To be, or not to be, passive aggressive with neighbours

Chances are, as a renter you’ve experience your share of interesting neighbours. There are neighbours that turn into lifelong friends, neighbours you keep as acquaintances and dog walkers, and then there are the bad neighbours you tell stories about to your friends. The loud neighbour, the nosey neighbour, the barking neighbour, the “I’m a jerk for no reason” neighbour — they all have a special spot in your story repertoire.

Like it or not, living with a bad neighbour is almost like a rite of passage in the renting world, and we all have to learn how to deal with it.

The loud neighbour

Before accusing someone of being a loud neighbour, you need to take a few things into account. If you live in a basement of an old building, your upstairs neighbour is probably going to seem loud. There is a difference though, in regular routine noise that unfortunately echoes through old buildings, from the recklessly loud and annoying schedule an actual loud neighbour insists on keeping. If you have a neighbour that consistently plays music at full volume past 11 p.m., or that is just generally excessively loud at all hours, it can be unpleasant for everyone. So, how to deal with it?

The passive-aggressive way: Leave an unsigned note on their door or on the front door of the building for all residents to see in an attempt to embarrass them into submission.

The other way: Go chat with them. Sometimes people genuinely don’t realize how clearly others can hear their music (and singing). Asking someone nicely to turn in early occasionally is far more likely to result in a compromise than leaving a note or banging on the ceiling.

The nosey neighbour

When I think of a nosey neighbour, I picture the old lady that used to live next door to me, who never seemed to approve of male guests coming over. In reality, she was nothing in comparison to a legitimate nosey neighbour — a neighbour who is constantly prying into other tenants’ lives, seemingly trying to catch them doing something wrong, like painting their walls without asking the landlord. If it’s truly bothersome, you need to find a way to deal with it.

The passive-aggressive way: Make up some worrisome gossip about another tenant to send the nosey neighbour scurrying in fear to get them off your back.

The other way: You can talk to your neighbour and let them know you’re a private person and don’t always want to share everything with them — nicely. Or you can be kind and still chat with them, but avoid divulging too much information.

The barking neighbour

If you’re annoyed with a dog barking in your building, try to remember that a little barking is normal for dogs, especially in busy buildings. If the barking is excessive — and happening at all hours — then it’s a different story. You might be worried the dog is upset or alone too often. But you really don’t know, so again, you can go about this one of two ways.

The passive-aggressive way: Leave an unsigned note on the door for the owner telling them you’re going to call animal control.

The other way: Knock on your neighbour’s door and chat with them about their dog’s barking. It’s likely they don’t know that their dog barks when they aren’t home and they’d appreciate hearing your concern over a threat.

The disagreeable neighbour

Ah, the worst neighbour of them all. They are loud when you don’t want to be, call the landlord when you do want to be, and they don’t hold the elevator when you’re struggling to run in with multiple bags of groceries. If they have a dog, the dog is always barking. If they don’t have a dog, they are always complaining about yours. All around, they are the jerk of your community. How do we go about living with this kind of neighbour?

The passive-aggressive way: There are many options here. Call the cops when they are loud, make up things to try to get them evicted, leave them notes, be mean to them, etc.

The other way: Be the bigger person and ignore their quirks. If something big comes up (bigger than them just not holding the elevator), go talk to them, or talk to your landlord about options that might work for everyone. Remember — sometimes we just happen to catch someone on a really bad day. They might not be so bad all the time.


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