7 Ways to deal with bad neighbors in Costa Rica
Those who follow my weekly blogs and saw the title “7 ways to deal with bad neighbors in Costa Rica” for sure now expect a solution to the problems they have with bad neighbors. I know, I usually have solutions for a lot of things that happen to you when living in Costa Rica, this time it’s not going to be so easy but let’s make the effort.
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….
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 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.
Before we get started on that, you need to realize that you are the foreigners, invited to live in Costa Rica, as long as you behave. You, the foreigner, needs to adjust to local customs and not the other way around.
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 and if it’s 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.
If you decide your neighbor is the problematic one, you can look at the 7 ways to deal with bad neighbors in Costa Rica that I can come up with:
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. The negative side of the solution is that jails in Costa Rica are not a fun place to be. Watery rice & beans three times a day and sleep with 40 others in a room that is meant for 5 is not a good solution to your problem and should not be your first option.
Other than just ring 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 di when they purchased real estate. They now have a bad neighbor…
3. Ring the bell
Ask your local translator to join you and buy the flowers your wife likes. 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 and will 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, to show some personality and so the neighbor understands that you’re serious about it.
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. 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, after making sure the numbers 2, 3 and 4 have not resolved your problem. The police in Costa Rica will not be of much help, you’ll be lucky if they show.
6. On Facebook
Vent your complaints on Facebook, 1159 people have already liked it. Or start your own and make friends with everyone in the neighborhood.
7. Sell your property
Your last resort is probably putting your property on the market, but it is a definite solution. If you decide to do so, contact us at GoDutch Realty. We can also assist finding a new property in Costa Rica with nice neighbors.
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I DO want to remind our readers that we appreciate any referrals you can send us. I know you all meet people on the plane, in the supermarket, at yoga, at the gym, at the Blooms ladies club, at the potluck organized by your community. Please remember the GoDutch Realty agents when you talk about your home in Costa Rica, when you meet someone who wants to purchase one, we appreciate it.