There are some really simple things you can do to show your neighbours that you want to get on with them. If you follow these tips, your neighbours may be less likely to complain about you.
If a problem ever does arise, your neighbours are more likely to talk to you about it if you have established a good relationship with them in the first place.
If you have just moved into a new neighbourhood, make a point of introducing yourself to your new neighbours. Be friendly and say 'hello' when you see them. This will show them that you are open and approachable. That way, if they have a problem with something you are doing, they are far more likely to tell you what's bothering them rather than reporting it to the council or the police. Problems or misunderstanding are more likely to be resolved at an early stage if you get on well with your neighbours.
Neighbourhood Disputes Are Common and it is always advisable to try the softly, softly approach first, instead of going in all guns blazing. Don’t approach a problem when you’ve had no sleep due to yours neighbours partying, or you’ve just found beer bottles thrown over your fence into your back garden.
Ask the offending neighbour if you can have a quiet word with them, and try to stay friendly. They may not have realised that you could hear so much, or that unruly children have been making a pest of themselves. Give them the benefit of the doubt and see if you can resolve any niggling issues without any bad feeling.
If you feel intimidated by your neighbour, you could always try writing a letter, rather than speaking to them face to face. Of course, some bad neighbours just don’t care what they do, and in this case you probably don’t want to inflame the situation, so you might want to try another tactic to deal with the problems. Don’t suffer in silence – there are avenues to go down for help.
Because problem neighbours are sadly a fact of life in many towns, there are dedicated Neighbour Conciliation and Mediation services now on offer, which aim to try toMediate Between Neighbours who can’t reach an amicable solution to their issues.
You should be able to find your local service through your local council website or helpline.
Once things have escalated to the point where you can’t resolve a dispute amicably, you need to start keeping evidence of why the neighbour’s behaviour is bad enough to warrant further action or mediation.
Make a note of every incident that bothers you – noise, mess, anti-social behaviour, and anything you think that should be included. Photographs, video, anything that proves your case will be useful – but be careful taking pictures of people as this could inflame the situation if you’re caught! If you write any letters, keep copies.
Your first port of call is to Contact The Environmental Health Department of your local council. They will have policies and procedures in place to help you deal with problem neighbours, so ask what they are and whether you can see them.
You need to ask them if they will get involved on your behalf, and what you need to do to start action – all councils have slightly different ways of approaching the issue but they will all have some guidelines.
Some house insurance policies include free legal advice services. so check your own policies to see whether you have access to any of these. They might be able to give you some good advice on the next steps if council intervention is getting you nowhere.
It might also be worthwhile trying to get a fixed fee legal appointment with a local solicitor, to see if they can help you by writing a letter to your neighbour. This is a last resort though – legal letters do have a way of inflaming already tense situations. Don’t start legal action unless you really have exhausted all other options.
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