Every neighborhood has those neighbors.  You know, the ones that everyone talks about while wrangling their pets and/or offspring at the park. The ones who all others avoid at the community mailbox.  The ones who are somehow, whether purposefully or unwittingly, able to push the buttons of the entire cul de sac.  While no one embarks on their journey into the HOA with the goal of becoming the neighborhood pariah, it can happen to any of us.  Here are a few, simple guidelines to follow in order to avoid being that neighbor.  

Noise Levels

One of the most common complaints coming from exasperated neighbors is noise.  Just because you are awake and have the sudden urge to mow your lawn at 6am, refrain.  If you feel compelled to blast your favorite college-era tunes while cruising your neighborhood streets, abstain.  Try to understand that while you may be the king of your castle, your castle is likely in close proximity to many others, and the choices that you make impact those various kings and queens as well.  Be aware of the rules surrounding noise in your community’s governing documents, and try to employ a little common sense as well.  

A Simple Conversation

Living in close proximity nearly guarantees that, at some point, something that your neighbors do will get under your skin.  It could be the length of their grass, the way that they park their car, or the way that their tree limb stretches ever so slightly over your property line.  Whatever the minor or major infraction may be, the best course of action, when these annoyances build to the point of exasperation, is always the same: talk to your neighbors first.  It is very likely that the offense that is driving you crazy has gone unnoticed by them and a simple conversation is all that is needed to remedy the situation.  As MaxHOA has made mention of many, many times, the people that live in your community are, for the most part, good and well-meaning individuals.  Consider the fact that it is likely, nay inevitable, that even you, a person who you likely believe to be a relatively decent human being (certainly not attempting to overthrow the delicate balance that is the neighborhood) will do something, at some point, that will severely nettle your neighbor.  When this happens, wouldn't you prefer to have the opportunity to discuss your faux pas, in a civil manner, before any further action be taken?  We thought so.  Give your neighbors the benefit of the doubt.  They are likely as benevolent, yet blissfully clueless to their missteps as you.

Follow the Rules

True, you may not agree completely with each and every rule that your association has put forth, but, for the most part, these rules were created and are upheld with your best interest and the best interest of your home in mind.  So while it can be frustrating to have to pull those trash cans in no longer than 24 hours after trash collection, or  to be limited in your color choices when it comes time to paint you home, do your best to toe the line.  Additionally, if there is a rule that you truly and whole-heartedly believe is wrong or unfair, by all means, take the appropriate steps to make a positive change, but do it in a way that is productive and meaningful.  

Scoop the Poop

Yes, it’s icky.  No, no one really wants to do it.  Do it anyway.  One of the quickest, surefire ways to end up on the you-know-what list of all of your neighbors, is not taking care of your dog’s you-know-what. For the sake of all involved, it is better to accept the fact that welcoming a furry friend into your life ensures that, for the lifespan of said companion, you are to serve as a poop disposal service.  

In addition to looking gross and smelling bad, leaving your doggie’s doo can be potentially harmful to the health of your neighbors as well.  Parasites, such as roundworms and tapeworms, as well as bacterial infections like Salmonellosis and Yersiniosis can be transmitted to humans through dog feces.  Many communities have taken to installing bag and disposal stations on trails and near parks to aid you in this endeavor.  The message, take care of it; as a pet owner, it’s your doodie and your duty.  

Respect Shared Spaces

One of the great things about living with a HOA is the access to the amenities that they offer.  However, the parks, clubhouses and pools can quickly take a turn when misused or neglected.  Take pride in your neighborhood and be considerate of all your neighbors.  Pick up trash, respect the rules of common spaces and generally try to be a good person when taking advantage of the great perks your community provides.