Much like how that one scuffed dining room chair will lower the value of the whole set, one unkept property will drag down the prices of all the surrounding homes. Sadly, living next to a derelict home can happen to anyone at any point in time. All it takes is for your current neighbours to fall into some financial crisis that causes their home to go to wreck and ruin, or to have a real-world version of The Adam’s Family move in next door.

Though you can request that a neighbour takes certain steps to neaten up their property, there is very little one can do to force their hand – especially when the property is situated on a freehold erf. But, if a property is situated in a lifestyle estate, it is easier to take action as there are guidelines in place according to which each homeowner must adhere. You would simply need to report the property in question to the HOA who would ensure proper maintenance takes place.

For those who do not own property in a lifestyle estate governed by an HOA or Body Corporate, here are a few diplomatic approaches to dealing with negligent neighbours:

1. Be neighbourly

Don’t be too hasty in your anger against your neighbour. You do not know what could have happened to cause their house to stand derelict. Instead of sitting in your home nursing your indignance, approach them and show some neighbourly concern for the sudden change in the appearance of their home and find out if there is any way you could help.

2. Take the straight forward approach 

Diplomacy is key in this approach. Nobody wants animosity to exist between themselves and their neighbours. If you approach them calmly and kindly explain the situation, requesting that they tidy up the exterior of their home (at the least while your home is on the market), you might find that they were unaware of the effect they were having and would be happy to oblige. Of course, it is also likely that they simply don’t care how the appearance of their home affects you. However, you won’t know unless you ask.

3. Offer to pay for the repairs

If the appearance of their home really bugs you, and your home is currently on the market, you could offer to pay to get the exterior fixed up for them. It’s possible that your neighbour won’t turn down the free offer; and, while it might cost you a couple of hundred (or thousand depending on the extent of the damage) to hire some professionals for them, it could save you tens of thousands in terms of the resale value of your own property.

Are you tired of living next to a negligent neighbour? It might be time to search for a new home. If you need help selling your property, give your nearest RE/MAX office a call today.