all of the owners who purchased property within the bounds of a particular community and agreed to be bound by certain governing documents. The covenants and rules are often the reason why many people choose to purchase property in a covenant-controlled community.
When living in a place with no covenants, a resident can be subject to roosters crowing at 4:00 a.m., music blaring in the middle of the night from a neighbor, and dilapidated houses, all of which can not only bring down the property values, but interfere with the enjoyment of the property. While owners may not always agree with a particular rule, the rules are in place to preserve property values and keep the community secure. Residents are not free to “pick and choose” the rules that they want to follow, since people will obviously pick the rules only that they want to follow and disregard the others.
In reviewing a myriad of good neighbor rules from associations across the nation, the following is a list of guidelines of how to be a good neighbor in an association:
- Work with others to improve the neighborhood by serving on neighborhood groups and committees.
- Do not misuse or neglect your property.
- Respect the property of others. For example, do not park your car on others’ lawns or in a way that blocks someone from backing out of their own driveway.
- Get to know your neighbors. Spend time socializing, and assisting neighbors that may be in a bind. Good deeds build trust and goodwill.
- Inform your renters of the rules. Give your tenants a copy of the covenants, bylaws and rules and regulations. Owners are responsible for the conduct of their tenants.
- Immediately pick up after your pets and control your pets. Put collars and licenses on your cats and dogs. If you have a problem with someone else’s pet, then talk to your neighbor about the issue.
- Get involved in the homeowner’s association by attending meetings or joining a committee.
- Give your neighbor a heads-up that if planning a home renovation or remodel.
- If you’re having a party, inform your neighbors to expect additional cars, people, and possibly noise. Even better, invite the neighbors!