As you know, our goal as Management is to create a harmonious, estate-lifestyle environment; a place where those who live here don’t want to move away, and those who don’t, want to be part of this lifestyle and invest into the Estate.
On the whole, I’d like to think that we’re succeeding – residents generally talk very affectionately of their Estate.
Even on contentious issues, we find that most residents approach us and fellow residents in a calm and respectful manner and, in most cases the respondents oblige.
However, we are sometimes approached by residents who report problems pertaining to their neighbours. Often, when we assist in neighbourly matters, a problem is created where there really was no reason for us to be involved, as we often get the response “well why did my neighbour not just come and see me to sort this out”.
Involving Estate Management can sometimes do more damage to the relationship between neighbours than the problem itself would have caused, and we would therefore like to encourage neighbours to communicate with each other.
Naturally, if it’s a matter that is governed by the articles or Estate Rules – and even with the best intentions your neighbour still does not respect your predicament, we will most certainly get involved.
To stimulate our thinking in this regard, we have jotted down a few principles of good neighbourliness. Yep, it’s a bit corny, but if we all applied the simple principles of good neighbourliness then we probably wouldn’t need an extensive rules manual.
So here goes:
Introduce yourself. Whether you’re new on the Estate or have been living here for a while and have never met your neighbours. Security is just one reason to get to know your neighbour, there are many more. There may come a time that your neighbour’s skills can save your life or assist you in great difficulty and so may yours.
Consider your neighbours’ lifestyle. Get to know your neighbours – what they do for a living, what their schedules might be like, and so on. Sometimes, you can remedy problems before they even start; for example, if they work nights, quiet mornings will be important for them. If they have young children, quiet evenings will be very important to them. Similarly, give them information that’ll help them be more considerate of your lifestyle. If you do a lot of yard work, or if your teenage son plays the drums, let them know in advance and mention that if it’s getting too loud, they shouldn’t hesitate to let you know.
Control your dog or pets. Keep your dog on a leash if it has a habit of running rampant on your neighbours’ lawns, especially if they have a cat or a dog of their own, and make sure to clean up after it. If you have a particularly noisy dog, this may also become a source of contention for your neighbour. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine how upset you’d be if you or perhaps your new-born was woken from a much-needed nap by the sudden yapping of a nearby dog. If you have problems controlling your dog’s barking or whining, consider seeking advice from your local vet or pet behaviourist.
Practice good parking and driving etiquette. When you park your vehicle, be sure not to block anyone’s access, park on the pavements or lawns. Don’t over-rev the engine of your car or motorcycle early in the morning or late at night. Park in front of your home, not your neighbour’s. Avoid slamming your doors or shining your headlights into your neighbour’s windows late at night. Don’t speed or drive recklessly on the estate.
Alert your neighbour to parties. If you’re planning a party, be sure to give your neighbours plenty of warning, informing them of when it’s going to start and how long you expect it to go on. Leave them a telephone number to contact if they need to ask you to turn down the music etc. If you get on well with your neighbours, why not invite them too? When it comes to the party itself, stick to your agreed arrangements and ask your guests to be considerate when leaving.
Keep your garden tidy. Weed your garden regularly, because the presence of weeds in your yard is not only unsightly but can also spread to your neighbour’s yard. Mow your lawn regularly and keep your flowers, trees and bushes trimmed appropriately. Make sure the trees in your garden are not causing your neighbour undue problems. Put equipment away as soon as you’re finished with it. Ask if your neighbour has chemical sensitivities, small children or pets before applying pesticides.
Put rubbish out on the right day. Only put your garden waste out on Mondays and domestic waste on Tuesday’s. If you accidentally miss the collection, bring it back onto your property immediately and try to contain it well. Rubbish can attract vermin, insects and other pests, and is also unsightly. Your neighbour may be planning a special event at his or her house and your heap of green bags is very unsightly to their guests.
Communicate with your neighbour. Above all, touch base with your neighbours regularly and keep them in the loop. Remember that if anything you are planning to do may affect them, minimize it and let them know in advance. Keep the channels of communication open by reminding them that if you’re doing anything which disturbs them, they should feel comfortable approaching you about it. Similarly, if you are planning to cut that that tree that is hanging over the wall from your neighbour’s side, discuss it with him or her before you just start cutting away.
Be aware of your surroundings, as well as theirs. Even if you’re not in a “neighbourhood watch” community, keep your eye on anyone you don’t know acting suspiciously around your neighbour’s property. When in doubt, call the Control Room on 021 553 1250 so they can quickly curtail any criminal activity.
Lastly we ask that those of you with dogs consider that no high winds make sound travel further in that direction – and your barking dog is therefore causing a disturbance far beyond just your immediate neighbors.