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The 5 Most Common Property Problems Among Long Island Neighbors

Neighbors in Long Island are known for sharing backyard BBQs and block parties. It isn’t uncommon for perfect strangers to become friends simply by proximity and sharing a property line. But as a residential real estate law firm, we know neighbors don’t always get along. Sometimes, arguments over property boundaries and renovations even land neighbors in court.

What are neighbors in Long Island most likely to argue about? At the Law Office of Samilde Perez, we’ve compiled a list of the five most common disputes and problems between neighbors in Long Island.

#1: Putting Up or Taking Down a Boundary Fence

Neighbors decide to put up a boundary fence for a variety of reasons. They delineate the property line, provide privacy, and contain a pet or child. In some instances, its required to have a boundary fence because of a swimming pool or other hazardous feature on your property. However, erecting a boundary fence isn’t always favorable to neighbors.

A neighbor may disagree with the height of the fence, materials used, or the exact path of the fence. Each of these disagreements can quickly become heated, as the boundary fence will directly impact neighbors every, single day. It’s common for disagreements over a boundary fence to become highly contentious.

The New York Legislature and municipalities have tried to ward off these arguments by enacting fence restrictions and laws. For example, its illegal in New York to have a fence over 10 feet high and built for the purpose of blocking a neighbor’s enjoyment of light or air.

#2: Trimming or Taking Down Trees

There are two common tree disputes between neighbors in Long Island. First, when one neighbor decides to cut down or remove a tree that grows across or over the property line, it often angers the next-door neighbor. For many people, trees are essential to the look and feel of the neighborhood, and removing one can spark a lot of anger.

Second, many disagreements begin when a tree located on one piece of property grows over the boundary line, and the neighbor wants to trim or cut the tree. In both cases, it’s best if the neighbors can come to an agreement before permanent action is taken with the tree because afterward, these conflicts are very difficult to mend.

#3: Noise and Loud Nuisances

The most neighbor complaints and disagreements arise because of noise. Whether a neighbor is hosting band practice or packing a house with barking dogs, noise is undesirable in any neighborhood. In several parts of Long Island, a noisy neighbor can bother the entire neighborhood.

Of course, state and local governments have tried to address noise problems between neighbors for a long time. Zoning laws and regulations were put in place to prevent noise and other nuisances from impacting residential areas, and local law enforcement regularly responds to noise complaints. However, the number of noise complaints on Long Island is far lower than in busier Manhattan, where noise continues to be the most significant quality of life issue for residents.

#4: Questions of Taste and Aesthetics

The list of arguments and disagreements over aesthetics is lengthy. Neighbors argue over everything from paint color to planting a new fern or tree. Even when these changes don’t impact neighboring property, the debates become heated.

These disputes are also difficult to manage and negotiate. Aesthetics are, for the most part, a question of personal taste. Whereas other disputes, such as building an encroaching structure or breaking a noise ordinance have an objective answer, these do not. However, there is usually local ordinance in Long Island that addresses the disagreement. These ordinances can address anything from grass and ground cover to artwork and exterior design. Different Long Island communities and local governments can enact separate ordinances for their community, and to understand what aesthetic rules you must follow, you need to look at the local code.

 #5: Deciding on the Boundary Line

Surveys and deed documents provide a lot of information about property boundaries, but people aren’t pulling out these documents every day. Every now and then, a neighbor will plant a tree, pave a driveway, or construct a swing set that crosses the property line. On a more regular basis, neighbors put out their trashcans, chain their dogs, and let their kids cross the boundary line. All of these behaviors can lead to stark disagreement over where one piece of property ends and the other begins.

Solving Neighbor Disagreements

Neighbors frequently try to settle their disputes without legal assistance, and many are able to reach a compromise or acceptable arrangement on their own. However, other conflicts aren’t easily solved. If you’ve had a serious disagreement with a neighbor, and are ready to negotiate a resolution, it’s time to speak with a real property lawyer in Long Island.

Contact the Law Office of Samilde Perez at 516-216-5060 to speak with a knowledgeable lawyer and schedule an initial consultation.



The information in this blog post (“Post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this Post should be construed as legal advice from The Law Office of Samilde Perez or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter.