The increasing number of townhouses and flats at almost every corner or nowadays right next to you can give you a couple of conundrums. Before this construction boom hit us, we lived in quiet bungalows or maisonettes and established close bonds with our neighbours, tenants or landlords. However once the money started rolling in, things began to get nasty. Changes led to greedy landlords, unruly tenants, suspicious neighbours and very irritating children.
A few lessons were learnt and some properties have strict codes of no pets, only vegetarians and so on. But rent remains sky-high and sometimes unreasonable considering some of the parts in the house/apartment start falling apart a few months after moving in. Despite all of this the worst compromise has to be the poorly paid security guards who are almost never qualified and no other serious security arrangements for that oh so handsome service charges you are paying. And in today’s connectivity times, if the property doesn’t have a generator or lift, then you have to question quiet a few construction compromises.
You have your home rented or bought and you are enjoying your stay until you hear scream and shout. It seems like there is a domestic fight ensuing next door, what do you do? Firstly, here are examples of noisy neighbours, loud TV, loudest music from the car, screaming children, loud talking with the maid or gardener or security guard, banging doors in and out and the list goes on. By the way even an untimely pressure cooker can get your blood pressure rising.
What is important is to know your neighbours. Having an association within the estate, helps identify them and address issues formally if need to be, especially security and power losses or water shortages. There is equality and less discrimination too, plus you can share and appreciate each others professions and talents, for example if you are a teacher you can help another child or doctor and so on. But be careful not to judge and start doorstep gossip, this can give advantage to the househelps and easily assist in a robbery or car jacking incident. Be mature and respectful of each other.
Things go out of hand especially in party gatherings, whether large or small. There are usual parking issues and then the flow of strange people and their stranger habits. Again, if you have an established association, life is easier with rules and regulations. Things are kept in check. But if you don’t have one, then take the initiative to introduce yourself to the neighbourhood and exchange numbers. Thanks to WhatsApp many have helped each other in difficult times from attempted robberies, to finding a new maid or looking after the kids.
Talking about kids, when an estate doesn’t have a designated playground, there’s something wrong. Fair enough there is not enough space but then you are confining the children to the hell walls of their living rooms and here they shout, scream and jump around causing chaos for everyone else. You have to restrict this behaviour by all means, they need to learn discipline and if the parents are defeated, and you feel the situation is going out of control, call the Child Welfare Society of Kenya. Yes you can, if parents can’t manage the noise levels of their children, there is something wrong with the parents. Mind you, this is perfect territory for your maid to take full advantage and attack or steal from you. You are a potential threat to the entire neighbourhood.
If you have sent a legal notice to the neighbour to keep the noise down and still there is no change, then sue the landlord especially if you are the owner of your own apartment or townhouse. Surely there should be some level of decency to support your huge purchase of this property, after all it is an almost once in a lifetime spending. Get to know your neighbours enough to keep your boundaries clear and expectations simple.