Being a good neighbour has numerous benefits, both for you and for the community.

1. Introduce yourself

Whether you’re new in the neighbourhood or new residents have just moved in next door, introduce yourself. Say hello and ask for (or give) information about the local area.

2. Consider your neighboursâ?? lifestyle

Get to know your neighbours â?? what they do for a living, what their schedules might be like, and so on. Sometimes, you can remedy problems before they even start: for example, if they work nights, quiet mornings will be important for them. If they have young children, quiet evenings will be very important to them. Similarly, give them information that will help them be more considerate of your lifestyle, with regard to noise or anything else.

3. Be aware of shared walls

If you’re in a town-house, a semi-detached house or any structure where you and your neighbours share adjacent living spaces, position noisy household appliances such as washing machines and tumble dryers â?? even TVs and speakers â?? away from the partition walls. If you live above someone, consider insulating the floor.

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4. Control your dog

Make sure your property is dog-proof and do not leave your house without having your dog on a lead. Make sure that your dog does not bark, whine or howl when youâ??re out of the house. If you have problems controlling your dog’s barking or whining, seek advice from your local vet or the SPCA.

5. Alert your neighbour to parties

If you’re planning a party, always let your neighbours know when it’s going to start and when you expect it to end. Leave them a number to contact if the noise is bothersome. If you get on well with your neighbours, why not invite them too? Check local regulations regarding noise levels.

6. Control your braai or any other garden fire

Position it where the smoke and smell will be least likely to blow onto your neighbourâ??s property. Warn them if youâ??re going to burn garden refuse, and check local regulations regarding fires.

7. Put rubbish/garbage out on the right day

Put your rubbish/garbage out only on the day it’s due for collection. If you accidentally miss the collection, bring it back onto your property immediately and try to contain it well. Garbage can attract vermin, insects, and other pests, and is also unsightly.

8. Communicate with your neighbours

Keep the channels of communication open by reminding them that if you’re doing anything that disturbs them, they should feel comfortable approaching you about it.

9. Be aware of your surroundings, as well as theirs

Even if you’re not in a ‘neighbourhood watch’ community, keep your eye on anyone you don’t know, who is acting suspiciously around your neighbourâ??s property. When in doubt, call the police.

10. Watch out for your neighbour

Really good neighbours watch out for each other. They respect each others’ boundaries, but are quick to assist in a crisis. They look for opportunities to collaborate and to interact.

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