How to be a good neighbour while you are on holiday

Residents of community schemes planning to go away for the holidays should make sure they do their homework before they leave to ensure they can have a peaceful time, with no disruptions from back home.

Omar Kinnear, developer of ResidentPortal, a web-based communication platform for residential communities, says there are any number of problems that can arise while residents are away, from break-ins to complaints from neighbours, but there are ways to plan for these to minimise or avoid them completely.


“One of the first considerations should be to ensure that your home is properly secured,” he says.  “Even if your complex or estate has access control, high walls and electric fences, it is common knowledge that many crimes in schemes are inside jobs.  And with the usual crime spike over the festive season, there’s all the more reason to maximise your precautions.”

Kinnear offers the following tips:

  • Make sure all your doors and windows are securely locked.
  • Make sure all garden tools, especially ladders, are stored safely away
  • Give a key to your home to your neighbours. Ask them to switch on lights at night and off again in the mornings, as well as open and close curtains.  They will also be able to switch off a false alarm that could otherwise keep neighbours up all night.
  • Consider having someone house-sit for you.
  • Advise your estate or complex manager that you will be away so you can be easily contacted should there be a problem while you are gone.
  • Smart home security devices will enable you to switch lights on an off remotely as well as any number of additional security precautions.


“Loneliness will often result in incessant barking from even usually well-behaved dogs.  And non-stop during the day or night can be a neighbour’s worst nightmare,” Kinnear points out.

“Likewise, when Fido continually escapes his yard and wanders freely around causing mayhem, it’s unsurprising when even the most accommodating of neighbours will have a sense-of-humour-failure.  These are things that can be avoided if steps are taken to minimise the possibility of this happening.”

Unless you are going to take your pet on holiday with you, Kinnear suggests the following:

  • Hire a pet-sitter. They can either come to your home a few times a day to feed and give attention to your pets and walk your dog.  This will ease your anxiety over whether your pet is happy and well looked-after.  He or she can even double as a house-sitter and take care of both your home and pets while you are away.
  • Make sure your yard is secure so your dog cannot escape.
  • If your dog is a perennial barker whether or not you’re home, consider putting it in a kennel while you’re away.


Unresolved neighbour disputes

“Going away on holiday while there are still unresolved neighbour disputes can also disrupt your peaceful time,” warns Kinnear.  “For example, if your neighbour has been complaining that your trees are making a mess in his yard, be sure to cut the offending overhanging branches before you leave.

“If the problem relates to something else that can’t be immediately fixed, have a conversation with your neighbour and commit to working with him to resolve the problem when you return.  Communicating in a peaceful and respectful manner will likely keep a lid on the problem until you come back, hopefully refreshed and able to settle the issue quickly.”


While it’s unlikely that your home will be the source of noise while you’re away, organising house-sitting by family members or friends with less of an appreciation of the need to keep noise levels down, can also cause problems.  “So, choose your house-sitters wisely,” is Kinnear’s advice.

He concludes:  “The golden rule is to put your mind to these and any unique situations that apply to your home, and put  yourself in your neighbour’s shoes and consider what his or her reaction will be should a problem arise, and then take steps to avoid them.

“This way, you can go that much-needed holiday with peace of mind, knowing that you can properly relax and return energised and ready to face the new year.”

ABOUT ResidentPortal

ResidentPortal is developed and managed by Sandton-based software consulting and development company, Business Xponent Solutions (BXS).  The estate communication platform is one of the products emerging from 20 years of experience in the software industry of its founder, Omar Kinnear.  One of the original developers of the SARS eFiling platform, Kinnear brings to ResidentPortal a wealth of knowledge of system performance and security.

Since 2016, around 100 complexes are using the Free Plan of ResidentPortal, and over 1000 residents, mostly in and around Gauteng, are benefiting from the way the full-featured Standard and Pro packages are simplifying their lives in their estates and complexes.

For more information, contact:  Omar Kinnear, 078 798 3378

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