How to deal with a neighbor's bad curb appeal

Try mediation or take legal action

A mediator is a neutral third party who is trained in resolving disputes. You can’t force your neighbor to go to mediation, but if he’ll agree to it, the National Association for Community Mediation’s website (http://www.nafcm.org/public/findhelp) can help find a mediator. Also try the Association for Conflict Resolution (http://impak.acrnet.org/members_online/members/acr_directory_public.asp). You might pay a fee for mediation services, but some nonprofits offer them for free.

If mediation doesn’t work, or if your neighbor won’t agree to it, you can take more drastic action and sue your neighbor in small claims court. This step should be a last resort.

You don’t need a lawyer, but you’ll have a stronger case if you can prove the neighbor’s actions have harmed you in some way. The amount of damages you can recover varies; most state limits are in the $5,000 to $10,000 range. For larger sums, or if you want expert professional guidance, you’ll need to hire an attorney.