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If there’s one thing that can put a damper on summertime fun, it’s problems with your neighbours. Nobody likes the tension of having an issue with a neighbour, but not knowing how to approach them can even build up resentment, and lead to further conflict. Summer is a time for fun, not stress, and so etiquette expert Julie Blais Comeau has prepared a list of handy tips for dealing with some unfortunately common neighbourhood situations.

When your neighbour borrows your tools but never returns them

Instill a personal policy about not lending out tools without your supervision. If it’s convenient for you, offer to help with your tool. Try saying something like “I’ve been losing track of my tools so I’ve decided not to lend them out anymore, but I’m happy to come help you with your wood cutting.” When leaving, ask for your items.

When your neighbour’s dog has taken to relieving itself on your lawn

Don’t discipline the dog or address the situation with the children or teenagers, and don’t send an anonymous note. Visit in person and address it homeowner to homeowner, saying something along the lines of “It seems your dog has taken a liking to my lawn. When the children are outside he comes over to relieve himself. Please ask the children to watch over him so he doesn’t pee on our grass.”

When your neighbour’s overflowing garbage ends up on your lawn

Don’t send an anonymous note – visit in person and address it homeowner to homeowner. Offer the solution of recycling bags, saying “I know that recycling can sometimes overflow, but over the last few weeks I’ve had to pick up some of your recycling items. I don’t know if you knew, but you can purchase these bags to put the extra items –  here, I brought you a couple.” If it doesn’t stop, call the municipality.

When your neighbour’s unkempt and overgrowing lawn is an eyesore

Offer to help by volunteering a morning or afternoon, or contact information of a landscaper or students available to help. Try saying “If you want, I could give you a hand with removing those weeds this Saturday morning.”

When your neighbour’s home renovations damage your property

Prepare with photos and repair estimates, and then address it in person. Try saying “Hey, I hope your renos are coming along as you planned. Unfortunately, there was damage done to our siding. I took a couple of pictures and got some estimates. When you have the time, I’d like to review them with you.”