What can you do if you are experiencing a dispute with your neighbour?

What can you do if you are experiencing a dispute with your neighbour?

Legal expert Anne Chambers provides you with tips to hopefully resolve the matter in a timely, cost-effective and reasonable fashion.

Unfortunately not every street is as pleasant as Ramsey Street and it is not uncommon for disputes among neighbours to arise. Nonetheless, they can be uncomfortable and frankly, annoying. But how should you deal with a dispute?

Neighbour Dispute Radio Interview

Legal Expert Anne Chambers discusses the do's and don'ts in this latest Legal Chat radio interview.

Below is a summary of the questions and answers from the above radio chat about neighbour disputes. Listen to the audio to get more information about each topic.

What are neighbour disputes?

Neighbour disputes have been around for ages (even as far back as 650 years BC). Common neighbour disputes are:

  • Noise
  • Loud music
  • Dogs barking
  • Boundaries and fences
  • Access to a neighbours land
  • Shared amenities
  • Unruly children
  • Ball games
  • Burglars
  • Car alarms
  • Parking spaces
  • Trees

What can you do about a neighbour dispute?

What you can do depends on the dispute.


It is advised that you try to informally resolve the situation with the neighbour before things get formal. Takes notes of what was discussed, the time, the date and where it was discussed in case you need evidence in the future.


You can use a mediator who will help lead the discussion between all parties in a neutral manner to try help resolve the situation.

Statutory Nuisances

What is a statutory nuisance?

A statutory nuisance is ‘an unlawful interference with a person’s use or enjoyment of land or some right over, or in connection with, it’. Loud music or barking dogs are examples of statutory nuisances.

What can you do about statutory nuisances?

You can complain to your local authority who have powers to deal with statutory nuisances.

Which councils are the quickest at responding to statutory nuisances?

It may be slightly quicker in London due to the amount of noises and people compared to local authority resources but all councils and all local authorities are required by law to have an environmental health department and environmental health officer and a machine that measures decibels.

What are the best tips to deal with a neighbour dispute?

  1. Setup a conversation with the neighbour during a time that is convenient with all parties
  2. Keep to the relevant issues
  3. Try and stay calm and don’t get angry
  4. Listen carefully and respectively
  5. Try and compromise with each other
  6. Prepare for the talk so that you have what you need to say ready

How do I deal with neighbour noise disputes?

Step 1. Ask the neighbour to reduce the noise ‘nicely’

Step 2. If they ignore your request and continue to make too much noise, keep a note of the disturbances which can be used for any further legal action

Step 3. The local environmental health officer can take away the device which is making the noise as the last resort, such as musical equipment

How do I deal with boundary and fence disputes?

Step 1. Look at your title documents or lease which can be acquired from the land registry.

Step 2. See a solicitor if there is clear evidence as boundaries can change over the years via agreement or encroachment.

How to deal with overhanging branch disputes

Step 1. Ask the neighbour to trim the branch back to the boundary line

Step 2. Trim it back yourself, but only so far as the boundary line


- Make sure the tree is not subject to a TPO (Tree Preservation Order)

- Overhanging branches can cause damage and the owner can be liable if a claim for damages is brought

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