Neighbour Dispute Solicitors
Neighbour disputes are famously stressful, bitter and sometimes deeply distressing. In an ideal world, we'd all share a cup of sugar, exchange pleasantries over the garden fence, and live in perfect harmony. But as we know, reality is very different and arguments with neighbours over noise, boundaries, gardens, and anti-social behaviour can quickly escalate to the extreme if left unresolved.
At Lawhive, our expert neighbour disputes solicitors and lawyers are on hand to help with a wide range of neighbour, property and land disputes including boundary disputes, noise complaints, privacy issues, and anti-social behaviour.
If you need help with a neighbour dispute, you can easily get help from our specialist neighbour dispute solicitor by telling us about your situation through our online enquiry form for an instant fixed-fee quote from our experienced neighbour dispute solicitors.
Resolving neighbour disputes: Your options
What should you do if your neighbour's overgrown hedge is casting a shadow over your sunny mornings, or next door’s dog won’t stop barking? Here, we’ll explore not just the problems but, more importantly, the solutions and answer:
What is a neighbour dispute?
A neighbour dispute is a disagreement between neighbours that can revolve around everything from noise levels to where your property begins and ends, access, trees and hedges, or even anti-social behaviour.
Neighbour disputes both large and small can certainly make life interesting, and not always in a good way. From minor annoyances like overhanging gutters or a tree that's getting a bit too friendly with your property to louder problems of noisy neighbours or constantly barking dogs, disputes between neighbours come in all shapes and sizes. But the one thing they have in common is the potential to cause stress and disrupt your peace.
How to resolve neighbour disputes
You have four options when it comes to addressing and resolving a neighbour dispute. You can:
Talk to your neighbour. Some neighbour disputes can be quickly resolved through a simple conversation. As soon as something like noise becomes an issue, it’s always best to approach your neighbour and politely make them aware of the problem, so they have an opportunity to put things right.
Contact your neighbour’s landlord (if they have one). If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your neighbour and they rent their property, you can contact their landlord and ask them to raise the issue with your neighbour.
Try mediation or arbitration. Talking things out with an impartial mediator as a referee can help both you and your neighbour take positive steps to resolve the situation without having to go to court.
Take legal action. This might be in the form of a complaint to the council, or seeking a court order or injunction.
How to handle neighbour disputes
Neighbour disputes can become unpleasant very quickly. What might start as a minor gripe can turn to all out war in the blink of an eye if it’s handled in the wrong way.
Below are some further do’s and don’ts to consider when seeking to resolve a neighbour dispute:
Keep a written log. Whenever you speak to your neighbour or something of significance happens, write down everything that happens, including what is said. Make notes on who was involved, what happened, the date and any other relevant information.
Remove yourself from a situation if things get heated. Try not to lose your temper or raise your voice. If you find yourself responding angrily, it is best to end the interaction before it escalates any further.
Contact your local council or police if your neighbour threatens you, harrasses you or is violent towards you.
Remember that you might have to disclose neighbour disputes if and when you come to sell your property in the future, therefore it’s best to seek a quick, calm solution that’s as amiable as possible.
Seek legal advice from a neighbour dispute solicitor. They can make sure any action you do take is in your best interests and doesn’t leave you vulnerable to counter action.
Approach your neighbour if it's not safe. Especially if they have threatened, harassed or acted violently towards you.
Threaten, harass or act violently towards your neighbour. This includes both face to face or in writing.
Resort to retaliation (for example, by playing loud music at unreasonable hours). This kind of behaviour could be used against you.
Common neighbour disputes
Type of Neighbour Dispute
Access to neighbouring land
If you go on your neighbour’s land without permission, it is trespassing. However, there may be times where you need to do this to repair your property. If a neighbour refuses access, it is possible to get an order from the court to give you access to carry out ‘basic preservation works’.
Anti-social behaviour in relation to neighbour disputes can include making lots of noise that disturbs your peace and quiet, sending threatening messages, activating aggressively, vandalism and nuisance pets.
Disagreement or confusion about where the line is that separates two properties. A boundary dispute can come about if boundaries are unclear or one person asserts ownership over a piece of land which is owned by their neighbour.
Disagreement or confusion about who owns a fence and who is responsible for maintaining/repairing it. These types of neighbour disputes can also come about if one party wants to change the height or appearance of a fence, but the other disagrees.
A landowner fails to treat a Japanese knotweed infestation on their property and it transfers to another property or its growth impacts another property.
Noise can be a problem if it stops neighbours from enjoying their property or impacts their health.
Disagreements can arise if one neighbour feels that another is blocking access to a property or driveway, parking outside a neighbour’s property, or using a neighbour’s parking space without permission.
Party wall act disputes
Renovations might affect a party wall or boundary or changes to a building can cause an issue with party walls. Frequent party wall disputes include neighbours objecting to renovations involving party walls and party wall injunctions.
Common land disputes include disagreements over the use of land, covenants, and applications for adverse possession.
Damages and repairs
Neighbour disputes can arise if: a neighbour causes damage to a person's home (intentional or accidental), a neighbour’s home is rundown or in a state of disrepair, or neighbours can’t agree on who is responsible for repairs and/or maintenance of a shared space.
Right of Way disputes
Disagreement or confusion around excessive use of or failure to maintain/repair a right of way.
Tree or hedge disputes
Disagreements around whether or not a hedge is too high or when a neighbour can trim hedges or trees on a neighbour’s property.
Smells and odours
Complains about smells that interfere with the use of enjoyment of a home or have the potential to injure health.
The above list is not exhaustive. Indeed, there are many reasons why you might find yourself in a bitter dispute with your neighbour. While it’s always advisable to speak with your neighbour in the first instance to find a solution, sometimes matters escalate in such a way that both parties may need support in reaching a resolution.
If that is the case you require advice on your next steps, speak to a specialist neighbourhood solicitor. You can get a fixed fee quote and find the best solicitor for your case by telling us about your case through our online enquiry form.
What to do if you fall out with your neighbour
If you fall out with your neighbour, it’s important to try and resolve the issue quickly to avoid it escalating. Neighbour disputes can be expensive and drag on for a long time if they are left to fester.
Clear, calm communication is the best course of action as a first port of call. If this doesn’t work, you may have to consider other avenues like mediation, but in general extreme legal action should be a last resort.
If you do speak to your neighbour and it doesn’t resolve the problem, it is wise to keep a log of all incidents, as this may be useful if your neighbour dispute does go to court.
Do I need a solicitor for my neighbour dispute or claim?
You might be wondering if your disagreement with your neighbour is serious enough to need a solicitor’s involvement.
If you have tried to talk to your neighbour about the problem but it persists then it’s probably a good idea to find a solicitor who can help you understand what your options are. Involving a neighbour dispute lawyer doesn’t mean you will have to go to court. Often, they can provide legal advice and tell you what your next steps are, help you access mediation, or even support you in creating a complaint letter to send to your neighbour.
Should I call the police on my neighbour?
You should call the police using 999 right away if you feel you are in immediate danger from your neighbour or you have been physically assaulted by your neighbour.
If your neighbour is harassing or intimidating you, but you’re not in immediate danger, it might be necessary to involve the police by making a report to your local police station.
In some neighbour disputes, it’s not appropriate to call the police at all. Instead the situation should be addressed by other means, such as making a complaint to the council or getting legal advice.
Generally, it is only advisable to contact the police if a criminal offence has been committed.
Get help from our neighbour dispute lawyers
At Lawhive, our neighbour dispute solicitors and lawyers are on hand to guide and support you with the problem you’re experiencing. If you find yourself in a position where a dispute with your neighbour is getting worse, tell us about your case via our online form and we will give you an instant fixed-fee quote for your situation and connect you with the very best solicitor to deal with your case.