U.S. Senator Rand Paul had just finished mowing his lawn when a neighbor sprinted into his yard and tackled him. The senator landed hard and broke several ribs.
As it turns out, the assault had nothing to do with politics or with Paul’s long-time service in the Senate. It was the climax of a long-simmering conflict over how Paul handled his yard work.
Paul’s neighbor, who has pleaded guilty to the assault, told police he had “had enough.” He snapped that day when he watched the senator pile up brush close to his property.
Because a federal lawmaker was involved, and because news stories focused on the climax of the story – the assault – the incident appears far more unusual and dramatic than it really is. Neighbors disagree and bicker. All the time. And, unfortunately, neighbor disputes sometimes turn violent.
But, they don’t have to. Knowing what kinds of issues bring out the worst among neighbors and knowing how to resolve these differences before they lead to violence or the involvement of police can make life easier for you and your neighbors.
What Do Neighbors Fight About?
These kinds of disagreements start small, and most of the time people sort them out on their own. But, even neighbors who don’t assault each other can cross a line. Some people who have “had enough” will come onto their neighbor’s property and move the brush. This can lead to trespassing charges or physical confrontations.
Other issues that can lead to conflict and even violence include:
- Barking dogs and other animal noises: It can feel like an invasion of privacy to be kept awake by someone else’s pet, and neighbors get into heated arguments over barking dogs.
- Guns: People have very different attitudes about firearms and how and when they should be used. Some people feel threatened, frightened, and angry when they hear gunshots close to their home.
- Sheds or fences: One guy builds a shed, and his neighbor demands he move it because part of it is on his side of property line. Arguments over the exact location of the property line and demands to move the shed can result in angry confrontations and lawsuits.
- Easements and rights-of-way: Shared driveways are one of the most common sources of neighbor conflict. According to the deed, the owners of the two properties are supposed to share maintenance costs of the shared driveway. One neighbor gets angry because the other speeds down the drive in a big truck, spraying gravel everywhere. Should that neighbor pay more for maintenance? Or maybe one neighbor never pays up – again, angry confrontations and a possible lawsuit.
Get Help Before the Conflict Escalates
Property disputes are common – if you own property, you will probably find yourself involved in one eventually.
If you do, it is critical that you resolve the issue before it escalates to violence or someone calls the police. Once the police get involved, you and your neighbor have far less power to decide how to resolve the problem in a way that works for both of you.
SC Property Dispute Attorneys in Conway, Myrtle Beach, Columbia, and Charleston
Your attorney at Coastal Law can help you resolve a neighbor dispute through mediation, negotiations, filing a lawsuit when appropriate, or defending you against any frivolous criminal charges that arise from the disagreement.
Call us now at (843) 488-5000 or fill out our online form to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.