Your home is your safe haven. It’s where you go to relax and enjoy your life. It can be blissful, especially if you adore your community. There’s nothing quite like the unity that comes when people who live close by get on with each other.
But we can’t all get on with our neighbours. People are very different. They have different ideals and preferences. So when we are living in close proximity with people who are different from us, this can cause all sorts of problems.
If you’re having a dispute with a neighbour, this might be getting you down. You might be wondering what to do. Tensions are probably high, and you might be worried these will spill over, which might make living where you are living unbearable.
You are not alone. Lots of people have disputes with their neighbours. It is so prevalent the Government website has advice on this very topic.
We’re here to help. Here’s our advice on what to do if you are having a dispute with a neighbour.
Stay calm and talk to your neighbour
Do not assume that your neighbour will not understand your issues and concerns, and that the situation warrants an angry confrontation. They might be perfectly reasonable people. So if you have an issue with your neighbours you should approach them first and try to talk to them rationally about your issue. Send your most calm and rational family member. Hot heads are not a good idea here.
Raise it with a landlord
This depends on whether or not your neighbour is a tenant, and you should still only do this if you can’t resolve your issue calmly with your neighbour without bringing your landlord into it.
Registering a complaint with a landlord could cause you issues, so be careful. Landlords are likely to be annoyed if they think their tenant is being a nuisance. Depending on the severity of the issue, they might try to evict them, which could cause you further problems.
There might be instances where the landlord is the only person who can solve the dispute, if you need a fence erecting on their land, for example, or trees cutting back. The tenant likely does not have the authority to grant such actions, and might be at the mercy of their landlord. You can scope this out as you go.
Consider a mediation service
Mediation is an excellent option if you can’t resolve your dispute with a neighbour or their landlord personally. Mediators will work with both parties to come to a conclusion you both find happy. It only works if both parties are willing to compromise, though. You need to be prepared that you might not get everything you want.
If you need a fence erecting, for example, mediators might suggest you pay for half of that to get what you want. Don’t expect to walk into a meeting with a mediator and get your own way. If your neighbour was going to give you that, they would have already done it.
Complain to your local council
Depending on the issue you are facing and the tenant/landlord reaction to it, you might have cause to bring this to your local council.
This is usually the case when there is a statutory nuisance the neighbours are refusing to resolve, like loud music or barking dogs.
Your local council might take their time about it, but they’ll have the power to request your neighbour stops being a nuisance.
Contact the police
You can’t ring the police if your neighbour won’t cut down their trees, but you can if they are harassing you. Ringing the police should be reserved for when your neighbour is breaking the law. It is not uncommon for regular disputes to descend into law-breaking, so be careful. You don’t want to put yourself in danger, or commit an illegal act yourself.
Take legal action through the courts
If you can’t call the police or the local council and your case cannot be resolved through a calm chat or mediation, it might be time to take legal action through the courts.
This involves instructing a solicitor to start court proceedings against your neighbours. You need to be very careful before you take this step, because it could sever relations with your neighbours for good. There aren’t many people who can forgive legal action through the courts if they don’t think they have done anything wrong, whether you win or not.
If you are thinking about launching legal action, we can help. JMR Solicitors help countless people every year win their legal battles. For more information or for an informal chat and advice, contact our team of experts by calling 0161 491 3933 or emailing email@example.com.