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Bad Neighbours – How Not To Be One

We’ve all heard the stories, watched the current affairs programs, and now seen the movie and it’s sequel, but being a bad neighbour doesn’t need to be as dramatic as those shows. Bad neighbours come in all different shapes, sizes and though one thing always in common, a complete lack of respect for those around them, or so it would seem. Sometimes being labeled a bad neighbour, can come from something as innocent as getting carried away with your renovation and forgetting to notify the neighbour that tradespeople are about to begin work on your home from 7am in the morning. Now while 7am might be ok for me, for other people, this is way to early.

So how do you avoid being labeled a bad neighbour when renovating or having any work done to your home? Let’s explore.

How Not To Become A Bad Neighbour

We all live differently right? And in today’s society, we don’t necessarily know our neighbours all that well. Some of us are fortunate to be on a first name basis, perhaps your ok with a friendly wave over the fence, for some of us, we’ve never even crossed paths, so how do we remain in the ‘good books’ with our neighbours, if we choose to have work done on our home.

Firstly it is your responsibility to take a moment to get in contact with your neighbours and let them know what is coming. By this I mean, if you are on speaking terms, drop in on your neighbour and have a chat about what you are planning with your home. Let them know when you expect it to start, and finish as well as when you anticipate the daily work to start, for example, from 7am to 3pm each day.

In Queensland we are able to work by law Monday to Saturday from 6.30am till 6.30pm during Summer, and 7am to 5pm in Winter. Sunday and public holidays we are prohibited from working.

If you are not on speaking terms, then pop a letter outlining the above. Approximate start date and finish, the work times each day, and the proposed works to be undertaken.

Most importantly don’t leave it to the last minute to notify your neighbours, especially don’t leave it to the day the tradespeople are due to start work. Your neighbours have a right to prepare themselves for the added noise and traffic as well.

Some other points to keep in mind are on street parking. With the influx of tradies, will come a decrease of parking spaces, again impacting your neighbours. It never hurts to let your neighbours know your builders phone number in case they are faced with a situation in which they have been parked in. It’s much better for you if the builder is dealing with the upset neighbours, after all, it isn’t something you are personally responsible for.

Rubbish is another common complaint. It is not uncommon for a builder to have a skip bin placed on the footpath in order to keep the site clean, clutter free, and to prevent the hazard of the large bin being on site. Room is paramount on a building site. Skip bins on the footpath can be unsightly, however a good builder with discussion, will fence the area to keep it as tidy as possible.

Loud noise on site is always cause for complaint. Most neighbours are happy to accept the noise of power tools as an expectation, however the noise of machinery is can be very tiresome. Give neighbours an extra heads up if machinery such as bob cats are to be on site. Swearing, and loud radios are another common and very valid complaint. Address these with your builder immediately, this should never be tolerated.

As with all other facets around building, good clear communication is usually enough to nip problems in the bud before they get out of hand. Of course there will always be exceptions, but if you have communicated all you need too, even these should be reduced.

Got any bad neighbour stories to share? Loud parties next door? What’s your favourite song?

Nicole xxx


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  1. We’ve always had amazingly great neighbours. Touch wood. Maybe we’re the bad neighbours?

    1. Ha ha ha! I am sure you are not x

  2. Our neighbours had work done recently and didn’t tell us a thing. It was especially awesome as a shift worker trying to sleep in the day with some guy cutting tiles out the front. Wish I’d known in advance!

    1. We had similar recently when a neighbour didn’t let us know until 30 minutes before the workmen at her house started cutting down and mulching trees. For people who work at home, this made for a very unproductive day.

  3. We’ve had a couple of loud parties near us! Thankfully they aren’t held too often!

    1. Parties can be difficult to tolerate. For my 40th we sent letters to all the neighbouring houses to give them notice, just in case we were too loud. But we are obviously too old to be loud, that or they are very patient neighbours ?

  4. Great tips Nicole. My brother has a bad neighbour who has just demolished his house and ruined the fence but avoiding my brother because he doesn’t want to fix it. ARGH.

    1. Oh that’s terrible! I hope he is able to find a resolution very soon x

  5. Our neighbours all seemed to be doing work at the same time so that was quite convenient even if our little coldesac was a little cramped! Although just today there’s a massive skip half way across the road that they didn’t tell us about which I think is a bit rude, hopefully it’s gone by tomorrow as the street is only 1 car width as it is!

    1. Working in a small street is a nightmare! I do hope the skip bin is gone today xx

  6. We’ve actually been quite lucky with our neighbours over the years, my only complaint would be the truck that arrived at the building site over the road at 6am in the morning, left the motor running and was loading something like metal or rubbish into the back. Now that was ridiculous. Other than that, they’ve been quite good with their noise.

    1. Pleased to hear it! xx

  7. we have always been lucky so far with neighbours. We just moved in our new home 5 weeks ago, we have met a couple of neighbours who seem lovely. We have a lot of building going on around us right now, and our neighbour has been noisy with landscaping lately and I even pulled up to find wheelbarrows in my drive blocking my garage, but I didn’t mind, they were quick to move them. They then asked if I could park on the street because they had a concrete truck coming and would love to use my driveway. Again I was fine with it, and they did a really good clean of my driveway after they were done. I think if people ask you and are polite then I don’t mind helping them out. I think most people are nice (aren’t they?) It is sometimes about just respecting other people.

    1. Absolutely! And I really think any time someone is upset, there is probably a valid reason for it, at least in the beginning. Like everything, good communication is the key! xx

  8. Knock on wood, we have always had great neighbours & tried to be good neighbours in return but we do have 3 noisy boys so I suppose it go the other way!

    1. Great neighbours are the best! Makes home life so much more comfortable. x

  9. We have great neighbours on both sides. Thankfully our homes are fairly newish so won’t require renovating for a while. Great tips. Has the builder ever had to smooth things over with a neighbor? x

    1. Fortunately we haven’t. We actually notify the neighbours ourselves, just to be sure they have contact details if they are concerned or worried about something. Prevents a lot of issues. xx

  10. We’re very lucky with our neighbours all around us. It’s a really friendly area. I think we may have annoyed them to start off with due to our build that took quite a while, but all is rosy now.

    1. I think most people are very accepting of building sites, especially when the noise is kept to a minimum x

  11. We’re lucky that most people are accepting as long as the guidelines are followed, but it never hurts to be proactive and give people a heads up.

    1. Absolutely!

  12. The neighbours in the block behind us had an extension put on without notifying any of their surround neighbours – there were some very cranky people on our block for about 3 months!

    1. I can imagine, it doesn’t take much to notify the neighbours. xx

  13. When people bought the house next door to me, they left us flowers on the doorstep with a note about construction.

    Then the proceeded to work at all times of day and night with power tools, well, well, WELL outside of legal hours. And parked in all the time – not by the tradies but by our freaking neighbours.

    So, the flowers tip would be nice (I actually don’t like flower, but I understand most people do) but only if you follow through with actually being a good neighbour and doing your reno at legal hours (not power tools at 6am on a Sunday).

    1. Flowers are a lovely idea, but only if you are going to do the right thing to go along with it. What a slap in the face! My goodness I get all upset when the neighbours mow on a Sunday before 9am, I could not be patient with power tools at 6am Sunday!!

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