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When to Consider Legal Action

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 8 Mar 2022 | 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.

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I have (nephew) stays at home w/me and my sis,I help my sis w/bills,and rent and food. Nephew always getting high on meth everyday. He He steals everything I own,sis dosen't do anything. Am at were I don't speak to him. But he's spreading rumor's and lie's. Calling me scammer, And local gov,sent him check in mail,and he said,I stole it. Cause of covid 19,I don't want rent,cause it's dangeous, Next option is buying gun.
Pepe - 3-Jul-21 @ 9:26 PM
The hardset part is dealing with people who cry disability but who aren't actual disabled (like mentally vulnerable on benefits). They use this as a free card and make you dance to their tune when you try confront them. If you try defend your stance, it could "upset" them which they can word as you attacked them. I have such a neighbor who smokes all day, plays soccer in the garden, but is on benefits due to being "vulnerable". Yet, she rips out plants from common property, talks loud on her phone about what "she will do to the neighbors (us)" etc. Just want to send them off to their own island.
Johann - 30-May-21 @ 5:03 PM
Nobody should be suggesting you speak to your neighbours. This is really irresponsible and stupid. Especially for most people who make noise on purpose or are so stupid they don't realise. Send them a letter saying to stop or you'll take legal action and may phone the police if it happens again, and that should be it. And I wouldn't even bother using the police and council (UK). Go straight to civil action unless you want a 2 year fight and false allegations etc.
VictimOf - 13-Dec-20 @ 12:14 AM
As the owner of a flat in a block with a share in the freehold, what rights do I have? We have a "board" who make all the decisions and a management company who implements them. The only correspondence we have with either is the service charge demands. Do I have any right to have a say in anything that affects the block?Should there be a vote on decorative embellishments to the building? Can you suggest anywhere I can go to get advice that is not too expensive, not the Citizens Advice Bureau as they are so busy is virtually impossible to get an appointment
lala - 2-Nov-20 @ 10:39 PM
Iv been subjected to unusual frequencies and an idling generator for over 5 years on a daily worse at night basis EH had been involved still isn't now the nieghbours have muffled the noise and vibrations..torture is all I can describe on a 24/7 basis at the end of my tether as the authorities excuse the activities of the nieghbours stating the noise could be coming from anywhere it's a cop out and negligence but hay this is Cornwall where not alot gets done shocking
Redwhale - 12-Oct-20 @ 8:23 PM
Trying to buy ground floor flat. offer accepted but person who owns flatabove wants chimney to come down. Roofers find nothing wrongwith chimney and she refuses to let other people examine it. Shehas an Abatement out with Council. The seller accepted our offer a year agobut we cannotdo anything till this is resolved.
jimbo - 15-Jul-20 @ 11:13 AM
Well people iv had enough of my next door neighbour, load music every day for the past 11 years . They have damage my property. 5 years ago I had to get the council out due to cigarette ends in my garden. Doing recordings for the council but this as been months and not a thing done.I am not paying my council tax and I don’t care what they do . Where are my rights to live my quiet life. If council don’t do anything I’m going to take her to court due to the fact I can’t even sale my house because of her. I really think we good people need to stand together and fight for what’s right..
Easytiger - 25-Jun-20 @ 3:49 PM
After a month of broken sleep I had to go to doctors as I had a constant headache and could not get to sleep. I was put on sleeping tablets. I spoke to my neighbour and he agreed to take the bird elsewhere overnight and bring it back during the day. This arrangement worked well until I had to start shielding in mid March. From 10am till as late as 8pm there was no let up. Sometimes crowing four to five times a minute with no let up. Even with doors and windows shut it invaded every room. As the weather got hotter it was unbearable in my house. Finally we fell out over it and after four months from when it first started I complained to Environmental Health. I had to keep a diary of noise for two weeks. When they got it back they said it was a intrusion and basically he was told by them to take active measures to reduce the problems. For first week it was better but as time has gone on it’s pretty much back where we were. I contacted Environmental Health yesterday but the case worker dealing with it hasn’t got back to me yet. We have now recorded a complaint with the Housing Association. So far it would appear that they do not allow tenants to keep cockerels on their properties.Three weeks on still have the noise, feel a prisoner in my own home and don’t know what else to do.
2.8 Injection - 18-Jun-20 @ 12:26 PM
I am in the unlucky position of being at loggerheads with both my neighbours. Only in last few months has it turned nasty. Because of covid situation authorities have done very little. I have underlying health conditions so have been shielding for over three months at time of writing this email, and have been trapped in my home. I have lived in this home for 30 years and it’s been good. Majority of people who were here when moved in have either moved away or passed away. Neighbourhood attitudes seem to change too, as not many people socialise here any more. I don’t have a problem with that as all my friends are elsewhere and see them regularly. So to start, my home is owned by a housing association. The neighbour on one side own their home and moved in about 12 years ago. She quickly was recognised as being a busybody and into everyone’s business. Consequently no one local bothers with them. We kept them on friendly terms purely because didn’t have any problems with them. 5 years ago they got planning permission for an extension. Progress is slow because they are doing the work themselves. This is not the problem. They have planted a hedge on the roadside which has never been trimmed. It is making visibility getting off my drive extremely difficult. The hedge is restricting the footpath by 50% and is about 30 feet high, out of keeping with everywhere else. I asked them to trim it back so I can see to get off my drive some 4 years ago but it never happened. Someone has complained to the county council, and they have been told to trim it back or they will have action taken against them. They thought incorrectly it was me and hostilities began. The problem I do have with them and which I have as a consequence made a complaint are trees and shrubs they have planted on the border between us. I have 3 cars on my drive which get very sticky from sap from one of their shrubs, the other drops scratchy deposits. One of the trees is right up against the fence and post pushing it towards one of my cars on my drive. The root from this is pushing up on my side. In summer this tree (wild cherry) drops its red fruit all over the same car. Birds are attracted to the fruit so bird droppings also a problem. The tree is as high now as our house. I had to have our satellite dish moved because it blocked the signal. The amount of leaves this tree sheds in winter is shocking. They have totally refused to do anything despite costs and damage that I am starting to get. Housing Association knew about this four months ago and so far nothing has happened. The second problem is with neighbour the other side of me who is also Housing Association. He has kept chickens for years with no problems. Just before last Christmas he got a cockerel. This was regularly waking me at 5am and sometimes as early as 2:30am. At the time he tried several means to rectify it but non worked. After a month of broken sleep I had to go to doctors as I had a constant headache and could not get to sl
2.8 Injection - 18-Jun-20 @ 12:18 PM
I have neighbour that suffers from severe mental health problems. I have over the years complained about him to the housing association environmental health. And the police but still nothing has been done? What more can I do the guy is having a detrimental effect on my health. Any advice would be wellcome.
Barney - 22-Apr-20 @ 7:07 PM
I’ve rented house I’m in 8yrs, any jobs required doing always carried out myself ( much easier/ less hassle). However the damp mould woodworms leaking roof ( there’s lots more). I contacted landlord phone calls emails went to his home ( he lives around the corner ) showed him photos this went on for months. Ended up getting EHOs (nov 19th had his notice) start date 4th Jan completed by jan 30. Since nov 19 till today 25th feb it’s been 100 days and guess whatabsolutely nothing I’m at end off belief now feel so so isolated do I take him to court my possessions carpets clothes fridge freezer exc all ruined house is freezing . Don’t owe any rent always on time £560.00 . Any advise would be most appreciated. I’m writing notes and taking photos of everything now ( taken over my life hate it ) Doctors I think then court proceedings. If you want tosay anything in private I’ll forward my details Thank you for reading through hope it make sense
Viking - 25-Feb-20 @ 11:08 PM
my neighbour moved in December last year i have not spoken to him at all so in the summer he come out do you speak? and who says you can cut the hedge? also who says you can have that Topiary dog on there, the one i was cutting, i have Topiary front and back it is good for my depression, i ignored him then he said i am not your mate then threatened to put me on my arse, i was in a good mood as well, he is still trying to talk to me i cannot stand him, he is ex army and thinks hes the man, i have contacted the police, nothing has come of it, my dad started me of with the Topiary i lost him to cancer and this guy could not lace his boots, he lives on his own and no one visits him,and his garden has weeds more weeds and litter.
maz - 30-Sep-19 @ 11:26 PM
Hate it we’re im living and need out asap
Vik - 25-Aug-19 @ 1:32 AM
We have lived at our property for 19 years. I found my neighbour dead on Jan 29 last year. The new landlord put 2 Asian men in no furniture or food. Then they did a flit. The other men moved in turned it into a cannabis factorty. So from May this year till June 9 weeks scared to leave the property as they had access to the loft. Finally got busted. But I suffer depression and anxiety panic attacks and phsoratic arthritis. This made me so ill I coukd not sleep hubby worried about leaving me now the landlord redoing the house and I don't want to live here anymore. Can I claim stress on this horrible money greedy liaring landlord. Thank you any advice would be much appreciated.
Hueycat - 14-Aug-19 @ 10:59 AM
We just moved in to this nice house in this nice neighborhood and immediately learned the house next door is a crack house , full of squatters. A generator running all the time. Now we are stressed because this is not what we expected. All the other neighbors consider this a problem also . dont we have rights ? A right to peace and quiet . A right to know if we leave something outside it wont be stolen ? A right to know our kids are safe to play out side ? What about legal tenant rights
Gift card recipient - 6-Aug-19 @ 5:56 PM
i live on a lovely street , with great long time neighbours . One side of the street is elevated with semi’s and the other has detached bungalows , which are lower than the street - we live in one of the detached bungalows ( for 35 years) For around 2 years we have had to endure a neighbour who lives across the road changing his driving habits and reversing his people carrier into a one car space in front of his house ( with only room between his house and pavement for one car ) . Our house being lower than the road , has a large lounge window facing directly onto the street , so that as we sit in the lounge the neighbours car is framed fully by our window . The effect is that when he comes home , he drives past his drive , the neighbours drive facing us , past our drive - stopping infront of our window '!! Our view is the mum & dad & 3 kids sat looking into our lounge - very private ! This can happen up to 6 times a day ! When they go out at night ( on a regular basis) on returning home we get their head lights directly in our faces ...even when we have quests .The main culprit ,the father, was ( until around 2 months ago a a director of a company) and always acts in a very super-silly-arse demeaning way .....recently he was made redundant , but the attitude remains . I approached him very pleasantly when it initially started with the headlights , he said he would condescendingly consider it - guess what nothing has change ! I am running out of aways of dealing with him to the point it is really effecting my health as we have done nothing to deserve this disrespect ! Please , please help !!!!
Steve - 25-Jul-19 @ 8:55 PM
My uncle trying to kick me off my land and is coming over every day and stalking and harrastinh me
Butcher76 - 8-Jun-19 @ 12:06 AM
My neighbour has been cultivating cannabis in their flat and ventilating the stink air this creates in to my flat. I have told the Housing Association several times. This ventilation happens at all times of the day or night. In winter when temperatures are low and windows are shut is the worse. In addition, my neighbours have preempted me complaining about their activity by making false malicious complaints against me. Other neighbours have told me '...they want you out...'. I have been homeless, moved several times while homeless. I do not want to move. Any suggestions of how to remedy this situation would be appreciated
Ena2019 - 28-May-19 @ 4:55 PM
My neighbours are antisocial, they are asking for trouble.My son is getting “ so called paid to clean the wheelie bin, dog foulings, garden sheds, even asked to steal garden fences, the next door 3 and 5 are not taking care of their garden fences, and doing nothing else but sitting on their bottom and not even taken my words for serious. Instead they paying my son with alcohol etc and laughing me in my face.My late husbands tools are missing because the neighbours do want their houses decorated, power tools paint brushes etc, lawnmowers. Apparently my son does like that. I’m widowed.
Baum - 6-May-19 @ 1:41 AM
My neighbor cut me off from his septic tank. I bought my house a year ago and the neighbour had an agreement with previous owner to allow drainin to his septic tank only if the property is used as a doctor surgery. This was in operation for thirty years. Now the building no longer à surgery and it is being converted to residential property but the neighbour would not allow me to connect to his tank. My property has no land to put a tank in it and has no other mean of doing so, except connecting to the Neibour’s.. negotiations failed. Can I take the matter to the court ??
Jay - 20-Jan-19 @ 9:12 AM
For the last 6 months the house next door has been rented out to group that re-habilitates ex-convicts. We’ve had 6 months of hell. They bang around at all hours, play music loud at all hours, most of them are on drugs. They’re made to read the bible. This doesn’t help them. Most of them get bored and just go back to crime. We’ve harassed, had these people knocking on our door at all hours, many times a day. The current guy is the worst. He does drugs, plays loud music all the time, leaves the lights on 24/7, inside and 2 really bright outside lights. Tried talking to the landlady and the owner. Apparently they’ve been in touch with the probation worker, who has done nothing, neither have the police, in spite of the fact that this guy was walking down the street with garden shears, whilst high as a kite the other day and also I suspect he’s the one who broke into a neighbours shed the other night and tried to sleep in there like a tramp. He also has this woman sleep over sometimes and they just argue all the time. She is a right state too. Saw them walking around from the neighbours, like they’d been trying to get in to their garden, but couldn’t see for definite. These people keep getting dumped next to is. The landlady and the owner are the ones making money out of our misery. So sick of it. In that time I’ve also had a miscarriage. Which is probably due to the stress. It’s a wonder I haven’t ended it. But it is very difficult to go on.
ShazT - 14-Nov-18 @ 7:55 AM
My neighbor dog parking in night time it doesn’t let to get sleeping
Ahmadi - 11-Nov-18 @ 1:07 PM
I'm a lady that lives alone with my cat! I had too leave my last flat due too being badly abused by neighbour whom at the time resided underneath. At the beginning I thought the Housing Association were so supportive, little did I know when I moved away from the ill woman that I was moving into a flat where for the past two years I've done nothing but ask for Help from the Housing Association & the police. Each time I've been left to be put through HELL by a woman whom has gone out of her way too try & get an injunction which she did with her dirty lies. Her & the housing association got together made up lies & put me in court which has left me suicidal. I have lived alone for many years & I do consider myself a good tenant whom doesn't go out my way too abuse Anyone yet I have been harassed by a woman from the Housing Association as well as putting up with neighbour abuse constant listening at our wall's which are paper thin! As I'm typing this she is upstairs banging down abusing me yet it's me that was served with a section 8 & a injunction order against me. Wow! How I am getting through this I will never know! I am good person who doesn't deserve this & I'm not leaving this as it's me that could lose this property & have nowhere too Go. The Housing Association, The Police & The Neighbour Are a Disgrace for putting me through this. I rang the Police today & got told there is only one phone call i made too the police when in fact it's been over a period of two years I've been ringing the Police for Help & each time ive been left. I assume I'm up in court soon too put my side too the Judge as Somebody needs too listen too the Truth & not the Lies made up by Neighbour & Housing Association. I feel there is NO Justice in this world. This has had a massive impact on my mental & physical health but I am not leaving this! I do feel & understand for others going through the same thing & remember Don't Give Up & fight for Justice!!!
Maria - 6-Oct-18 @ 3:48 PM
Since I moved into my private let there has been one thing after another .Anyway at moment there r holes in living room n kitchen area and bathroom also on the only room in the house .The flat is ground floor in an old sand stone building so its mould and mildew in cupboards,wardrobe,n drawers that is my only storage for clothing ,bedding etc... The mould is that bad it keeps ruining my clothes as the mold does not come out after washing.now I have an infestation of mice and have put up with it for almost a month now.Plz tell me there's something I can do as I've tried traps n rat n mice bate I cannot sleep in bed as they r even in the new bed and I'm forced to fold over all my quilts on sofa n sleep while I feel them knawing through the foam .I am on ESA due to anxiety n I can't handle it anymore
Tracey - 17-Jun-18 @ 8:29 AM
My neighbours who have been nightmare for years most recently left an envelope on my doorstep saying hi love on it and containing used toilet paper. I have two witnesses but without proof who left it there. So frustrating.
Nat - 2-Jun-18 @ 12:28 AM
I have nocturnal neighbours that are up and down every nightseven days a week 365 days a year. They go to bed around 04.30 every morning; they don’t play music but they do their daily life at night-the council gave them a warning but they said they won’t take any further action because it is “normal daily living noises” , we haven’t had a night sleep since November but they sleep every morning while we are at work. What can we do?
Had enough - 20-May-18 @ 7:51 AM
Jenny - Your Question:
We are building a new property at the end of a shared drive, which we own but the other 2 properties have access over the drive and shared responsibility to maintain. The drive has been in a poor state for many years. But one of the neighbours is now accusing us of causing the damage and threatening to sue us unless we install a new drive! Complete cobblers but what is our best course of action to protect us from legal action?

Our Response:
Document all the work you've undertakenin the course of building the new property and how many times the drive has been crossed by work vans etc during the build. This should help prove/disprove the impact of your building work on the drive itself.
ProblemNeighbours - 8-Nov-17 @ 2:08 PM
We are building a new property at the end of a shared drive, which we own but the other 2 properties have access over the drive and shared responsibility to maintain. The drive has been in a poor state for many years. But one of the neighbours is now accusing us of causing the damage and threatening to sue us unless we install a new drive! Complete cobblers but what is our best course of action to protect us from legal action?
Jenny - 7-Nov-17 @ 6:07 PM
Our neighbors are constantly smoking cannabis in their garden and inside (we live in a terraced house) which means all the smoke is coming inside of our house. We can't go in the garden when they do (and this is couple of times a day) because the smell is so strong and it gets me. Also we have friend visiting us with small kids which don't want to come any more because nobody wants their kids to be exposed to that. We are also trying for a baby and I don't want to be breathing that. We have tried on so many occasions to tell them to go somewhere else to smoke as coming to our house and garden - in the beginning they will stop for a day or two and start again, but now is "yes, ok we will not do it again here" and in about an hour or two they are smoking again. Can we do something or we have to sell the house and move? (the house they are living is a council house)
dz - 7-Jul-17 @ 12:48 AM
Hi every single morning from about 7 oclock to 9 my next door neighbours dog is shut out in the garden and is constantly barking. I have not been able to sleep past 7 for about 2 years now and i am really starting to lose my patience. Is there a time frame that noise complaints like this is deemed illegal. I know there is if its too late at night just wondering if there a cut off time in the morning also. Just wanted to point that outto them before reporting to whatever authourity is necessary. I can understand a dog barking at times but because its locked out in the garden barking to be let back in all the time its not the dogs fault its the owners. Thanks in advance.
James - 9-May-17 @ 8:05 AM
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