It Starts Small and Builds

Maybe there are noise problems, or the use of steer manure fertilizer, an awkward parking situation or perhaps there’s a little pooch who wanders over to make poo in its neighbors’ front yard.  Unfortunately, such neighbor disputes frequently land in law offices. Neighbors are routinely charged with crimes against other neighbors (such as harassment or third degree assault), and one side ends up hiring a lawyer.

Protection Orders & Property Line Lawsuits

At Shaun Kaufman Law, I handle at least one case a year where one neighbor seeks a protection order from another neighbor. Although neighbor disputes often start small, they can end up in property line lawsuits and ultimately, property line trials. This last example is expensive for clients as lawyers must rely on surveyors and their (expensive) expert opinions.

How to Prevent Legal Disputes with Your Neighbors

When things go bad between neighbors and the police are called, or when restraining orders get filed, expect legal bills from $1500 to several thousand dollars. So how can this be prevented?

The bulk of neighbor disputes (or what I like to call neighbors gone bad) really show up when a property owner becomes so obsessed with her property ownership rights that she forgets the value of being a good neighbor. Good neighbor relationships are modeled on people who nurture and value their neighbors. These are the people who work at helping neighbors in some of the following ways:

  • Watching a house when someone leaves town

    Good neighbors chip in to help each other, such as looking for lost pets

  • Helping find lost pets
  • Discussing (calmly) any parking issues.

Regarding this last issue, we have a neighbor who lives in a nearby rental unit. Unlike tenants before her, she recognizes that we need to park close to our home. She parks 20 feet farther from her door so that we can access our parking space. She is (and here is a word you don’t hear enough anymore) considerate. Her consideration is an investment in the intangible of good neighborliness. It is an investment in the “we” and not the “property line me.”

 How to Stay Out of a Law Office

Here is a way to stay out of a law office. Turn off the me, and turn on the we. Think of interactions with your neighbors as investments in good future relations. In that manner, you can prevent Neighbors Gone Bad.

Colorado criminal defense attorney Shaun Kaufman has nearly thirty years of experience in the justice system.  To contact Shaun Kaufman, either fill out the contact form on the right of this page or call 303-309-0430.

Shaun Kaufman: Compassionate Lawyer, Tough Litigator