Being a good neighbour can add value to your life, security, and your property and neighbourhood according to the Seeff Property Group.
People want to live and invest in neighbourhoods which are orderly and well maintained.
Samuel Seeff, chairman of the group, says it has been well-illustrated by the influx of buyers and tenants to cities, towns and neighbourhoods which are safe and well maintained and managed.
In a country plagued by poor service delivery, it is well-documented that property buyers and tenants tend to migrate to areas with efficient and effective municipalities for a variety of reasons, says Seeff.
This is one of the top reasons for the rise in estates. These neighbourhoods and estates also tend to achieve higher prices compared to elsewhere.
Noisy and unruly neighbourhoods are off putting to buyers and tenants. Properties are not likely to grow much in value and could struggle to attract good prices, buyers and better rental rates, he says.
While you can choose your friends, you cannot choose your neighbours. It is therefore important to keep good neighbourly relations and participate and encourage keeping your neighbourhood orderly and clean. Good relations can also help avoid neighbour disputes and are vital in time of need.
Aside from assessing the general state of a neighbourhood when driving through it, Seeff says buyers and investors ask about the area and neighbours. A high volume of properties for sale is often a sign of a poor neighbourhood which is bad news for owners who want to sell or rent out a property.
Where to start being a good neighbour and adding value to your property and neighbourhood?
Get to know your neighbours and keep them informed, says Seeff. Let them know when you plan a party and ensure visitors do not park in their driveways or on their pavement. Noise should be turned down after 10pm and kept to a minimum on a Sunday.
Do not impede your neighbour’s ability to enjoy their property. Aside from noise and parking, common issues often relate to poorly maintained boundary walls and fences, and overhanging plants and trees. Keep a lookout and maintain these timeously to avoid disputes.
Keep your pets in your own premises. Barking dogs can be a source of tremendous strife, so check that.
When going for a walk with your dogs, carry a bag to dispose of their waste. Ensure your cats do not become a nuisance in neighbours’ houses and yards.
Stick to complex and estate rules. Arrange with neighbours on special occasions.
If you are in a freehold property, keep your pavement and garden neat and your house exterior well maintained to avoid it becoming an eyesore in the neighbourhood.
Refuse bins and discarded items can be a nuisance on pavements.
Most areas have arrangements to only put bins out on the morning of collection.
Donate usable items rather than leaving them on pavements only to become unsightly litter in parks and other neighbourhood areas.
If working from home or operating a business, ensure it complies with local bylaws.
Digital and consulting services are usually not a problem provided there are no visitor or parking issues. Noisy home businesses may, however, be a contravention of bylaws and it is best to check up on this.
Building and renovation works should be compliant with relevant laws and regulations.
Be sure to let neighbours know to be aware of construction vehicles, workmen and any potential noise. Keep noise within normal hours and restricted over weekends.
Support and encourage local community clean-ups.
These are important to keep the neighbourhood clean and attractive. If there are service delivery issues, be sure to raise it with the local municipal authorities and follow up to check that it is done. Liaise with your local councillor when necessary.
Most neighbourhoods have a Neighbourhood Watch and welcome volunteers who patrol areas and contribute to safety.
These are usually done in cooperation with local law enforcement. This visibility is an important crime deterrent and provides vital assistance in times of crisis or need.
Rather than giving handouts, support local charities.
These play an important role in supporting the needy. You can contribute in various ways, from giving a monthly financial contribution to donating food, clothing and goods, or volunteering time to assist with activities.
Lastly, be aware of what is happening in the country, your city and neighbourhood.
Participate in forums and meetings where matters are discussed and lend your voice to petitions which concern your local community.