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The Most Common Neighbourhood Disputes

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 12 Oct 2018 | 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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My next door neighbour smokes sitting on her front step an throws her cigarette ends still burning in to her front garden beside my living room window and my house stinks of smoke.... now noo e in my house smokes so why should i smell her 2nd hand smoke !!
Lou - 12-Oct-18 @ 5:42 PM
Hi, neighbour after 3years of hell she has now been convicted of harassment. My question is has anyone ever had chemicals being sprayed on plants, gates fencing and/or spraying paint stripper through windows, I know this sounds crazy but I am convinced crazy neighbour has now sprayed something through my window, killing a plant and now I noticing damage to property internally, paintwork and any metal surface has now rusted? If I brought my concerns to my council I am certain they would in fact believe I wasimagining it. This neighbour is well known for causing all neighbours misery throughout her life, , I know this all sounds mad but I have come to this conclusion as it is the only logical explanation as to damage. Any advice or information would be very gratefully received.
Twinks - 11-Oct-18 @ 1:41 PM
Pish - Your Question:
Hi I live in what was a fairly peaceful neighbourhood, that has now changed thanks to a group of older teens , who now arrive at back of our property most eve/ nights in their cars. Revving the engines , doing all sorts of car repairs inc paint spraying. This is in a small communeral car park which already full of neighbors cars , so they block the legitimate cars. It’s driving us all crazy , non of them even live on estate. Please what can we do , as we don’t want to approach them for fear of reprisals.

Our Response:
Talk to your local community policing team, they'll be able to go and take a look at what's going on and if necessary use their antisocial behaviour legislative powers.
ProblemNeighbours - 3-Aug-18 @ 10:35 AM
Hi I live in what was a fairly peaceful neighbourhood, that has now changed thanks to a group of older teens , who now arrive at back of our property most eve/ nights in their cars . Revving the engines , doing all sorts of car repairs inc paint spraying . This is in a small communeral car park which already full of neighbors cars , so they block the legitimate cars . It’s driving us all crazy , non of them even live on estate . Please what can we do , as we don’t want to approach them for fear of reprisals.
Pish - 31-Jul-18 @ 7:50 PM
Bobby - Your Question:
We have a sheard drive next door have a buetie business all the clients are forever blocking our driveway have talked to my neighbor many times but with no joy.What can I do it is so upsettingHave I a case to take to court.Will my neighbor need planning permission to run a business from there home.Help.

Our Response:
Planning permission is usually required to run a business from home, especially if it involves clients visiting the premises. If your neighbour has ignored your complaints, solicitor's letter might help. You could pursue it further if that did not resolve things.
ProblemNeighbours - 23-Jul-18 @ 11:17 AM
We have a sheard drive next door have a buetie business all the clients are forever blocking our driveway have talked to my neighbor many times but with no joy. What can I do it is so upsetting Have I a case to take to court. Will my neighbor need planning permission to run a business from there home. Help.
Bobby - 19-Jul-18 @ 3:23 PM
Ceri - Your Question:
Hi, my neighbour has cut down part of my tree, this is no way on their side. They have reached over the fence while I was out and cut it down! While I was also out they have thrown a white liquid all over the trees, and kids play equipment which is now killing the the rest of my trees. When asked about it they just said that they were spraying green flies. my 10 years trees are now dying! They are not the friendliest of people!

Our Response:
Unfortunately there isn't much you can do about this other than suing for damages. The police may be interested because of the combination of tree damage and the intent to damage or injure property/people with the white liquid etc. Contact your local community policing team.
ProblemNeighbours - 23-May-18 @ 12:09 PM
Hi, my neighbour has cut down part of my tree, this is no way on their side. They have reached over the fence while I was out and cut it down! While I was also out they have thrown a white liquid all over the trees, and kids play equipment which is now killing the the rest of my trees. When asked about it they just said that they were spraying green flies... my 10 years trees are now dying! They are not the friendliest of people!
Ceri - 21-May-18 @ 1:30 PM
2 in a block houses both with sideways next to our door for the bins my downstairs neighbours have decorated they're sideway bit so they use the sideway I thought my bins were meant to go but they've mine on the grass at the back of the pathway. Where really should the bins be placed cause I don't think its fair that everytime I put my bins out I have to walk on muddy grass but she get to stand in her doorway to put rubbish in the bin where should the bins be placed
JSTA - 15-Mar-18 @ 4:31 PM
I was wondering I live upstairs in a council house (2 in a block) my downstairs neighbours have bought they're house we both have sideways next to our doors but she's decorated her sideway bit so her bins are in between her door and mine and my bins are put on the side grass in our pathway should I not get to put my bins next to my door its not my fault she's decorated it but that shouldn't mean I get my bins put on the muddy grass and she puts her bins between our doors. Does it? I have tried putting them there but she'll move them and put hers back. Can she put her bins there or is that where my bins should be placed?
JSTA - 15-Mar-18 @ 4:19 PM
I own a field and before my neighbour moved in I built a legal fence with planning permission to an appropriate height. He took offence to this and report it to the local planning officer who duly came came and checked the fence to see that it met with planning (which it did). The neighbour then decided to construct tanks to hold water which he pumps under the fence at night.These he eventually covered with rocks. He used to pump around 1500 gallons of water each night which I had to pump away from the field the following day. When this was reported to the water company and to the police he said that it was surface water. There has never been any surface water accumulating here before. In any case although his garden is on a slope is it sandy soil and so the water would not pass over it.We have seen him tinkering with the fence and we suspect that pipes have been laid over plastic up to it. As this appears to have had no effect on the fence, he has increased the number of tanks and is now pumping around 3000 gallons of water a day and it is taking approx 3 hours to pump it away.The police don't want to know, they say it is a civil offence.The water company don't want to know (I think they are frightened of being sued). He is not on a meter.Please can you help!Any help would most gratefully received.
Nico - 27-Dec-17 @ 11:57 AM
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
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