Home > Who to Contact > When to Consider Legal Action

When to Consider Legal Action

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 20 Apr 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Consider Legal Action Against Neighbours

The vast majority of disputes between neighbours can usually be resolved between each other without the need to take legal action. Whether it's a problem with a neighbour’s Dog Which Barks Incessantly, thick black Smoke From A Bonfire, Noise Disruption, DIY and building projects, or planning permission issues, virtually every possible neighbourhood dispute or disagreement will fall under some kind of government legislation.

Discuss the Problem Between Yourselves Firstly

Any dispute or disagreement you may have with your neighbour, you should try to resolve between yourselves first of all. In many cases, resorting to using the full power of the law at the first opportunity, especially in incidents which might be seen as relatively minor, is likely to cause the other party to become resentful towards you and can sometimes even escalate a situation.

Talking with your neighbour in a calm, rational manner can usually resolve most things. Often, it’s only by doing this that you can both start to see things from the other person’s perspective, which then helps you both to come to some kind of agreement, even if a compromise has to be made on one or both sides. And if that doesn’t work…?

Using a Mediator

If you cannot come to a mutually satisfactory agreement, most local authorities will be able to put you in touch with a Mediation Service in your area which is relevant to the issue you need to resolve. This can be a good solution where two neighbours cannot agree to the other’s viewpoint about a particular issue, yet are still prepared to explore other avenues other than to go through a court to resolve matters.

These kinds of mediation services are often run by charitable organisations and so many of them provide their services for free. The process will involve an independent skilled mediator listening to both sides of the argument, without imposing judgement on either side, and in doing so, it is hoped that they might be able to come up with a resolution which both parties find acceptable.

Use Other Professionals to Help Find a Solution

Another way of resolving certain disputes without going to court might be to get a relevant professional in to take a look at the issue, and they might be able to come up with a solution both parties hadn’t thought of. An example might be employing the services of a chartered surveyor if a dispute has arisen over boundary lines or building work. Obviously, this method of resolving an issue can only work in certain types of dispute.

Contacting the Local Authority

Many disputes between neighbours will often be dealt with but by contacting your local authority first. Sometimes, a visit from a representative of your local authority or, perhaps, getting the landlord or housing association involved if you live in rented accommodation, is sufficient to get the problem resolved without matters ending up in court.

And if all Else Fails…?

Certainly, there are instances when you should not think twice about instigating legal action against a neighbour. Crimes based on race and religious beliefs, and serious cases of wilful damage to property, harassment or physical violence are all matters in which you may want to seek legal redress through the court process.

Even in such instances, however, it’s important to seek some legal advice from a solicitor or a legal advice centre initially. In taking an issue to court, you’ll need to know what the process will entail, the likely cost and your chances of securing a conviction, winning the case and/or receiving compensation.

Therefore, unless there’s a direct threat to your physical and mental well-being, you should always try to explore every possible avenue when it comes to a dispute between a neighbour before considering legal action.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Hi my neighbour says i am parking to close to her gate. I have explained as being disabled following a stroke I need to park as close as possible to my house. she is now parking so close to my car it is impossible to get into the boot, she has now taken to saying if i was that disabled i wouldnt be able to drive . she has taken to videoing me getting in and out of the car.at what point does this become discrimination due to disability ?
pingu - 20-Apr-17 @ 6:08 PM
my neighbour downstairs who is elderly is slandering my son and accusing him of bullying and harassment. My son is 21 and has just finished university with a 1st degree so hes of good standing. She has called police at least 3 times and constantly writing to Croydon council who have investigated and found she has mental health problems. I have now had enough so what should I do now?
kazoo - 5-Jan-17 @ 4:37 PM
Zuccoo - Your Question:
The empty propety next door is a canabis farm. Informed police nothing done. Reported smell and a constant noise like a generator 24hours a day.Can't relax as worried about a fire starting.Have now reported to environmental department at local council let hope they can sort this problem out.

Our Response:
Let's hope so. If they can't then you could try your MP or the Police Complaints Commission to complain about the police response.
ProblemNeighbours - 14-Dec-16 @ 2:04 PM
The empty propety next door is a canabis farm. Informed police nothing done . Reported smell and a constant noise like a generator 24hours a day. Can't relax as worried about a fire starting . Have now reported to environmental department at local councillet hope they can sort this problem out.
Zuccoo - 13-Dec-16 @ 8:54 PM
I have had problems with my neighbours for the past 2 years! they are alcoholics and one of them is a druggy . they mainly bang doors and cupboards etc at all hours of the morning waking me up constantly which is causing me stress, anxiety and depression.I have gone through hell ! he as his druggy friends round, buys drugs from cars that pull up outside the where I live , every time he closes a door he bangs it ! he also passed out one evening , well it was 1am when I heard the smoke alarm going off and I went round to see his flat full of smoke . I have reported them both , I have filled out diary sheets ,one after another , but it goes on , a circle ! I report him , he gets called into the council , he lies and he continues ! I have had the noise recorder as well but its so difficult to predict when he his going to bang doors!it as now got confrontational, where we have shouting matches , where he amusingly offers me out for a fight ?????? ! though I would enjoy knocking him on his backside , I resist ! he is a liar, druggy and alcoholic, yet the council say its my word against hisand that its normal living noise ?! what at 1 am , 2 am, 3am, 4am, 5am??? I am at my wits end !!! I have put in for a transfer now, being forced to leave my home !
Paul Cook - 4-Nov-16 @ 7:08 AM
Jonny- Your Question:
Neighbours fence blew down at Xmas 2014 ,been told She has to repair it 6 months ago still not taking any notice !!!!

Our Response:
Who has told her she has to repair it? Is she a tenant of a landlord or does she own the property?Unless there are specific conditions, in general a land owner is not obliged to fence in their property unless they need to contain their livestock etc. There is nothing to prevent you from erecting your own fence if it's causing an issue.
ProblemNeighbours - 7-Oct-16 @ 12:29 PM
Neighbours fence blew down at Xmas 2014 ,been told She has to repair it 6 months ago still not taking any notice !!!!
Jonny - 6-Oct-16 @ 2:22 PM
Kika - Your Question:
My neighbour, who own the acess road of a countryside new development of 6 houses, took the task of building the common car parking area (which involves 3 properties, including his and mine) but has not finished it. He claims he's waiting from a neighbour who is supposed to tarmac his property so that it would be cheaper to do two jobs. Otherwise, if I am in a hurry, as he suggested, I should pay more. He had never metioned it would be this way when I fully paid towards the agreed costs. I've already raised the issue several times in vain. It's been over one year. I believe to have a claim regarding a breach of a contract. Do I? Many thanks.

Our Response:
You will only be able to claim for breach of contract if you had a deadline/time agreed for completion. If you have already paid towards the cost of the car park area, you could try asking for your money back until work is about to begin? A legal professional will be able to advise more thoroughly.
ProblemNeighbours - 24-Aug-16 @ 12:46 PM
My neighbour, who own the acess road of a countryside new development of 6 houses, took the task of building the common car parking area (which involves 3 properties, including his and mine) but has not finished it. He claims he's waiting from a neighbour who is supposed to tarmac his property so that it would be cheaper to do two jobs. Otherwise, if i am in a hurry, as he suggested, i should pay more. He had never metioned it would be this way when i fully paid towards the agreed costs. I've already raised the issue several times in vain. It's been over one year. I believe to have a claim regarding a breach of a contract. Do I? Many thanks.
Kika - 21-Aug-16 @ 10:44 PM
bubba1975 - Your Question:
Can I do anything about a neighbour who has 3 cars parked down a side road where I live who is not supposed to be living at the property

Our Response:
If there are no parking restrictions in the road, there is nothing you can do to prevent people parking there unfortunately.
ProblemNeighbours - 8-Aug-16 @ 10:59 AM
Can I do anything about a neighbour who has 3 cars parked down a side road where I live who is not supposed to be living at the property
bubba1975 - 7-Aug-16 @ 10:59 AM
What the he'll what happened to where neighbours just get on and street help each other is the world false . I so in need help no one seems help me . My garden un safe as a wall need be rendered by our neighbours who are home owners they had notice and still no think. I hate it. People come all walks life have all sorts problems but your no better then one other. Why people get funny with your happiness.I believeit up to you to make what you want life . That why problemslike these happen. What world coming to?.. Do I have any rights to file for negotiations as he making my propertyUN safe abd could collapse hrlp me .
Jacobs - 30-Jul-16 @ 11:48 PM
I have been listening to my neighbour's very loud party for hours, every sonoften they crank the volume up. The majority of them are late teen males so I am not going round. I know if I report them they will retaliate and I live with my elderly disabled parent so don't want a physical confrontation. I send text messages to friends as a way of at least having some record of recent dates. I get tempted to play tit for tat but I feel that is what they want, to provoke a reaction. Is contacting Environmental Health a good idea? Has it ever worked?
Dory - 30-Jan-16 @ 10:34 PM
My back neighbour jumped over the fence with a friend and assaulted my friends after being politely turned away then ruined my garden as a result of the scuffle. I do not believe they can afford to pay compensation for breaking all my plants. The police were calledwhile they were still there and stupidly denies they jumped the fence at all. What justice do I get for this? I am traumatised.
Sol - 27-Jan-16 @ 2:37 AM
underadvisement - Your Question:
I am starting have problems with a neighbour who is an alcoholic who has decided to throw his empty wine bottles etc into my garden and the surrounding area.I was wondering if someone could advise me on a course of action I should consider taking.

Our Response:
If you feel comfortable about talking to him, that should be your first course of action. If this is unsuccessful, your local council should be able to take action underAntisocial Behaviour legislation.There is more about the AntiSocial Behaviour Act here
ProblemNeighbours - 15-Dec-15 @ 10:37 AM
I am starting have problems with a neighbour who is an alcoholic who has decided to throw his empty wine bottles etc into my garden and the surrounding area.I was wondering if someone could advise me on a course of action I should consider taking.
underadvisement - 14-Dec-15 @ 2:27 PM
I recently purchased a semi detached property and the adjoining semi is going to ruin. It is still occupied. When decorating we found 2 dead rats under floorboards and in lift space. The property has no facias of guttering, but most concerning to us is the water overflow has been constantly running now for over a month. I informed the occupier but nothing has been done. I've noticed very damp brick work in our outside kitchen wall caused by this running water. I'm really concerned that this is going to cause long term serious damage to our property. What can we do about this? The occupier does not seem to care about the property or the impact it has on ours. Is there someone we can approach to have this resolved?
Andy - 6-Dec-15 @ 1:02 PM
Bec1952 - Your Question:
I have a problem with an abusive neighbour. When I purchased this property over 10 years ago I inherited a yard full of large trees which the former owner planted. On one side boundary is a melalueca, and since I have lived here I have been constantly bullied and harrassed by the neighbour regarding this tree, he complains that it overhangs his house and drops leaves in his gutters. Previously, this man has tresspassed on my property while I have been out; cut branches from this tree and strewn the debris all over my yard. This afternoon when I was in my front yard, he abused me again and gave me one week to get rid of the tree or he would take action. I am on the pension and am unable to come up with the thousand or so dollars to remove this tree. I also have other trees that need removing - I have already removed one tree and am in the process of removing the most urgent ones first. I have taken offense to being bullied and spoken to with a total lack of respect by these people. If they had behaved in a reasonable, co-operative manner we could have worked together and the trees would have been long gone. Instead they have chosen to be bullies. Their threats include: running over my dogs, dropping my dogs, taking legal action, etc, etc. I am heartily sick of having to put up with this behaviour from the husband, wife and son. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Our Response:
We only deal with UK law here. If you had this problem here, the fact that your trees shedsleaves and overhangs the neighbour's property would not be sufficient to ask you to remove it. The neighbour would be expected to simply remove any overhanging branches himself and then "offer" you the branches back (you could refuse them).
ProblemNeighbours - 17-Nov-15 @ 11:31 AM
I have a problem with an abusive neighbour.When I purchased this property over 10 years ago I inherited a yard full of large trees which the former owner planted.On one sideboundary is a melalueca, and since I have lived here I have been constantly bullied and harrassed by the neighbour regarding this tree, he complains that it overhangs his house and drops leaves in his gutters. Previously, this man has tresspassed on my property while I have been out; cutbranches from this tree and strewn the debris all over my yard. This afternoon when I was in my front yard, he abused me again and gave me one week to get rid of the tree or he would take action.I am on the pension and am unable to come up with thethousand or so dollars to remove this tree. I also have other trees that need removing - I have already removed one tree and am in the process of removing the most urgent ones first. I have taken offense to being bullied and spoken to with a total lack of respect by these people. If they had behaved in a reasonable, co-operative manner we could have worked together and the trees would have been long gone. Instead they have chosen to be bullies.Their threats include:running over my dogs, dropping my dogs, taking legal action, etc, etc. I am heartily sick of having to put up with this behaviour from the husband, wife and son. Does anyone have any suggestions?
Bec1952 - 15-Nov-15 @ 8:12 AM
Jules- Your Question:
Responding to lady with dogs(apparently) causing problems! I have been living here for just under a year now. I live with my two beautiful babies (dogs) rescued,one 12yr,other 6yrs. They only bark when door knock or sudden noises,usual dogs doing their jobs! I am actually here after a violent attack and rehomed in new area. One neighbour took instant dislike to me and accused me of loud music ( my stereo has one speaker) I'm a tv person! Arguments ( which everyone does but I can't even laugh because she says she can hear me! I'm bipolar and surely me laughing is a good thing??? The actual rows,dog barking etc is others in the block *WHICH I HAve recorded!!! She has called police on me,they found no problem! Then she told upstairs neighbour that I accused them of the noise,causing boyfriend to come to my door and threaten me and my partner violently! To top it all housing estate management have threatened me with eviction even though I've tried to contact them ( no reply). Now my landlord is selling flat(NOTHING to do with me) and I'm going to be homeless with two dogs! I feel suicidal! Who do I see? Talk to ? Please HELP!!!

Our Response:
Do you have a medical professional who helps with manage the bipolar episodes? If so, they should be able to provide you with support in applying for Housing Association or Council housing. The council will also be able to give you lots of information on your options if you are threatened with imminent homelessness. You can also find support from local community groups - look in your area, they don't have to be associated with mental health, but BiPolar UK has some good information on this. Try and emphasise that you would like somewhere dog-friendly when you apply for new accommodation.
ProblemNeighbours - 27-Aug-15 @ 11:59 AM
Responding to lady with dogs(apparently) causing problems! I have been living here for just under a year now. I live with my two beautiful babies (dogs) rescued,one 12yr,other 6yrs. They only bark when door knock or sudden noises,usual dogs doing their jobs! I am actually here after a violent attack and rehomed in new area. One neighbour took instant dislike to me and accused me of loud music ( my stereo has one speaker) I'm a tv person! Arguments ( which everyone does but I can't even laugh because she says she can hear me! I'm bipolar and surely me laughing is a good thing??? The actual rows,dog barking etc is others in the block *WHICH I HAve recorded!!! She has called police on me,they found no problem! Then she told upstairs neighbour that I accused them of the noise,causing boyfriend to come to my door and threaten me and my partner violently!To top it all housing estate management have threatened me with eviction even though I've tried to contact them ( no reply). Now my landlord is selling flat(NOTHING to do with me) and I'm going to be homeless with two dogs! I feel suicidal! Who do I see? Talk to ? Please HELP!!!
Jules - 26-Aug-15 @ 12:33 AM
I have a problem with cigarette smoke coming into my house. I live in a terraced house. Is there anything that can be done?
Nunu - 9-Jun-15 @ 11:18 PM
@Topcat. No he should divulge the nature of his complaint to the buyer or to you. You should not have to go to court to find out what it's about. Ask your own solicitor for advice.
ProblemNeighbours - 17-Mar-15 @ 10:15 AM
Our neighbor has wrote to us via a chartered surveyor, informing us that he hS a dispute with us. We have just sold the house and now of course can not sell until it is resolved. However, it says in the letter that it is reference a boundary dispute but will not tell us what that is. Is it correct that we are now stuck here and that we can only force him to divulge what the detail is in court? It seems ridiculous that we are stuck here at the whim of one man? Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.This is not the first time this man has harassed us.
Topcat - 13-Mar-15 @ 6:14 PM
@Sammygirl. Really you should inform someone if you are filming them for any reason.
ProblemNeighbours - 13-Mar-15 @ 2:35 PM
@'Nukey. If your landlord does not carry out necessary repairs there are certain steps to follow. This guide explains what you need to know.
ProblemNeighbours - 13-Mar-15 @ 12:56 PM
I was wondering if it is legal to record (for documentation) antisocial behaviour happening in your street from your own home through a window.
SammysGirl - 11-Mar-15 @ 3:19 PM
I live with my dad and we privetly rent a 2 bed flat and our landlord hasnt done anything to sort it and i have mould on my ceiling and i suffer from asma what should i do about it
Nukey - 11-Mar-15 @ 11:45 AM
@netale. There's not a great deal you can do quickly, but you could try reporting this to the police and state that you want to make a report under the antisocial behaviour act. There is more information about what the act covers and how to complain here.
ProblemNeighbours - 12-Nov-14 @ 10:45 AM
I have lived in my house for 15 years with no problems two years ago the neighbours from hell moved in!We stayed clear of there gossip and just tried to get on with our life's! Then last year her husband threatened to torch our house and torcher my family! He was arrested and went to court but got off with a fine and caution!! Since then they have constantly ring the housing complaining of anything the other neighbours and we do ( which is so much as parking in the layby) they have broken my back garden Fence while we've been out! Play music loud, talk really loud with the Windows openTrying to intimidate us! Yet the housing defend her ( she has told a neighbour she hasContact within the housing) do you think that the solicitor would now be a option toSolve these problems? We are trying to deal with terminal illness in the family and justWant to live in peace and so do the other neighbours in our close!
netale - 10-Nov-14 @ 8:24 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the ProblemNeighbours website. Please read our Disclaimer.