Living in harmony

If things are getting strained with your neighbor, but you don’t know how to solve the situation, you can call in a mediator.

Many people have been at home more than usual, and this can have brought out new sides to the neighbors – children hammering, dogs barking, strange food smells. Should I grin and bear it or go complain?

Normal or disruptive?

“Take a deep breath, count to ten, and consider if the neighbor really disturbs you or are you just having a bad moment,” says Anne Viita, executive manager of Finnish Tenants.

If your neighbor’s actions really affect your life, something must be done. However, there’s a big difference between normal life and disruptive life which can even justify ending the lease. If the teenager upstairs does a bit of weight training in the afternoon, the noise comes under normal living. At 3 a.m., it is disruptive.

How to bring it up?

When neighbor’s life is not disruptive, but it is disturbing, how do you complain without being offensive?

“If you are annoyed, take a moment and approach your neighbor only when you are in a calm frame of mind, “says Pia Slögs, director of Community Mediation Center

Then you should say how you are affected: ‘did you know that I need to go to bed early, but your evening workout keeps me awake.’ If you are agitated, it is easy to take the ‘are you stupid, your jumping around disturbs everyone’ approach.

Need help?

Sometimes relationships are too strained for discussions. The Community Mediation Center can provide a mediator to hear all the parties and help look at the problem from a new viewpoint. The goal is to find a solution and start a dialogue again.

Tenants can also call the Center and ask for advice on how to approach the neighbor.

Leave it be?

Quarrels won’t go away by themselves. At worst, all tenants are divided into camps, making living wretched in a whole building or housing complex. Then your home is no longer the calm haven it should be.

When people are happy with their accommodation, they take better care of their surroundings. This benefits the tenants as well as the lessor.