Property Law - Neighbourhood Disputes

Neighbourhood disputes are quite common and are usually issues about; noise, access to property, boundary lines, parking, overhanging trees and messy gardens. Disputes between neighbours fall under the category of civil justice. If you are having noise issues with your neighbour you should firstly approach them and ask if they can reduce their noise. You can even write a letter instead of approaching them if you are worried about talking to your neighbour face to face. It could be that your neighbour is unaware that they are making noise and they could reduce their noise levels when asked politely.

If the noise continues after you have spoken to them you should keep a record of each time the noise occurs. This will act as evidence that will help support your claim if the problem persists. If you know that your neighbour is a tenant, you should get in contact with their landlord if they do not reduce their noise. If the noise continues it would be advisable to get in contact with an Environmental Health Officer who will investigate your claim. If the Environmental Health Officer finds that your claim is true they will be able to either ask your neighbour to cease making the noise completely or they can place restrictions on when your neighbours can make the noise. If the Environmental Health Officer fails to solve the problem, the next step would be to contact your local authority, who will be able to give the neighbour a notice which could lead to a prosecution or an ASBO if the noise continues.

If you are having a dispute with your neighbour about boundary lines you will need to work out who owns the land in question. To do this you will need to refer to the title or lease to your property. If the information cannot be found there, you will need to get a surveyor to come and work it out for you.

If overhanging treesare causing your dispute you should first ask the neighbour to trim it as it is there responsibility. If they refuse it is possible for you to trim it back to the boundary line.

It is very important to talk to your neighbour first when dealing with a dispute. If other neighbours are also being affected by the issue you should try to get them to assist you, the problem neighbour may be able to see that their behaviour is affecting a lot of neighbours and therfore may be more likely to change.

You may also want to consider mediation and if the behaviour of your neighbour is breaking the law, you should contact the police immediately.

If there has been a breach in planning laws you should contact the planning department and have them look into the situation.

If your neighbour's behaviour is damaging the environment, you should contact he local authority environmental health department.

If you are unable to resolve your issue, you may want to consider hiring a solicitor to write to them. Court action should be the last resort as is very likely to damage the relationship between you and your neighbour irreversibly.