Complaints about neighbours

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

Talk to your neighbour

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

You could 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 you discuss.

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. Some landlords will even take steps to evict their tenant if they are behaving antisocially.

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.

Different types of mediation service are available depending on your circumstances.

In some cases, your council or housing association may offer free mediation if you make a complaint about a problem you’re having with a neighbour.

Sometimes you have to pay for mediation but this can still be cheaper than taking legal action to resolve a dispute. 

You can  search for a civil mediator in your area on the Ministry of Justice website.

Complain to the council

Noise and littering

The council should investigate complaints of environmental nuisance, such as loud music or littering.

If the problem is affecting your health the council can serve an order for your neighbour to stop. In certain cases, the council could seize property or have your neighbour prosecuted.

A court may also grant you or your landlord an injunction ordering a neighbour to change their behaviour.

Visit to report noise nuisance to your council.

Problems with hedges, trees and boundaries

You can complain to your council about a hedge that is more than 2 metres high.

If the hedge is causing a nuisance, the council may serve an order on your neighbour for the problem to be sorted or do maintenance work.

The council will usually want to see proof that negotiation between neighbours has failed before intervening. It can also charge the hedge owner for any work carried out.

Overhanging trees can be cut back to the border between you if the tree’s owner has refused to do it themselves.

Your council can also take action over a tree that could cause damage to property.

Title plans record land boundaries, allowing you to see whose property hedges and trees are on.

Check these at the Land Registry if you’re a homeowner or ask your landlord to do it if you rent.

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

Find out more from about boundary disputes

Antisocial behaviour

You can contact the police or your local council about antisocial behaviour. Or you can contact a housing association if the perpetrator is their tenant.

They all have powers to order someone to stop behaviour that causes alarm, distress or harassment to others.

It might support your case if you keep a diary recording instances of the behaviour or take photos or video.

If your neighbour is being violent towards you or threatening you with violence, contact the police.

Make a further complaint

If you are unhappy with action taken by a council or housing association landlord to resolve a complaint you made, they will have a formal procedure you can use to take things further.

Read more about complaining to:

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’ve tried the council or housing association’s complaints procedure.

When no action has been taken after you’ve complained to the police, the council or a housing association, you can ask them for a review.

This is called the community trigger. It’s usually used when more than 3 complaints about antisocial behaviour have been made over 6 months.

Last updated 05 Sep 2017 | © Shelter

If you need to talk to someone, we’ll do our best to help

Get help

Email a link to this article

Thank you - your message has been sent.

Sorry! - your message has not been sent this time.

Was this advice helpful?

Thank you - your feedback has been submitted to the team.

Sorry! - your message has not been sent this time.