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Disputes and Litigation

Neighbour Disputes / Antisocial Behaviour

Falling out with neighbours can be particularly difficult because the issues are right outside your door. If you find yourself in an unpleasant situation, our neighbour dispute solicitors can help try to reach an amicable solution.

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Types of neighbour disputes

Issues with a neighbour can escalate quickly. The most common disputes and what you can do to resolve them in the first instance.

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The first step is to talk to your neighbour, especially if the noise is a one-off (late night party, for example). It is possible your neighbour did not realise how their noise affected you.

Night hours are 11 pm to 7 am, and excessive noise during these hours is not permitted by law. You can contact your local council when a loud noise is not a one-off and is a regular problem. Keep a diary of each disturbance and when it happens, as this can be used as evidence. The Council can issue your neighbour with a noise abatement notice.

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, unacceptable noise is defined as that which ‘unreasonably or substantially interferes with the use or enjoyment of a home or other premises’ or when it could ‘injure health or be likely to injure health’.

If the Council does not investigate your complaint, talk to our solicitors who can help you to resolve the situation.

You might have discovered your neighbour is going to rent out their property and turn it into a house of multiple occupation (HMO), or they are going to build an extension that will block your light.

The first step is to find out whether your neighbour has planning permission for these changes. You should have been informed if they have planning permission as part of the planning permission process.

It is best to talk to a solicitor before raising objections to planning permission. Disputing planning permission can take up a huge amount of time. At Davisons, our dispute solicitors will advise you whether you have valid grounds to oppose. We will help strengthen your argument, whereby your neighbour makes changes to their plans, or the Council rejects their application altogether.

If your neighbour does not have planning permission, report it to your local council. Similarly, if your neighbour does not abide by the specifications in their plans once the build starts, report it to the Council.

Disputes can arise over who is responsible for maintaining shared amenities like shared drains or a communal rooftop. As with all disputes with neighbours, the first step is to talk to them directly.

The lease or title deeds to your properties should clarify who owns what. Where ownership is unclear, our solicitors at Davisons can help to resolve the issue.

If your neighbour refuses to contribute towards the maintenance of a shared drain, contact your local Environmental Health Officers. They can issue a notice to all neighbours who should contribute towards the cost.

This includes anything from failing to maintain a wall to overgrown trees.

This is anything that causes you to feel uncomfortable or afraid in your own home.

If your neighbour is verbally or physically abusive towards you should call the police. If they are discriminating against you because of your race, religion, disability or sexual orientation, this may be classed as a hate crime under the law.

Anti-social behaviour covers a range of conduct such as abusive behaviour, noise nuisance, bullying, inconsiderate driving, dog fouling, vandalism and dumping rubbish.

Sometimes anti-social behaviour can be resolved by talking to a neighbour. However, if this is not possible or if talking has failed to resolve the issue, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible.

Neighbour dispute resolution

The first step to resolving a dispute with a neighbour is to talk to them if possible. Always keep a record of all communication between you.

If direct communication has not resolved the problem, our specialist solicitors can work with you to draft a ‘Letter before action’. This is a formal letter to your neighbour that details the problem and its impact on you.

The letter will propose solutions to the problem and how you would like the matter to be resolved. The letter will also communicate the consequences for your neighbour if they fail to respond within a given time frame.

Mediation is a faster, more cost-effective and amicable way to resolve a dispute with a neighbour than going to court. During mediation, both parties sit down together in the presence of a mediator, who facilitates discussions so a resolution may be reached.

Our solicitors at Davisons can support you through the Mediation process.

This should be a last resort as it can be costly and will likely cause a complete breakdown in your relationship with your neighbour.

Our solicitors at Davisons will do everything possible to help you to resolve your dispute out of court. However, if court action is necessary, we will build a strong case and support you through the process.

Do you need an injunction against a neighbour?

Under the Protection from Harassment Act 1987, we can apply to the court on your behalf for a Civil Injunction Order against your neighbour. We can do so if there is:

(a) violence, or threat of violence;

(b) abusive or insulting words or behaviour; or

(c) damage, or threat of damage, to property or belongings.

This conduct must have occurred on at least two occasions.

A civil injunction orders someone to stop a particular action. It can be used to prevent a range of anti-social behaviour.

Claiming compensation for a neighbour dispute

There are situations in which you can claim compensation for a dispute with a neighbour. If your neighbour causes damage to your property and they do not admit responsibility or their insurance company will not pay for damage, you may be able to apply to Court for compensation.

If your neighbour has been served an abatement order for excessive noise, you could be awarded compensation as the victim of ‘private nuisance’.

Where an injunction is served against a neighbour for harassment, the Court may award you compensation for the emotional and financial losses you have suffered.

Talk to our neighbour dispute solicitors

Our solicitors have successfully provided legal assistance for many clients helping to resolve disputes with their neighbours.

Have any questions or need any help?

Our team of specialist lawyers are experts in their field. Be confident in their advice and decisions to help get the right outcome for you. Contact us today to see how we can help