Good Neighbour Relations
How do your neighbours feel about your rental plans? Have you told them you are renting out? Are they likely to be welcoming to your guests or create friction?
These are some of the questions you need to consider when you start your rental business, because keeping quiet about it is not an option. As soon as your first guests roll up with their excited kids, barking dogs and in general happy-clappy-we-are-on-vacation mode, they are going to know. Rather than surprise them, take some time to talk to them, hear their concerns and let them know how responsibly you plan on renting the place.
These are the most common concerns your neighbours may have, so addressing them upfront will help enormously to allay their fears. Show them you have thought of everything that might occur and offer reassurance that you have systems in place to avoid
The #1 fear expressed by neighbours of rental cottages is that the home will be rented to large groups of young people intent on partying. It is a valid concern as the press love to unearth stories about these events happening. In fact it’s a rare occurrence but it is still important that you screen your rental guests and know who will be at your property at any time. Tell your neighbours your occupancy limits and how you plan on avoiding overcrowding.
People are on vacation and it’s understandable they will be excited, exuberant and often pretty noisy. Year-round residents in lakefront locations are often retired and the peace and tranquility is important to them so just share that you will make your guests aware of any local nighttime noise restrictions and to request that outdoor music is kept to a minimum.
Straying and Barking dogs
Introducing new dogs into an established neighbourhood where the resident pooches might wander at will, may be a challenge. This could be a bigger issue if your neighbours have a small pet that is used to its territory, and a strange (and much larger) dog or dogs arrive next door on a frequent basis. You will need to be sensitive to this and possibly rethink your pet-friendly policy if there are likely to be issues.
Dogs in unfamiliar surroundings will mark their territory as well as checking out the new terrain. Neighbours will lose patience quickly if visiting dogs leave their lasting mark that doesn’t get picked up, bark incessantly or go on digging expeditions.
For permanent residents, property boundaries are usually known an respected. However if guests are not shown where those boundaries are, problems can arise. Think about ways of making sure they know where they can go, what outdoor items they can use, and where they can park their cars. Blocking the neighbours access even inadvertently can create friction.
Attracting the Wildlife
In country areas where bears and raccoons are in more abundance, it’s important that you have clear instructions on what your guests should do with their garbage. It’s not uncommon for visitors to deliberately leave garbage outside in order to attract the wildlife so they get a viewing opportunity. Until they have had a bear on the deck pawing at a screen door they won’t know how dangerous this can be so make sure you educate them well.
Issues of Respect
When happy guests arrive on vacation they often want to integrate themselves into the community and make friends with all the neighbours.
However, the transient nature of the rental population can have the opposite effect as permanent residents are not always open to overtures of friendship from the guests next door.
It could take as little as a children’s ball game getting out of hand, or a radio being played too loudly, for the neighbours to make a complaint. Add in a campfire being lit in the daytime and the dog being washed in the lake, and you have a recipe for a major neighbor issue.
5 Things you can do to avoid neighbor problems
- Screen your guests well and include a clause on the penalties of overcrowding in your Terms and Conditions of Rental
- Provide well-written and concise pre-arrival instructions that describe parking and entry instructions.
- Create a comprehensive property guide. Include noise restrictions, instructions on how to dispose of garbage, and your pet policies.
- Write a note on Respecting the Community in your Welcome Book.
- Remind guests it is a residential area and many people live and work in the area – not everyone is on vacation.
Talk to your neighbours about your rental plans and reassure them you are taking a responsible approach. They will respect you for it.