Sometimes we love our neighbors, sometimes we politely nod at our neighbors, and depending on how confrontational you are, sometimes we get into it with our neighbors.

As a homeowner myself, I'm not unfamiliar with the strange back and forth when it comes to neighbors parking in your spot or on your property. It's a lot like the armrest on an airplane, a silent battle.

If you have gotten into it with your neighbors over parking disputes, you're not alone. In a study, it was reported that one in four Coloradans have fallen out with their neighbors over parking issues.

Some people have even taken it so far as to start putting up protective signs and taking preventative measures to keep their parking spaces to themselves. And, with more people working from home last year and still a fair amount in 2021, some of the interactions and disputes are difficult to avoid completely.

I'm pretty bad with conflict. I don't like feeling like I'm upsetting or inconveniencing people even if their actions are a true inconvenience and disrespect to me. I am here to tell you: your feelings are valid and parking is not a stupid thing to get upset about.

So, if you're like me and the best you have done is leave a semi-petty but mostly nice note on your neighbor's car, here are some ways to combat difficult encounters and relationships with your neighbors over parking.

  • Talk to your neighbor! This can be daunting, but sometimes they don't even realize what they're doing is upsetting you. Communication is key, so expressing your frustration in a polite and civil way is a great first step to conquering parking disputes.
  • Document when the incidents occur. It goes without saying, but if you're filing a formal complaint, you better have some evidence. Snap a quick photo or video and make note of the date it occurred. It's good to have in your back pocket should a resolution become difficult to come to.
  • Write a letter. If all else files and you do need to submit a strong argument over the parking debacle, write a polite and formal letter complete with all the evidence you had already gathered.
  • Send it to your neighbor first before getting things rolling formally either with the HOA or whoever oversees the neighborhood and area. Show them how serious the issue is and how serious you are about it, and hope you are able to come to a resolution without having to take further steps.

Neighbors can be great, and they can be difficult. If there is any sort of shared space in question, there's bound to be some instances of overstepping and inconveniencing. You're not alone in the frustration, and I have full confidence that we as a society are still capable of solving problems effectively and cordially.

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