How to Be a Good Neighbor: Town Home and Condo Etiquette

Turn onto the backstreets of my town home neighborhood, and the beauty of the Old World style homes will pleasantly surprise you. The community is small, and the landscaping is fresh and well-maintained. The neighborhood looks like a dream.

Move in and you will have a rude awakening from that dream. Town homes and condominiums are supposed to be that nice middle ground for homeowners who do not want to rent but also not have the hassle of landscape and other outside maintenance. Unfortunately, not all homeowners or renters in our community have the same goal of a pleasant neighborhood. You can see Kopar at Newton with best locality and community. You can buy or rent yourself your dream house as well. With a long list of best option you are just one click away.

As I am sure this is a universal issue, here are a few tips for learning to be a good neighbor in a town home or condominium community.

Be Cognizant of the Rules

Whether you own or rent in a community, always be sure you know and understand the community rules. The policies are in place for a reason: so that many different people of many different backgrounds can come together in a peaceful, pleasant neighborhood. If you own a unit in a community but rent it out, be sure your renters understand the rules. You will be the one responsible should your renters not follow the policies.

Be Careful about Parking Issues

Most communities, like mine, have a policy regarding parking. You should park only in your own driveway (you would be surprised how many people feel they can park in another’s drive). Many people use their garage as a storage shed and park wherever they want. Or families have too many vehicles for their home. Be courteous to your neighbors and work on getting your vehicles into the proper places. Depending on your neighborhood’s rules, stick with your own driveway and garage. Do not use or overuse extra parking places designed for guests.

Another reason you should always park in designated places is that if you park in a mailbox, mail may not be delivered. It has happened in my neighborhood. An across-the-street neighbor parked her car in front of my mailbox and I saw the postman make a wide arc around the car and my mailbox. Thanks to her, I did not get my mail that day. Postal workers are not required to get out of their trucks to deliver mail to boxes that are parked in. (I checked!)

Do not park on narrow streets where emergency vehicles cannot pass. In my neighborhood, for example, we have streets wide enough or two vehicles to pass, but no more. If someone is parked on the curb, you have to let the other car pass before you can get around. Unfortunately, one night an ambulance was called to a home in the back of the community. The ambulance could not pass through one street because two cars were parked, one on either side of the road, and did not leave enough room for even one car to pass. Seconds matter when there is an emergency.

Parking issues can also cost you a lot of money. What would happen if a fire engine could not get through? Imagine how much of a building would burn before a fire truck could get through.

Be Courteous to your Neighbors

Garbage day is the bane of most communities. Inevitably, speaking as someone who is on the board of directors for my homeowner’s association, we get complaints about those who never take their trash cans back in after garbage pickup. Or garbage is taken out too early and a windstorm sends the trash all over the neighborhood. Rule of thumb (and again, check your own association’s policies): Do not bring your trash to the curb until the night before/day of garbage pick up. Take your trash can in as soon as possible after garbage pick up. Also do not make an enemy of your neighbor by not properly securing your trash and wind up with garbage all over the yards.

Dogs are another big problem in communities. Yes, they are cute and lovable but also work. Be a responsible pet owner and clean up after your dog- even if it is in your own yard. When you are sharing walls and yard space, no one wants to look at dog waste. Many people choose to not have a dog and will resent having to clean up dog waste from their own yards.

Also, keep your pet on a leash whenever it is outdoors. My daughter was nearly bitten while playing in on our own patio. The dog from across the street, not on a leash, came running over barking, trying to “protect” its turf. In a small community like a condo or town home neighborhood, you have to be extra careful about your pets.

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

I have always liked that line from Robert Frost’s poem: “good fences make good neighbors.” In a town home community, we need those fences both in the literal as well as the metaphorical sense. If you are able and wish to, sometimes a good solid fence will help keep the neighborhood peace. But if not, use a metaphorical one. Keep your things in your space. If you have shared space, such as a front patio or a rear yard, keep your side neat and tidy. When in doubt, ask your neighbor. It is far better to open a line of communication than to go ahead and cause a rift. Take criticism or requests seriously and be open to them. We had a neighbor ask us to take down our birdfeeder. It was shared space so we did. It is far easier to politely comply than to fight for our right to do something. It was his right to look out at that yard as much as it was ours.

If worse comes to worst, go to your association board. The reason they exist is to keep things running smoothly in the neighborhood. Or better yet, get involved! I mentioned I am a part of my homeowner’s association. Out of nearly 200 homes, only 4 people ran for a 3 places on the Board of Directors. For two years the same 3 directors and 3 other committee members have served with no other offers of help. Get involved in your community and you will find it can be a better place to live.