Q: I rent a ground-floor condo with a small patio in New Jersey. A family with two very young children recently moved into an adjacent building in the same complex. I often find the kids playing on my patio and looking into my apartment through a sliding door. There is no fence surrounding my patio, but it’s obvious that this is part of my private space. If their mother and I see each other outside, she shoos her boys away, but they keep coming back. Any suggestions for how to get them to play somewhere else, like the common lawn behind their building?
A: The children may be too young to understand the concept of private property and good manners, but their parents are not. Unfortunately, some people need the obvious explained to them, and if you want your privacy respected, it looks like that task will fall on you.
Since the family recently moved in, use the moment as an opportunity to pay your new neighbors a visit. Stop by and introduce yourself (at a safe social distance, of course). Welcome them to the complex, then lay down some ground rules.
Be direct. Tell them that you are not comfortable with their children playing on your private patio and peering into your home. It poses a safety risk to them (they could slip and fall) and is disruptive to you. Be clear, polite and firm, pointing out that the common lawn is a good place for the children to roam.
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