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How to Deal With Environmental Nuisances Caused by Neighbours

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 2 Sep 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Graffiti Tipping Waste Fly Tipping

Graffiti and fly-posting, fly-tipping and burnt out or abandoned vehicles are just some issues which can cause problems among neighbours, and can ruin a community.

These are all criminal offences and can become a blight on a neighbourhood. Although these crimes may seem somewhat incidental to others that may be prevalent within a particular community, they can start the ball rolling into the rapid deterioration of a neighbourhood.

Dealing With Graffiti and Fly-posting

Graffiti are drawings or words that have been written, painted, scratched or sprayed onto the surface of any building, and fly-posting is the illegal promotion of events which are often attached or glued onto buildings or lamp posts in poster form without the express permission of the local authority or the owner of the building or property in question.

Both graffiti and fly-posting are criminal offences which can lead to fixed penalty notices of £80 being issued to the perpetrators by the local authority or police and, in some cases, a magistrate can impose even higher fines. If you witness graffiti or fly-posting activity, you should Report It To Your Local Authority's Environmental Health Officer.

Your local council is usually responsible for cleaning up public buildings, street furniture and public monuments, although in some cases, such as with telephone boxes and bus shelters, for example, it’s the responsibility of the company who have placed them there to remove the graffiti or posters. You should report any instances to your local authority who will get in touch with the appropriate companies, if it’s not their direct responsibility to remove it.

If a person’s own property has been defaced by graffiti, many councils will offer a free or subsidised service to help with the removal, although you would need to check first.

Dealing with Fly-tipping

Fly-tipping is the illegal dumping of waste materials, often discarded bulky furniture, or any other form of rubbish in an area which has not been licensed for these purposes. Often it involves a vehicle simply dumping rubbish at the side of the road or in a nearby field or patch of waste land. This is a serious offence and fines of up to £20,000 can be imposed on fly-tippers, as well as their vehicles being seized.

If you witness a fly-tipping incident, you should take down as many details as possible. This should include the time, date and location of where the incident took place, as well as a description of the vehicle, people, material and, if possible, the registration number. Obviously, the more detail you can recall, the more likelihood of bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Contact your local authority as soon as you can after you have witnessed a case of fly-tipping. It’s important to do this quickly as there could be dangerous items such as disused syringes, broken glass, asbestos or toxic chemicals in the rubbish or, alternatively, if the rubbish has been dumped near water, it could contaminate the local water supply. What you shouldn’t do is to interfere with the rubbish because of the dangers of the waste as outlined above.

Dealing with Abandoned Vehicles

There are several reasons why a vehicle may be abandoned. It may have been stolen and used as part of a crime, or the owner may leave an unlicensed or untaxed vehicle rather than spending money having it towed away and scrapped.

The real issues surrounding abandoned vehicles is that they could be part of a crime scene, they attract vandalism and rubbish, and they may be at risk of possible explosion.

If you know or suspect a vehicle has been abandoned, you should contact your local authority who will investigate matters further. They will usually work in conjunction with the police and DVLA to establish whether or not a vehicle constitutes being abandoned, and will try to trace the owner before removing it. Obviously, if the vehicle has not been stolen or involved in any form of criminal activity and the owner can be traced, they will be liable for any removal or disposal costs.

If the vehicle is deemed to have some monetary value and the owner is traced, they’ll be given a week’s notice to remove the vehicle themselves. However, if the vehicle is only fit for the scrapyard, it can be removed by the local authority without any need to give notice to the owner.

We all want to live in neighbourhoods which are safe, clean and environmentally friendly so if you see any instances of the above, the sooner you contact your local authority, the sooner you can be rid of the problem and prevent a particular problem from escalating.

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Hi. My neighbour has been doing work in his garden. I've now witnessed him sweeping the rubbish all up afterwards, then sweeping the street out the front and throwing buckets of rubbish into a part of our side garden. This is separate from our main garden but is still within our boundaries at the side of our house. It has a fence around to make it known it's owned and leads along to our driveway. What can be done about this? He's not very approachable. Is this fly tipping? Who can I contact? Obviously there's not a big pile of stuff to see as it will be under the bushes, but this is still out of order. We don't want his rubbish and street sweepings. How lazy not to simply put it in his own bin! Thanks.
Gemgall - 2-Sep-18 @ 10:49 AM
I live in a terrace house in a one way driving system so when the bin men are due people from other streets drag there bins to my rd for emptying but every time someone is leaving 5-10 bin bags of rubbish at the front of my house which never gets collected I have phoned environmental health at least 25 times upto now complaining every time which it then takes 1 to 2 weeks for them to send someone to clean up the mess for this to happen again the following week iv tried to catch the person doing this but I always miss them .. I am so fed up with thisI have young children and it's disgusting to be right outside my front door there must be something that can be done about it ?
K - 30-Aug-18 @ 6:09 PM
Hello, I live in a block of apartments in Birmingham city centre. There is a private car park for the building and there is some neighbour that keeps dumping rubbish bags by the building's door which leads to the car park. This is obviously not the designated place to place the rubbish bags and even though other neighbours and the building's management company have placed warning messages on the wall stating that the action of dumbing rubbish in that area is not allowed, this issue keeps happening. There is a CCTV camera inside the building that is looking at the door which leads to the car park and I have already asked the management company to look at the footage to try and find whoever keeps doing this. What other actions can I take? Could I request the CCTV footage and look at it myself? Can I report this to the police? Many thanks, Ander.
Member100 - 16-Aug-18 @ 6:45 PM
Hi, is it considered fly-tipping when your neighbour dumpsgrass sod on your private drive, when he is cutting his hedge and has garden waste bags available.
Gill - 30-May-18 @ 3:20 PM
For months now the local road sweepers have been dumping atleast 3 bags of rubbish up against the side of my house (I live end of the street), we have previously had issues with rats and mice in the area which have been reported to the council, these rubbish bags are dumped there every week the day after rubbish collection and sit there for 6 days when rubbish is collected again, last week one of these bags had sharp pieces of wood sticking out and often cats and foxes urinate on these bags making a horrendous smell and today they've splattered my car in dirt. We also have a large tree in our garden which my partner cuts down so it doesn't overhang onto the pavement in the street, the council turned up and jumped into our garden (destroyed the trellis along my wall) and cut alot of the branches down, practically stripping the tree and reducing our privacy. Surely they can't just enter my property and do as they please? What options do I have regarding the dumping of their rubbish bags?
Lola - 24-May-18 @ 12:42 PM
Lubbie - Your Question:
Have neighbours next door who dump their garden waste over their fence onto private land behind our garden. It's an eyesore. Who do I contact to stop them doing this?

Our Response:
Contact the landowner of the "private land"? They will be able to take action against your neighbour.
ProblemNeighbours - 21-May-18 @ 12:00 PM
Have neighbours next door who dump their garden waste over their fence onto private land behind our garden. It's an eyesore. Who do I contact to stop them doing this?
Lubbie - 19-May-18 @ 2:33 PM
Olivia- Your Question:
Hi, we live in a semidetached house and there is tall fence between us and our neighbour. We don't share a driveway or a garden. But for some reason she is keep telling me what to do in my garden, for example she told me to not smoke in front of my back door. This is second time when she is doing this. I didn't know that I'm supose to have a smoking designated area in the garden that I am paying 2000 pounds rent per month! Thank you for your response

Our Response:
Check with your landlord to be sure, but there aren't any rules about smoking in one's own garden just yet, as far as we are aware. Maybe just try and ignore your neighbour. If it becomes too much drop a note round and politely request that your neighbour allows you some privacy when in your garden.
ProblemNeighbours - 9-May-18 @ 11:27 AM
Craglius - Your Question:
I have a shared access area with my neighbour known as an entry. It is to gain access to the rear of my property via the front of the property. For some time now my neighbour has been dumping his rubbish in there. I had polite conversations with him telling him how it prevented me gaining access to my property, attracted vermin and was a potential fire risk if somebody decided to set it on fire. He kept promising he would deal with it but never did. Over 4 months of frequent conversations and reminders with failed promises each time. So I offered to help him clear it. knowing that he was having a difficult time after his wife had passed away about a year ago, didn't have a car to take it to local household rubbish site and I did. He agreed to help me load the car but in reality I did most of the work as he had given up and gone inside. I cleared all the rubbish and told him it needs to be kept clear moving forward as this had happened previously but on that occasion he had somehow got the council housing to clear up his property including the entry and rubbish in his garden and garage that he had created because he transferred tenancy due to his wife passing away.About 3 months on and things are already things are starting creep back into the entry. On top of that, yesterday one of his friends dumped quite a bit of garden waste outside of my rear garage on my private land then had the audacity to tell my son who had caught him when returning his bike that he can get rid of it for £40 and gave him a leaflet of his business. My son did not realise what was happening at the time. In addition, my neighbour has discarded furniture and mattresses etc in his own garden.I am at a loss of how to deal with this because I have been friendly about it but also firm and to the point later on. If I try to report fly tipping to the council they just point out that the rubbish is on private land and that it is my responsibility to move it if it is on my land. He is a council tenant whereas I own my home. What can I do?

Our Response:
Our guide here might help otherwise you may have to resort to legal action.
ProblemNeighbours - 8-May-18 @ 1:54 PM
Hi, we live in a semidetached house and there is tall fence between us and our neighbour. We don't share a driveway or a garden. But for some reason she is keep telling me what to do in my garden, for example she told me to not smoke in front of my back door. This is second time when she is doing this. I didn't know that I'm supose to have a smoking designated area in the garden that I am paying 2000 pounds rent per month! Thank you for your response
Olivia - 8-May-18 @ 12:54 PM
I have a shared access area with my neighbour known as an entry. It is to gain access to the rear of my property via the front of the property. For some time now my neighbour has been dumping his rubbish in there. I had polite conversations with him telling him how it prevented me gaining access to my property, attracted vermin and was a potential fire risk if somebody decided to set it on fire. He kept promising he would deal with it but never did. Over 4 months of frequent conversations and reminders with failed promises each time. So I offered to help him clear it... knowing that he was having a difficult time after his wife had passed away about a year ago, didn't have a car to take it to local household rubbish site and I did. He agreed to help me load the car but in reality I did most of the work as he had given up and gone inside. I cleared all the rubbish and told him it needs to be kept clear moving forward as this had happened previously but on that occasion he had somehow got the council housing to clear up his property including the entry and rubbish in his garden and garage that he had created because he transferred tenancy due to his wife passing away. About 3 months on and things are already things are starting creep back into the entry. On top of that, yesterday one of his friends dumped quite a bit of garden waste outside of my rear garage on my private land then had the audacity to tell my son who had caught him when returning his bike that he can get rid of it for £40 and gave him a leaflet of his business. My son did not realise what was happening at the time. In addition, my neighbour has discarded furniture and mattresses etc in his own garden. I am at a loss of how to deal with this because I have been friendly about it but also firm and to the point later on. If I try to report fly tipping to the council they just point out that the rubbish is on private land and that it is my responsibility to move it if it is on my land. He is a council tenant whereas I own my home. What can I do?
Craglius - 6-May-18 @ 5:51 AM
Charly - Your Question:
Someone unsure of who is placing food tins on our front garden to entice animals to foul or for some other reason. We have found bits of rubbish which is fine but lately there was a half tin of sardines and today a whole tin of corned beef still in a open dangerous tin. It was obviously placed as ot was under a garden bench so it couldn't fall there We have been throwing it away. We do have a gate but it doesnt lock. What can we do? I am a little concerned for the animals really as you hear a lot about poisoning these days and I have a little dog.

Our Response:
This seems very strange. Is it likely that an animal could have brought these things in from someone's rubbish? Have you thought about a lock on your gate on the inside to see if it stops? That might be a bit impractical if you have post or other deliveries etc. CCTV?
ProblemNeighbours - 25-Apr-18 @ 12:30 PM
Someone unsure of who is placing food tins on our front garden to entice animals to foul or for some other reason.We have found bits of rubbish which is fine but lately there was a half tin of sardines and today a whole tin of corned beef still in a open dangerous tin. It was obviously placed as ot was under a garden bench so it couldn't fall thereWe have been throwing it away.We do have a gate but it doesnt lock.What can we do?I am a little concerned for the animals really as you hear a lot about poisoning these days and I have a little dog.
Charly - 23-Apr-18 @ 3:44 PM
Khug - Your Question:
I'm sick of the alley way behind my house. It is shared by 3 streets and many if the neighbours dump anything and everything in there. I've reported it 3 times now and every time the council clear it not even a few weeks later it's being used as a tip again. I'm not talking rubbish bags I'm talking car parts, mattresses, sofas, building rubble, mirrors and glass fixings that often smash. I want to let my kids play there as they can't play out on the street with it being so busy.I don't think anyone been fined ECT for it yet which I think will be the only deterrent. It's not just this alley way either, I walk my dog and nearly every one in the area is filling up with rubbish! I've seen rotten fruit all over one and broken furniture with mountains of bags. It's a wonder I've not seen rats. Should put up cctv to catch footage of the neighbours doing it behind me?

Our Response:
People can be so inconsiderate cant' they? Talk to your local MP, if this is in more than one area, it sounds like your council needs to be more proactive in fulfiling its duty. Is it the type of area where CCTV might be appropriate, could you suggest this?
ProblemNeighbours - 20-Apr-18 @ 2:46 PM
I'm sick of the alley way behind my house. It is shared by 3 streets and many if the neighbours dump anything and everything in there. I've reported it 3 times now and every time the council clear it not even a few weeks later it's being used as a tip again. I'm not talking rubbish bags I'm talking car parts, mattresses, sofas, building rubble, mirrors and glass fixings that often smash. I want to let my kids play there as they can't play out on the street with it being so busy. I don't think anyone been fined ECT for it yet which I think will be the only deterrent. It's not just this alley way either, I walk my dog and nearly every one in the area is filling up with rubbish! I've seen rotten fruit all over one and broken furniture with mountains of bags. It's a wonder I've not seen rats. Should put up cctv to catch footage of the neighbours doing it behind me?
Khug - 18-Apr-18 @ 1:00 PM
Happy - Your Question:
Hello, an adjoining neighbour is dumping their rubbish from their garden into the bottom of our garden. Can I report them and who to? Thank you

Our Response:
Talk to the neighbour first of all, do they realise it's your garden? Perhaps they think it's wasteland or something (assuming they can't really see it). If it persists you could try contacting your local neighbourhood policing team and report this as antisocial behaviour.
ProblemNeighbours - 9-Apr-18 @ 11:17 AM
Hello, an adjoining neighbour is dumping their rubbish from their garden into the bottom of our garden. Can I report them and who to? Thank you
Happy - 6-Apr-18 @ 5:59 PM
In the allotments behind our house, some of the plot holders have taken to holding bbqs and social events. To date, it's not been a problem as they've been on their own plots away from the boundary so we've just ignored it. However, they've now established a 'community barbecue area' right next to the fence behind the houses. Other householders are also concerned as one of the advantages of these houses is the lack of neighbours. The site is very large and there plenty of other areas where they could do this but when I suggested they choose another location, they refused. I've pointed out that it will cause a nuisance to householders, but again, they say they can do what they like. The tenancy agreement states that the allotment site should be used for the growing of fruit and vegetables, but I'm not sure what to do next.
jr - 27-Mar-18 @ 3:18 PM
Goth - Your Question:
Hi we live on an end of terrace property. People have been throwing their rubbish between the 2 houses at the end of terrace. Sometimes cardboard boxes and sometimes poundland bags full of rubbish. With constantly raining boxes have become mush and now health n safety issue as when ER r crossing I hve almost slipped a few times. Me an my wife reported to council and they say, won't do anything as it's not on pavement and if it's end of terrace then it's house owners responsibility. I don't know what to do. AThought abt putting CCTV and a sign saying please don't dump rubbish here but don't think it will help.Any advice if I can report it somewhere?RegardsG

Our Response:
If it's not the home owners that are dumping it and it's a publicly accessible area, your council should be doing more about this. If it's an access to your property and your neighbours, could you consider erect a gate across? (With everyone who needs access having a key). Otherwise it might be worth calling your local councillor to see if they can support you.
ProblemNeighbours - 15-Dec-17 @ 3:23 PM
Hi we live on an end of terrace property. People have been throwing their rubbish between the 2 houses at the end of terrace. Sometimes cardboard boxes and sometimes poundland bags full of rubbish. With constantly raining boxes have become mush and now health n safety issue as when ER r crossing I hve almost slipped a few times. Me an my wife reported to council and they say, won't do anything as it's not on pavement and if it's end of terrace then it's house owners responsibility. I don't know what to do. A Thought abt putting CCTV and a sign saying please don't dump rubbish here but don't think it will help. Any advice if I can report it somewhere? Regards G
Goth - 13-Dec-17 @ 12:14 PM
Tom- Your Question:
Hi. I've just seen my very own neighbour flytipping his home improvement rubbish (some plastic garden panels) onto a public pathway that runs between mine and my other neighbour's home. I obviously know him, his address, etc and it's an offence to fly tip and with all those details a successful prosecution is very likely. On the other hand, as mad as it may sound, he's otherwise an excellent neighbour. It made me really angry when I saw him do it and he, knowing that I've seen him, had done nothing to retrieve the items. I know for sure that the council will destroy that man financially with a hefty fine, and his wife won't take it well. But if I approach him about it our unintrusive relationship will also end. There's no good way about it and I feel I just can't let it go, as this sort of behaviour can easily snowball into a littered neighbourhood. Lastly, only last week during the same neighbour's house works someone dumped a bag with an old Hoover and other packaging from a new machine into my own Hippo bag I had in my driveway ready for collection. Now I suspect it was the same culprit and it makes me even angrier. Should I report him to prevent others getting 'rubbish' surprises, as I start to see a pattern, or simply speak to him and hope for the best? I think I've answered this myself, but I'm eager to get your view, please.

Our Response:
Why not bring it up as if you don't know it's him? Ask him if he's seen anything - say someone else has commented about the path - and the flytipping and that it's spoiling the area ( and house prices will go down etc etc). That might wake him up to the fact that his improvements are someone else's mess. You can also report it to the council - you don't have to say you know who did it and you can also ask for your details to remain confidential, they will respect this.
ProblemNeighbours - 14-Nov-17 @ 2:26 PM
Hi. I've just seen my very own neighbour flytipping his home improvement rubbish (some plastic garden panels) onto a public pathway that runs between mine and my other neighbour's home. I obviously know him, his address, etc and it's an offence to fly tip and with all those details a successful prosecution is very likely. On the other hand, as mad as it may sound, he's otherwise an excellent neighbour. It made me really angry when I saw him do it and he, knowing that I've seen him, had done nothing to retrieve the items. I know for sure that the council will destroy that man financially with a hefty fine, and his wife won't take it well. But if I approach him about it our unintrusive relationship will also end. There's no good way about it and I feel I just can't let it go, as this sort of behaviour can easily snowball into a littered neighbourhood. Lastly, only last week during the same neighbour's house works someone dumped a bag with an old Hoover and other packaging from a new machine into my own Hippo bag i had in my driveway ready for collection. Now I suspect it was the same culprit and it makes me even angrier. Should I report him to prevent others getting 'rubbish' surprises, as I start to see a pattern, or simply speak to him and hope for the best? I think I've answered this myself, but I'm eager to get your view, please.
Tom - 12-Nov-17 @ 10:23 PM
Hi, last year our neighbour at the back (our gardens are back to back) came round and discussed if we would agree to him reducing the height of two of our trees and we agreed as they had got a little tall, we've just returned from holiday and he has reduced the height of one of them again (all this year's growth) which we didn't want touching and now we're worried he's going to do the same to the other, where do we stand and what do you recommend we do.
kaz - 26-Oct-17 @ 2:52 PM
me - Your Question:
A development plan was first submitted 18 months ago to knock down a bungalow and replace it with 2 houses. The council rejected the plan. Another plan was submitted that was also rejected and we are currently waiting for a decision on the third plan. However the problem is that the developers that live there have bullied both me and the other neighbor consistently during the whole process. It is often subtle but the man does it to wear us down. He only does it to the women of the households. I have been driven at when out on my bike, he piles rubbish at the boundary fences to irritate us, he spies on us all when we are in our gardens, he swears at us so we can hear when he is in his garden, he spies on the other neighbors kids, he installed a cctv camera that looks directly onto the pavement (we live in a cul de sac so he can see what we are all doing), he has thrown something at me. These are just a few things that spring to mind. This is just because he blames us all that his development plans have been rejected, instead of accepting that the plans are too much for the size of the space, and it is his way of getting back at us. What can we do about this low level bully?

Our Response:
Why not report him to the police (non emergency 101 or contact your local PCSO). You could also report your concerns to the planning department. If all else fails seek advice from a solicitor with a view to taking a private legal action.
ProblemNeighbours - 19-Jun-17 @ 1:51 PM
A development plan was first submitted 18 months ago to knock down a bungalow and replace it with 2 houses.The council rejected the plan. Another plan was submitted that was also rejected and we are currently waiting for a decision on the third plan.However the problem is that the developers that live there have bullied both me and the other neighbor consistently during the whole process. It is often subtle but the man does it to wear us down. He only does it to the women of the households. I have been driven at when out on my bike, he piles rubbish at the boundary fences to irritate us, he spies on us all when we are in our gardens, he swears at us so we can hear when he is in his garden, he spies on the other neighbors kids, he installed a cctv camera that looks directly onto the pavement (we live in a cul de sac so he can see what we are all doing), he has thrown something at me. These are just a few things that spring to mind.This is just because he blames us all that his development plans have been rejected, instead of accepting that the plans are too much for the size of the space, and it is his way of getting back at us.What can we do about this low level bully?
me - 15-Jun-17 @ 6:17 PM
wines12 - Your Question:
I have a shared enclosed allyway which me and my neighbour share. my new neighbours have just moved in. they now place there bins in the allyway oppersite my side door to my kitchen. can they leave it there we have enough room to walk past but I'm worried that it's a fire risk plus the smells off the bins and the insects they attract

Our Response:
If these are council or rented properties, contact your landlord for information. In general shared alleyways should be kept completely clear and this is normally stated as part of a tenancy agreement. Likewise, if you own your property, the title deeds would normally include a clause about keeping the alleyway clear. Please see our letter template which will help you if you want to drop your neighbour a note about this issue Letter to Neighbour About Blocking Shared Access Way
ProblemNeighbours - 6-Jun-17 @ 2:26 PM
I have a shared enclosed allyway which me and my neighbour share. my new neighbours have just moved in. they now place there bins in the allyway oppersite my side door to my kitchen. can they leave it there we have enough room to walk past but I'm worried that it's a fire risk plus the smells off the bins and the insects they attract
wines12 - 4-Jun-17 @ 3:07 PM
We own our house and the next 3 house next to us are rented. We have shared access at the back of the property and have to walk past all the other 3 homes. 4 months ago someone moved into the end house and block the way with a old car ( we had to take the bin through the house on bin day). However thus was resolved. Now the person has filled the garden with used car tyres. They had blocked the joint access, have been rolling out into the road, and falling over in the night banging loudly. Noons sees the person in the end house as he only seems to leave the house at night. There are 2 children both under the age of 6 and its now a safety issue as well as a eyesore. Is there anything we can do ?
Den - 1-Jun-17 @ 11:12 PM
I came home from work on Sunday and saw a box of rubbish left outside by my drive on the foot path wat should I do and who should I contant
Tahira - 3-May-17 @ 7:25 PM
Martin Woodland - Your Question:
My neighbor has two old cars that aren't road worthy on his drive and it's driving me crazy. He's not doing them up to sell he's just had them till they broke, left them on his drive and bought a new one. Twice now. Can I report him or have anything done about it as I want to put my house up for sale and it's un slightly especially as one has been there over 3 years and has moss all over it.

Our Response:
You could try your environmental health department if it's unsightly or messy. Otherwise a private/civil action might be worth considering if it's affecting your lifestyle etc.
ProblemNeighbours - 29-Mar-17 @ 12:12 PM
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