Dealing with nuisance neighbours

From nosy neighbours, families at war and problem pets to front-of-house hoverers, bin dumpers and nuisance noise, the list of neighbourhood bugbears is a long one.

According to research conducted for Ocean loans, the equivalent of 18 million Brits have encountered a nuisance neighbour.

The most common causes of irritating neighbours are nuisance noise (57%), abusive behaviour (30%), dropping litter (30%), poor appearance of property’s exterior (20%) and intimidating behaviour (15%).

Worryingly, for almost one fifth of those who have encountered a nuisance neighbour, the issue has been so severe it has made them feel unsafe in their own home. Just under one quarter of respondents said they wanted to move to a new area as a result.

How to deal with neighbourly disputes:

According to Ocean’s research, more than one in 10 Brits don’t know who to contact to resolve a dispute with their neighbours.

Of those that did, the most common first courses of action were: talking to their neighbour directly (57%); contacting their landlord or housing association (10%); complaining to their local council (10%); contacting the police (6%); and using a mediation service (3%).

When it comes to dealing with neighbourly disputes, the government’s recommended six step approach is:

1. Speak to your neighbour: before getting someone else involved, try and resolve the issue with your neighbour yourself. If you’re anxious about initiating this, it could be done via in writing – which also acts as a record of your efforts to communicate with them.

2. Contact their landlord: if your neighbour is a tenant, you could complain to their landlord – this could be a private landlord, housing association or the council.

3. Use a mediation service: if you’re unable to close the dispute after approaching your neighbour yourself, you can get help from a mediation service.

4. Complain to the council: if your dispute includes problems such as noise; artificial light; smoke, gases or fumes; insects; steam; smells or dust from business premises or a build-up of rubbish that could impact on your health, you could ask your local council for help.

5. Call the police: if your neighbour is violent, threatening, abusive, breaching your peace, sexually harassing you, harassing you because of your sexuality, religion or ethnicity, or breaking the law in any other way, contact the police. Don’t try to tackle the problem yourself if there’s a threat of violence.

6. Take legal action: as a last resort, you can take legal action against your neighbour by taking them to court. However, this can be expensive.

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