Find out the most common reasons why neighbours fall out and how to resolve the problem if you find yourself having your own dispute for any of these four reasons.
Neighbour disputes happen all the time, but there are four gripes that tend to be more likely to cause an issue in the neighbourhood than anything else.
- Fence issues
- Noise complaints
- Poor parking
- House extension work
If you want to avoid having these kinds of disputes yourself, or you’re in the middle of one yourself, the following information will hopefully help you keep harmony with your neighbours.
1. Fence Issues
It is really important to chat to your neighbour before you do anything to your fence because you are usually only responsible for the fence on one side. If you do fix a fence or put a fence up and you do it in the wrong place, this could cause massive boundary issues. You could also be causing an issue if you change a fence that isn’t rightfully yours to change. There can also be problems with the height of a fence, with some restrictions being in place to prevent fences of a certain height being erected. The best thing to do is chat to your neighbour before you do anything at all with a fence to establish responsibility and agree to any work before it is done. It is much easier to solve a problem before work is done, than having to go through legal systems afterwards.
2. Noise Complaints
Noise complaints can be really problematic, especially if you have very young kids, or vulnerable adults in your property. Where possible do speak to your neighbours to try and help rectify the issue. Tread softly with this so as not to cause friction, and see if you can work something out. If you can’t, you can approach the council to see if the noise issues are what is called a ‘Statutory Nuisance’ in which case more can be done legally.
3. Poor Parking
Poor parking can be irritating but is usually something that can be resolved with a chat. Maybe the neighbour didn’t realise where the boundary line was, or assumed you were out and didn’t need access to the drive. It’s tricky, but most people are happy to sort something out so there’s no friction. If the problem does continue you’re unlikely to get any help from the Police because the Highways Code only asks you not to obstruct people and vehicles, but it isn’t law unless in very specific circumstances. So, getting this problem sorted out with a chat is definitely a much better idea than trying to go down a legal route.
4. House Extension Work
House extension work, or really, any building work on a property can cause tensions with a neighbour. This could be because of noise from the building work being done, or from the builders themselves. It could be construction mess going onto surrounding properties – you have all your things in affordable self storage but they didn’t expect dust in their garden. They could be upset by shared access being used by builders and more.
With this kind of issue, working with your neighbours is key. Stick to all legal rules on when work can be done, make sure there is no excess impact on neighbouring properties and most importantly – make sure work done is legal and falls under necessary legislation like the Party Wall Act. You may also want to offer them compensation towards affordable self storage for the items in their garden, perhaps offer to clean up any undue mess that ends up on their property, and keep them in the loop about the progress of the build.
The more you can do to anticipate how the extension could impact on your neighbours in any way at all, the more able you are to avoid the problem and avoid a dispute.
With all four of the most common reasons for neighbourly disputes the best thing to do is always try and prevent the issue, and/ or speak with your neighbours to make sure that communication is maintained. The more prevention and communication is prioritised, the more likely you are to avoid a problem and if there is a problem, to avoid it escalating. Your home is the place that you love the most, so it makes sense to ensure you stay on good terms with your neighbours wherever possible.