In a condo or an apartment building, neighbors live close. And close neighbors are bound to have friction every once in a while. But you don\’t have to get involved in every complaint. You only have to get involved if an owner complains about something specifically prohibited in the community rules. So if one neighbor doesn’t like the way another neighbor’s cat looks at him, unless there’s a no-pets policy, that’s a problem between neighbors. Most communities, however, have rules against “nuisance” behavior. The trick is figuring out what’s a nuisance.

If someone is complaining about noise or smoking, those complaints are relatively easy to fix by creating stricter rules. Maybe smoking should be banned in all common areas. Quiet hours could be established to cut down on noise complaints. But what if a family of nudists moves in next door and their naked barbecues are visible through the slats of a backyard fence? Is that a nuisance?

You need to remain objective when determining whether neighbors are acting appropriately. Some neighbors could be your friends, so leaving emotions and personal relationships out of the complaint is important. So is consistency. If you decide that nude barbecues are a nuisance, then maybe the clothes-averse 4-year-old in unit 12 is, too.

It is also important to keep in mind that some neighbors will just rub each other the wrong way and will bring complaints to you that seem petty. If you notice a pattern like this, you don’t have to get involved in every little complaint about whose flower pot ended up on whose side of the shared patio. But if there’s something you can do to improve everyone’s living conditions, it’s best to help even if help isn’t required.

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