Common neighbour disputes and how to handle them
Neighbour disputes are sadly, not uncommon and in many cases, such disputes can escalate into lengthy and costly legal proceedings. However, it is always in all party’s best interests to resolve such disputes quickly and remain as amicable as possible, due to the close proximity of both parties.
In this article, we share some of the most common neighbour disputes clients come to us for assistance with and provide some advice on how to resolve matters as amicably as possible, so everyone can move forward without losing the enjoyment of their homes.
What are the most common neighbour disputes?
In the world of property litigation, we have seen and helped people overcome many cases of neighbour disputes and whilst there are lots to uncover, here are just two of the most common.
- Nuisance disputes
Cases of private nuisance often cause inconvenience and distress to those living near and by it. Examples include; loud and continuous noise coming from a neighbour and their house, excessive light pollution and foul odours.
- Boundary disputes
This is a disagreement between two or more houses over who has possession, control and rights to the boundaries between the properties. Boundary dispute examples could be an argument over who owns the fence, hedge, tree or walls.
How to resolve them
If you have found yourself in one of the situations above and are struggling to know the best way forward, we’ve put together a few hints and tips to start resolving the issues with your neighbours.
Firstly, let’s talk about noisy neighbours.
Whilst people have the right to make a little noise in their homes and gardens, it becomes a problem when it’s constant or prominently between the hours of 11pm and 7am. So if your neighbour is consistently having loud parties into the early hours or has a pet that is disrupting your sleep, it might be time to do something about it.
And that doesn’t always necessarily mean jumping the gun and taking legal action straight away.
Before heading straight to formal proceedings, our advice would be to go round and have a chat with your neighbour. There’s no doubt that having disruptive neighbours can be stressful but give them the benefit of the doubt first to mitigate the risk of causing bad blood. They might not realise how loud they are and they may listen and break their habits right away.
If your face-to-face chat doesn’t seem to change anything, complain to your local Council. The Council will step in and try to stop the noise by issuing a warning to the offenders if they feel that the noise is unreasonable.
However, this can be a lengthy process and can cause some unwanted tension between you and your neighbour in the meantime, whilst also not getting anywhere.
At this point, we’d recommend seeking professional legal advice to help you find ways to reach an appropriate solution quickly, whilst minimising the risk of taking a claim to court.
Find out more about how we can help your neighbour dispute resolution here.
When it comes to determining who owns a certain boundary between properties, things can become acrimonious, especially because it is often unclear where a boundary lies.
The key is to try and be civil about the dispute to avoid matters becoming personal and try to find proof of where the boundary actually is. The obvious choice for people is to seek out the land registry title plans but this often doesn’t provide all the information required. We would recommend looking at the pre-registration deeds for the details of the transfer of land, which can provide the information to prove your case.
It’s important in these cases for you and the other party to be transparent about the documents and the information that is found.
If the deeds don’t establish who has possession over the boundaries, it may be worth considering getting a chartered land surveyor to help out at this point.
The costs of resolving a boundary dispute in many cases, can actually be more than the land is worth so, we always recommend seeking legal advice to understand your position and to resolve the issue quickly and effectively.
Written by Jonathan Cass