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The Most Common Neighbourhood Disputes

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 18 Apr 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Neighbour Dispute Property Boundary

If you’re having issues with your neighbours, it be comforting to know that you’re far from alone! According to the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), neighbourhood disputes are a very common occurrence, so there is a wealth of experience available for people who are affected by some of the issues that frequently crop up.

Noisy Neighbours

The most common issue that causes tension between neighbours seems to be noise. We all have a bit of a moan when the next door neighbour decides to start a big DIY project early on a Sunday, or their party keeps us awake, but when the problem is more than an occasional minor annoyance and can be defined as Noise Pollution, you might find yourself having to take action.

Asking them to keep the noise down is probably the best first step, but if they won’t, consider contacting the neighbour’s landlord if the property is rented, or Keep A Diary if the problem persists. The police and local authorities also have certain powers to deal with noise problems.

Boundary Disputes

Many a court case has arisen over a Boundary Dispute, and unsurprisingly they are also a popular reason for complaint about the neighbours. The first thing that you need to do if you can’t reach agreement with a neighbour over who is responsible for a boundary is check the property title deeds. If they aren’t easily defined, then you’ll have to speak to an expert in boundary disputes. The CAB may be able to help or point you in the right direction.

Fences And Hedges often cause arguments between neighbours. If there’s a disagreement as to who is responsible for repairing a fence, again the deeds should help. There may be a stipulation that they are responsible for any repairs, although that’s not always the case. Strangely, unless the deeds say that they are responsible for repairs, they don’t have to do anything if the fence (or barrier) is damaged – unless it causes damage to your property, in which case they must sort it out or be prepared to pay for the damage.

Similarly, if your neighbour has the responsibility for a fence, they can do as they wish with that fence, even if you don’t like it. The only stipulations are that any fence or barrier must be safe.

Keeping Shared Facilities Maintained

Arguments can arise over who looks after shared facilities, or garden areas, especially in flats. Check the deeds if you own the property as these are usually well defined, especially in the case of flats.

If you can’t come to an agreement on whose responsibility it is, in some cases the local authority environmental health officer (EHO) can settle it for you. They might be able to order someone to clean up a communal area, keep the garden tidy, or carry our repairs within a certain time. If a garden is actually a bit of a health hazard, definitely speak to the EHO. They could arrange help for an elderly neighbour who can't manage, for example.

Trees and Gardens

If a neighbour doesn’t take care of their garden or property and it impacts on yours, causing you damage or even an accident, they may be liable for damages. If your neighbour owns a tree it’s their responsibility to make sure it doesn’t damage your property. This includes letting roots grow under your property, or causing an obstacle.

Disputes over blocking out light can be very expensive to take to court, and you have no legal right to cut the trees down – so this kind of dispute is best dealt with sensitively, if possible. If you really can’t reach an agreement, you may have to involve solicitors but it’s always best to try to resolve this type of dispute amicably! If a neighbour’s hedge blocks your light, you can prune it back but you can’t reduce its height. Some hedgerows are legally protected, so again, always try to resolve the problem amicably.

Problems with Local Children

There’s not much you can do if the local kids are noisy – that’s just kids for you. However, if they cause damage to your property, the best thing to do is have a word with their parents, and ask if they will pay the cost of repairs to your property. Legally, they aren’t liable for the damage unless they were ‘negligent’, but in most cases they will be mortified that their little darling has broken your window (or whatever damage they’ve caused) and will stump up for repairs even if they are less than happy about it.

If the neighbour’s children insist on trespassing in your garden, again try speaking to their parents first. If this doesn’t work, and especially if the kids are taking things or damaging your property, you could warn then that you’ll call the police if their parents don’t control them.

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[Add a Comment]
I live in an end terrace and my next door neighbour has right of way down the side and around the back of my garden. This is currently fenced off to give our garden privacy. The deeds say it is a right of way but she is adamant she owns the land and can do with it as she sees fit. She has been dumping rubbish at the back of the garden (on the right of way land). We have nowremoved the fence enabling us to have a bigger garden but also not restricting her access. She has verbally abused us and has now written to us giving us 21 days to put the fence back up before she seeks legal action. It's right of way, is a fence needed?
Shereen - 18-Apr-17 @ 9:18 PM
Zozo - Your Question:
My neighbours always complaining about my garden which has been overgrown well before my son and I moved in 2003 and I have been warned by my neurologist not to operate any machinery or go somewhere unsafe as I have epilepsy also I have a severe autistic son neighbours are complaining one thing after the other which is causing. A lot of stress for both my son and myself I I have had a few partial seizures due to stress overload council and pics have not been supportive at all and o always end up with warnings these neighbours are still continuing to harrass us every day

Our Response:
Is there a local organisation that could help you with your garden?Ask your local council or CVS if there are any Helping Hands type groups which could help with the initial clearance and perhaps create a low maintenance garden for you.
ProblemNeighbours - 8-Feb-17 @ 11:36 AM
My neighbours always complaining about my garden which has been overgrown well before my son and I moved in2003 and I have been warned by my neurologist not to operate any machinery or go somewhere unsafe as I have epilepsyalso I have a severe autistic son neighbours are complaining one thing after the other which is causing. A lot of stress for both my son and myself I I have had a few partial seizures due to stress overload council and pics have not been supportive at all and o always end up with warnings these neighbours are still continuing to harrass us every day
Zozo - 7-Feb-17 @ 12:53 AM
I have a 3 bedroom semi detached house 1 bedroom is over the drive n their is a wall separating my neighbours house from the drive which goes completely under the bedroom so I thought it would b my drive but Gwalia contractors didn't put a drive in for the house next door n the tenants have claimed it as theirs the housing officer feels sorry for my neighbour so told me it was her drive n sent me a penciled drawing of both properties not the proper title deeds like she said my neighbour don't drive but i have to park on the road all other houses like mine the tenants have bedroom n drive together not just the the bedroom
Angela - 31-Jan-17 @ 1:14 PM
MissG - Your Question:
Hi.I live in a semi. Last summer the neighbours caught fire and the insurance have gutted the house including the roof.Right now, it's super cold and my heating bill's hitting the roof! Literally! Not too fussed about the banging but the heating costs? It's killing me.Who can you advise if speak to?

Our Response:
Talk to the neighbours first to try and find out what was done on the roof. If you're unsure how to follow it up and your feel your neighbour's roofers/contractors are to blame for your bills, it might be worth calling your own insurance company for advice.
ProblemNeighbours - 24-Jan-17 @ 2:09 PM
Hi. I live in a semi. Last summer the neighbours caught fire and the insurance have gutted the house including the roof. Right now,it's super cold and my heating bill's hitting the roof! Literally! Not too fussed about the banging but the heating costs? It's killing me. Who can you advise if speak to?
MissG - 22-Jan-17 @ 1:16 PM
So what happens and where do I go when my local council covered up all the evidence of fire doors noise from an HMO property, in favour of their HMO landlord; and, where the Local Government Ombudsman supported them too with a biased investigation of the council?Even my MP and Councillor couldn't do anything, or they just weren't interested!This has been going on for 14 months now and there is no end in site.And the whole unfortunate situations have hospitalised me with anxiety, stress, high blood pressure and a mild stroke.
Norby - 21-Jan-17 @ 8:11 PM
Hi, we are living next door to bq fanatic, we don't even enjoy summer any more as hell start his fire and odd times of the day sometimes lunch and dinner times , we end up going out as we can't sit under awful amount of smoke, we can't put the washing out. We had lots of chats over the years but no good. He's a stay home dad , he's at it all day every day.
Nelly - 14-Sep-16 @ 9:34 AM
We had many conversations with our neighbor about moving our fence up. They paid for the original fence and we offered to pay them our share. They never told us we couldn't move the fence and and specifically said we didn't have to pay for half. Now they want us to move it back because we didn't put it in writingand said we only mentioned it in passing.
shaj - 7-Sep-16 @ 8:08 PM
K - Your Question:
We have a shared driveway with our neighbours, which part way down is separated by a large hedge. We would love to remove the hedge completely, like other properties have done to allow more room to park however our neighbour has point blank refused this request. The roots of the hedge are similar to the boundary line shown on the deeds but the neighbour has cut his side of the hedge so far back that the roots are visible on his side yet we have 2ft of hedge growing on ours. The hedge is completely on our side the property currently if we cut the hedge back as far as possible to allow us to put up a fence then it will fall down or die. As they want the hedge we have offered to allow them time to grow the hedge out on their side so that it will be thick enough to support the hedge when we cut it back to put a fence up, the delightful gentlemen then took my head off and started shouting at me in the street, he ended the conversation with "get your solicitor to send me a letter" slamming the door. They want the hedge but they do not want it on their land, we don't want the hedge yet are stuck with a 2ft wide 7ft high hedge taking over our drive as the neighbour demands we keep it. Can you please advise as to where we stand?

Our Response:
Do your deeds mention who is repsonsible for the hedge (if anyone)? Is there a supposed to a fence to define the boundary? Was your neighbour the one who planted it? In theory you are entitled to cut back any growth as far as your boundary, you could do reasonably do this, if that's what your neighbour has done.
ProblemNeighbours - 5-Aug-16 @ 12:15 PM
We have a shared driveway with our neighbours, which part way down is separated by a large hedge. We would love to remove the hedge completely, like other properties have done to allow more room to park however our neighbour has point blank refused this request. The roots of the hedge are similar to the boundary line shown on the deeds but the neighbour has cut his side of the hedge so far back that the roots are visible on his side yet we have 2ft of hedge growing on ours. The hedge is completely on our side the property currently if we cut the hedge back as far as possible to allow us to put up a fence then it will fall down or die. As they want the hedge we have offered to allow them time to grow the hedge out on their side so that it will be thick enough to support the hedge when we cut it back to put a fence up, the delightful gentlemen then took my head off and started shouting at me in the street, he ended the conversation with "get your solicitor to send me a letter" slamming the door. They want the hedge but they do not want it on their land, we don't want the hedge yet are stuck with a 2ft wide 7ft high hedge taking over our drive as the neighbour demands we keep it. Can you please advise as to where we stand?
K - 4-Aug-16 @ 12:15 AM
I recently bought a flat and from my neighbour upstairs water pouring into my flat, so I mentioned about that but they refused to do any fixing. Please help me what shall I do about it.
Dil - 25-Jul-16 @ 4:39 PM
My neighbours in the basement flat have just finished a huge renovation which included replacing their conservatory which is just below (1 meter) my bedroom window.They have now put bright lights and a strip of spotlights running across the conservatory which is now a kitchen.It lights my bedroom up even with my thick curtains closed.They have also put in a fan below for their shower room , this hums when on and although not loud is really annoying.Who can i go to for help with these 2 items? thank you
Lynne - 25-Jul-16 @ 12:09 PM
We have 2 neighbours who are damaging our property all the time and for no reason at all andthey want us to sell so they can sell stolen goods to other people and drugs and nothing is done about this at all. Nobody seems to care either. It is also because we have no man here any more as my Dad died 20 years ago. We have over $400,000.00 damage done and this is still ongoing and just want them to leave us alone and let us live our life and enjoy it. The one behind us erected a stolen old fence and put it on our property with weeds too and we want our property back as we are paying taxes all these years on it. I wish somebody could come down here to take pictures and see all the damage done and these neighbours just laugh.They do this damage when we are sleeping. He also climbs up our aerial and damages the shingles on our roof, damaged the garage door, cut out berry bushes, sprayed them with chemicals, pulled out cylinder last year on new dead lock to break in, damaged down pipes, ripped out screen door design in it, throws garbage on our lawn and this is non stop.I have done everything possible to get help and apparently nobody seems to care and just passes the buck around. What is becoming of Toronto?Waiting for a reply!!!!
Elaine - 20-Jul-16 @ 8:19 PM
Annie - Your Question:
Hi there Our neighbour (a small block of flats) have a dish on the top of the flats which I believe is a communal dish but extremely old (7years possibly) It's been squeaking for years from what I've heard from an elderly coupleBut I can't stand it any moreIt makes a right racket all day long every day and eveyone I speak to hates it. What can I do to get this sorted? Any advice would be greatful

Our Response:
Are your flats rented? Do you have a landlord? They should be able to sort it out.Have you spoken to the neighbours whose property can access it? These are all things to try before environmental health.
ProblemNeighbours - 18-Jul-16 @ 10:28 AM
Hi there Our neighbour (a small block of flats) have a dish on the top of the flats which I believe is a communal dish but extremely old (7years possibly) It's been squeaking for years from what I've heard from an elderly couple But I can't stand it any more It makes a right racket all day long every day and eveyone I speak to hates it. What can I do to get this sorted? Any advice would be greatful
Annie - 16-Jul-16 @ 1:11 AM
Mel - Your Question:
Next door but one is having 6 months of extensive building work done which they didn't tell us about. You can't park your car near your house as the road is now filled with works vans. They arrive around 7/7:30am shouting at each other, banging car doors and generally being loud setting up before the real noise starts at 8am. It is like nothing short of living on a construction site as they make so much noise even right outside mine as that is where they park their vehicles. It's a lot of work on the roof which overlooks my garden so we are unable to enjoy any time in the summer using our own garden. Is there any way we can sue for the constant disruption and the fact we can no longer enjoy our properties. In addition I work nights every other week and am getting to the point where I am going to be forced to pay for a hotel on these occasions so I can actually get some sleep. We have tried discussing with the neighbour who has moved out during this however he threatened to make our lives hell when he moves back if he complains. Although he has already done this.

Our Response:
Have a word with your environmental health officer...they can sometimes order owners/builders not to do noisy building work at weekends. Have you tried talking to the builders? It's fairly common to arrive and set up from 7.30am but they might be willing to make more effort to be quiet until 8 am when everyone is usually up and out to work etc.
ProblemNeighbours - 5-Jul-16 @ 10:31 AM
Next door but one is having 6 months of extensive building work done which they didn't tell us about. You can't park your car near your house as the road is now filled with works vans. They arrive around 7/7:30am shouting at each other, banging car doors and generally being loud setting up before the real noise starts at 8am. It is like nothing short of living on a construction site as they make so much noise even right outside mine as that is where they park their vehicles. It's a lot of work on the roof which overlooks my garden so we are unable to enjoy any time in the summer using our own garden. Is there any way we can sue for the constant disruption and the fact we can no longer enjoy our properties. In addition I work nights every other week and am getting to the point where I am going to be forced to pay for a hotel on these occasions so I can actually get some sleep. We have tried discussing with the neighbour who has moved out during this however he threatened to make our lives hell when he moves back if he complains. Although he has already done this.
Mel - 4-Jul-16 @ 8:56 AM
KFAR95 - Your Question:
My neighbour had some work done on his side of the wall between our two yards. On my side I now have damaged & protruding bricks, render missing. The builder has left the wall of breeze block on their side higher than the brick side of mine (one full course of bricks is now missing), left bricks on the roof of my outhouse and a metal "stay" under the roof of my our building. He had asked if he could remove the roof & I said no.What do I do now. The neighbour simply says he can't get hold of the builder.I am left with damage to my property, a lower wall and the stay now in my yard under the outbuilding roof.

Our Response:
Try your home insurance first of all. If that doesn't help, then you will need consider taking legal action to recover costs from the builder.
ProblemNeighbours - 29-Jun-16 @ 2:40 PM
My neighbour had some work done on his side of the wall between our two yards.On my side I now have damaged & protruding bricks, render missing.The builder has left the wall of breeze block on their side higher than the brick side of mine (one full course of bricks is now missing), left bricks on the roof of my outhouse and a metal "stay" under the roof of my our building.He had asked if he could remove the roof & I said no. What do I do now.The neighbour simply says he can't get hold of the builder. I am left with damage to my property, a lower wall and the stay now in my yard under the outbuilding roof.
KFAR95 - 28-Jun-16 @ 3:35 PM
Stomped - Your Question:
We live in a ground floor flat and the flat above (1st floor) us have a laminated flooring. The flat above us is rented and currently there are tenants. The amount of stomping they do because of small kids in the house, it's not possible to sleep or to concentrate on the work you do.Is there any way I can persuade the landlord of the 1st floor flat to carry out an acoustics work to make the impact noise soundproof? I can share half the cost whatever he/she incurs in making floor soundproof. At present there is no quality of life. Over the weekend, we find excuse to go out and spend most of time outside rather staying indoors as the noise will terrorise us.Thanks in advance.

Our Response:
It's worth have a word with the landlord. Offering to pay a contribution towards it will certainly act as a good incentive as it will help to make the flat more "let-able" in the future. Building regs apply to new flats and certain flats created as result of change of use of a building which do actually require landlords to take steps to reduce sound to flooring. See this document for more information
ProblemNeighbours - 15-Jun-16 @ 10:17 AM
We live in a ground floor flat and the flat above (1st floor) us have a laminated flooring. The flat above us is rented and currently there are tenants. The amount of stomping they do because of small kids in the house, it's not possible to sleep or to concentrate on the work you do. Is there any way I can persuade the landlord of the 1st floor flat to carry out an acoustics work to make the impact noise soundproof? I can share half the cost whatever he/she incurs in making floor soundproof. At present there is no quality of life. Over the weekend, we find excuse to go out and spend most of time outside rather staying indoors as the noise will terrorise us. Thanks in advance.
Stomped - 13-Jun-16 @ 12:06 PM
Luce - Your Question:
I have new neighbours who have knocked down their bungalow and are building a 8 bedroom, 7 bathroom home next to me. They have reached half way and now we are going to loose the signal to our satalite dish. They said they would pay for it to be moved and were advised it would be £30 to just move the dish up, unfortunately the house is so big that the dish has to be moved to the otherside of my house which is going to cost £100. They have now said they are not going to pay a £100 and have carried on building the house up. They have literally put 2 fingers up at us. My husband is fuming, we were quite happy until they started building. Please can you advise us what is ther best action to take before it turns nasty.

Our Response:
There is no legal obligation for your neighbours to pay for this unless it was stipulated as part of the planning conditions. Did you raise it at the time? If they agreed £30 to have it raised, it's unlikely you'll get more off them to have it completely moved. Do you have evidence that the signal will be lost completely?
ProblemNeighbours - 8-Jun-16 @ 9:49 AM
I have new neighbours who have knocked down their bungalow and are building a 8 bedroom, 7 bathroom home next to me. They have reached half way and now we are going to loose the signal to our satalite dish. They said they would pay for it to be moved and were advised it would be £30 to just move the dish up, unfortunately the house is so big that the dish has to be moved to the otherside of my house which is going to cost £100. They have now said they are not going to pay a £100 and have carried on building the house up. They have literally put 2 fingers up at us. My husband is fuming, we were quite happy until they started building.Please can you advise us what is ther best action to take before it turns nasty.
Luce - 6-Jun-16 @ 1:06 PM
My husband works long hours I'm now retired....I have sometimes put music on when I do house work at least once every couple of months for about 2/3 hrs sometimes loud ...never before 9am or after 3pm...I put some on at 1.30pm within 10mins my direct neighbour was banging on my front door so hard I thought he was going to break the lock ....I'm 5ft 4ins and 63yrs of age ...he is a good 6ft and very intimidating ...we haven't got a garden so no bbq's or noisy parties my husband bought a garden bin burner for the man who lives behind us as he always has a large bonfire burning whether is at a weekend or evening....today Sunday for the first time my husband used the burner to clear rubbish from our shed .....our direct neighbour started yelling at my husband for burning rubbish early this morning .....they both had words ...within 40 mins the fire was put out as the job was done ....this afternoon papers where shoved through our door about social behaviour .....we never complain to them if their dog barks or any noise they make through building work which is often after 7 pm....but we feel that we cannot move in our home with out them having ago .....I have asked my other neighbours if they hear us and they have told us no .....what can you advise I do as I love where I live and and shouldn't have to worry every time we do something ....thankyou ..
Catlady - 22-May-16 @ 5:51 PM
Next door's garden slopes towards ours at an angle.This means that whenever the tenant next door gets out her paddling pool and tips it over to empty it, most of the water ends up in one of our beds.We've told her several times not to just tip it out but use abucket, hose or buy a pump but she's not made any effort to do any of these. If she moved it further down the garden it wouldn't affect us but she won't do that either. We don't want to fall out with her but am getting fed up of constantly having to check where she's putting the pool and telling her to shift it. Any advice?
molly - 13-May-16 @ 1:00 PM
The fence between myself and a neighbour blew down. Next door (he's a landlord) offered to replace the fence himself, free labour, if we split materials. The work is now complete. He's given me a price, I've said fine but that I need to see a receipt. He responded very angrily to this and even threatened to take the fence back down. Is it wrong to want a receipt before handing money over?
Rebecca - 11-May-16 @ 1:22 PM
C - Your Question:
I've had some new rendering to replace stone cladding, and my neighbour is constantly harassing me over the integrity of the join between terrace. They say that we will both get damp because of rubbish work. The rendering has been done as I expected and the builder's put an extra seal down hedge that they said was not required. What do I do?

Our Response:
Give your neighbours a written report of what work has been undertaken and highlight the extra details etc - your builder should be able to assisit with this. Tell the neighbours that you are happy for them to get a surveyor to check the work out if they are concerned.
ProblemNeighbours - 3-May-16 @ 11:00 AM
I've had some new rendering to replace stone cladding, and my neighbour is constantly harassing me over the integrity of the join between terrace. They say that we will both get damp because of rubbish work. The rendering has been done as I expected and the builder's put an extra seal down hedge that they said was not required. What do I do?
C - 30-Apr-16 @ 8:49 AM
We have neighbours from hell and trying to force us to more out of our own house because they want to sell stolen articles and drugs without any disturbance. They have sprayed all of our bushes already and climbed on our roof several times and it was damaged, broke downpipe, using charges stolen from construction site and blew up our flagstones on our patio, broke sensor light twice, stole screen décor, ripped cylinder out of our door when we were at the Drs. No help from the Police at all, they are helping the criminals and taking bribes from them.We cannot afford a lawyer and have never been in trouble with the law and just because there is no man here any more, they think they can do as they please and they are. We want this to stop immediately. Ongoing for over 4 years already.
Upset - 19-Apr-16 @ 2:44 AM
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