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Complaints about neighbours

Don’t let problems with a neighbour get out of hand – try talking to them before considering other options.

Talk to your neighbour

Your first step should be to try to meet informally with your neighbour to discuss the problem.

You should try to do this in a neutral venue. Agree that you can bring a friend or adviser with you if needed and make a note of what is discussed.

Consider mediation

Mediation involves getting someone who is not involved in the dispute to help you reach an agreement. You and your neighbour both have to agree to take part.

Use the Ministry of Justice search to find a civil mediator.

You can also contact a local adviser for more information about professional mediation.

Use Shelter’s directory to find your nearest advice centre

Complain to your neighbour’s landlord

Private landlords

If your neighbour rents their property you could complain to their landlord or letting agent.

The landlord may be able to help deal with antisocial behaviour or resolve disputes over communal areas.

Councils and housing associations

Council or housing association landlords usually have a formal complaints procedure that can be used.

You may be offered a free mediation service if you complain to a council or housing association.

If you and your neighbour share a council or housing association landlord you can take your complaint to the Housing Ombudsman Service. The ombudsman will look into your complaint only after you have tried the council or housing association’s complaints procedure.

Report noise nuisance to your council

The council should investigate complaints of noise nuisance, such as loud music or barking dogs.

If noise from a neighbour is a nuisance or is affecting your health, the council can have an order for them to stop served. Whatever is making the noise could even be seized or your neighbour prosecuted.

A court may also grant you or your landlord an injunction, ordering a neighbour to limit the noise they make.

Read more from Citizens Advice about dealing with antisocial behaviour in your area.

Visit Gov.uk to report noise nuisance to your council.

Problems with hedges and trees

Hedges and trees can cause disputes if they grow over boundaries and it is unclear who is responsible for them.

Your home's general boundary is probably shown on a title plan held at the Land Registry.

If the exact boundary is not shown on the plan you can agree an exact boundary with your neighbour and register it at the Land Registry. This could include information on responsibility for things like fences, walls or hedges.

You can usually also complain to your council about a hedge that is over 2 metres high.

Find out more from Gov.uk about boundary disputes

Report a problem

  • Call the police if you think your neighbour is committing a crime or serious antisocial behaviour
  • Report problems with children to the NSPCC
  • Contact the RSPCA if you're worried about the way an animal is being treated

Last updated 01 Jan 2016 | © Shelter

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