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In this blog, I’m not going to solve the problems you have with bad neighbors.
I’ve heard complaints from readers, who often forget that back home there are bad neighbors too. Everywhere!
Hence the decision of writing this blog, so you can pick any of the 7 ways to deal with them, the way that suits you best.
Some might believe praying helps, others won’t agree. You could start with that, instead of the #1 solution.
I have a bad neighbor myself. In my case, I’m lucky to have a bad neighbor who is never there. When she is, she yells at me across the fence whenever I send her a complaint by email. Thank God for email… and a high fence. In my opinion, her sense of cooperation “esta pa’l tigre“.
My neighbor’s problem is that she doesn’t pay any attention to her yard. We have a mango problem and a termite problem I can’t seem to stop. But my problems with my neighbor are not for today’s article. Today, we’re going to find ways to deal with bad neighbors in Costa Rica in general.
Before we get started on that, you need to realize that you are a foreigner, a guest in this country, as long as you behave. You, the foreigner, need to adjust to local customs and not the other way around. If you don’t want to adjust, you make yourself suffer unnecessarily. Then you better re-think your stay.
In the old days, you would always get to know your neighbors as soon as you’d move. I grew up with the custom to introduce yourself to your neighbors before you’d even move. Some neighbors in Costa Rica would appreciate that gesture, others don’t. Just like elsewhere.
There are many ways you can have problems with your neighbors, most of them are just childish or plain stupid, others are not. Neighbors sometimes think that showing their discomfort to everybody is the solution. The images I used throughout the article are proof of that.
So before you start fighting with your neighbors, you first need to sit down and think about what the problem is. Is it you or the neighbor creating the problem? Once you have decided if it’s you, the solution is simple: you adjust or get the first flight out of here.
Is your neighbor is the problematic one? Then maybe one of these 7 ways to deal with bad neighbors in Costa Rica will work for you:
1. Shoot your Neighbor
This is probably the 1st solution that comes to mind. Or you can poison your neighbor. That’s the fastest way to get rid of the problem. Maybe it’s not the solution you’re expected to see, but you might feel a lot better after the deed.
The negative side of this solution is that jails in Costa Rica are not a fun place to be. Watery rice & beans three times a day and sleeping with 40 others in a room that is meant for 5 is probably not the lifestyle you’re looking for.
2. Ring the Bell
Ask your local translator to join you and buy some flowers. Go ring the bell. If the neighbor won’t open the door, you can give the flowers to your wife.
Write up a full scenario of what can go wrong before you knock on that door, so you will know the answers to all the responses you might get from your neighbor.
By anticipating all your neighbors’ negatives, you can stay much calmer. You should have several solutions to the problem handy. Your local translator will need to be coached before the meeting of course. It is imperative that you give it to your neighbor straight up though. Show some personality and so the neighbor understands that you’re serious about it.
3. Use Email
Other than just ringing the bell, sending a well-organized and to-the-point email could be a smart solution. The advantage is that you can write it and get rid of all the bad blood without having to send it. Save it and go back to it the next day. Keep checking it for a week and make the changes. Once you’re absolutely sure you’re not using bad language and you’re diplomatic in your email, you can send it.
If your neighbor is a Tico and your Spanish doesn’t go past “buenos días” and “hola”, you will need someone to translate it correctly. Don’t use a taxi driver or a bartender, like some people I know when they purchased real estate. They now have a bad neighbor…
4. Get a Mediator
In other countries, there are mediation services, not in Costa Rica. If your neighbor is a religious person, find another person of the same religion to mediate with. Maybe you have a friend who is a psychologist who can help or maybe even a psychiatrist. They can probably mediate better than you can.
5. Police or a lawyer
Costa Rican law does not know a small claims court as some other countries do. If your problem is a legal problem or one that can be resolved by a lawyer, you should give it a try. But first try solutions 2, 3, and 4. The police in Costa Rica will not be of much help, you’ll be lucky if they show. And the courts take forever!
6. On Facebook
For a while, people vented their complaints on Facebook, 1159 people liked it. Facebook shut them down. You can try opening a Facebook, or Instagram page, or even build a website. If you’d like to see 143 Of The Funniest And Most Passive Aggressive Neighbor Messages Ever, they might even give you some good ideas.
7. Sell your property
Your last resort is probably putting your property on the market. But that is a definite solution. If you decide to do so, contact us at GoDutch Realty.
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I DO want to remind our readers that we appreciate any referrals you can send us. Also, please remember the GoDutch Realty agents when you talk about your home in Costa Rica, we appreciate it.