We all have lousy neighbors who seem careless with everything they handle.
One of the risks you have to put up with is the danger of damage to your property.
While you may want to keep a cordial relationship with your neighbors, dealing with frivolous infringements like a broken window is one of the delicate situations you will have to maneuver.
So, What Should You Do If Your Neighbor Breaks Your Window?
You need to take action right away. First, determine if the damage was deliberate or accidental. Understandably, accidents do happen. Depending on the circumstances, there are a number of actions you can take.
If your neighbor broke your window on purpose, they could have committed a criminal offense, and you should document the incident and report it to the police. However, if the case was accidental, you should talk to your neighbor as soon as you notice the damage. In an ideal world, the responsible neighbor will be upfront with you about the incident and may offer to pay for the repair.
See Also: Should You Ask Your Neighbor To Turn Down Their Loud Music?
Six Steps To Take If A Neighbor Breaks Your Window
A broken window can be a result of many things.
You must immediately fix the damage, whether a nasty storm or your neighbor’s actions.
Sometimes it needs to be apparent to determine the best recourse.
Here are some of the best practices to help you handle these situations:
1. Determine The Cause Of The Damage
Many external forces can damage your window.
For instance, damage caused by pets, harsh weather, or your neighbor’s kids playing with a ball that accidentally hurtles through your window, leaving it broken.
So, if you have reasons to believe that your neighbor damaged your window, you have to recognize the type of damage.
Rule out the other possibilities and start documenting the damage you have identified.
2. Document The Damage
Once you notice that your window is broken, gather as much information as possible about the incident.
You should record the time when the incident happened, the cost of window repair, and if there are past occurrences you recalled with your neighbor breaking your window.
And if anyone witnessed the incident, you should talk to them and note their contacts.
This information will be helpful when filing for insurance claims and if you end up in a court of law on this matter.
3. Talk To Your Neighbor About The Damage
In many instances, the responsible neighbor would be willing to talk about the damage and settle the matter amicably.
In this situation, try to be reasonable and discuss this with your neighbor when you notice the damage.
Here are the steps you should take to approach your neighbor:
- Choose an appropriate time when you know your neighbor is at home. Going over to your neighbor’s during odd hours is not befitting.
- Be friendly and sympathetic about the situation. After all, the incident could have been an accident, and your neighbor is remorseful about it.
- Maintain calm and talk to your neighbor in a friendly but assertive manner.
- Inform your neighbor that they have broken your window.
- Take them to your property to witness the extent of the damage.
- If your neighbor is willing to pay for the damage, you can negotiate the amount of compensation that you expect to cover the cost of repair. It would be helpful to know the total cost of fixing the window on your own to determine if it is worth claiming home insurance.
4. File An Insurance Claim
Although your neighbor should be responsible for any damage they cause on your property, it might be easier to claim through your home insurance.
If the damage is minor, your neighbor may want to avoid claiming the damages through their homeowner’s insurance and risk raising their premiums.
Your neighbor may find it easier and cheaper to cover the deductible amount or pay for a new window instead of filing a claim.
5. Seek Mediation Services
If your neighbor refuses to pay for the repair of your broken window and you cannot claim on your home insurance policy, you can settle the matter through mediation.
An impartial person will listen to both parties involved in the dispute and try to come up with an agreeable solution.
6. Call The Police
You must contact the police department if you know your neighbor deliberately damaged your window.
It is different if a miscreant adult shatters somebody’s window with a sinister motive.
So, if you suspect that your neighbor maliciously broke your window, you should contact the police right away.
If they are culpable, your neighbor could be fined for vandalism or charged with a criminal offense.
Four Things You Should Do IMMEDIATELY After A Broken Window Occurs
In the case of a glass window, shattered glass is dangerous enough for kids to play around.
What is more concerning are the jagged pieces of glass left on the frame.
So, if your neighbor broke your window, follow these four steps to secure and repair the area:
- Find out the cause of the damage: determine the origin of your shattered window to prevent further damage.
- Secure the smashed window: section off the area with cardboard or a slab.
- Clean up the broken glass: wear protective clothing and tidy up the place.
- Cover your broken window: place a temporary covering on it, such as a curtain, as you wait to fix it.
If your neighbor damages your window, it is essential to establish their motive before taking drastic action.
Accidents can happen, so it would be wise to talk to your neighbor about the incident before you take any further action.
Your neighbor may be willing to discuss the issue and pay for the repair cost.
But if you find out that your neighbor deliberately smashed your window, you should document the damage and file a complaint against them.