How to deal with difficult neighbours
When dealing with difficult neighbours it can be extremely stressful just trying to work out how to handle the situation. This guide will help you deal with problem neighbours, what to do about intimidating neighbours and how to gather evidence of a difficult neighbour. Neighbour harassment can be quite stressful especially if they are being verbally abusive neighbours, or you are the subject of psychological bullying by neighbours and also how to handle noisy neighbours.
You may have just moved into your dream home but then shortly afterwards find yourself living next door to a nightmare neighbour. Thankfully there has been a spate of court cases against difficult neighbours which hopefully will give others the courage to speak out against this type of behaviour and report it.
You may have fallen out with neighbour(s) or they have fallen out with you over something trivial or more serious. Have they become noisier or are they carrying out prolonged building works with no end in sight? Are they swearing at you, making threats or harassing you?
Your neighbour may be constantly playing loud music or having rowdy parties outside of the hours of 11pm to 7am. Their pet may be causing a disturbance by barking throughout the day or during the night and more seriously, your neighbour may be physically approaching you to verbally abuse you. You may even have been tolerating the neighbours consistently banging the lids of their bin lids! Your neighbour could also be spraying you/your property during the summer with a hose pipe! There are some things you can do about all of these and some may surprise you including involving the Police!
You may have concerns about dealing with a difficult neighbour in relation to any of the following issues:
If you do have a situation that needs the attention of a Surveyor, a Surveyor will be able to advise you of your rights, your land, your boundaries, any agreements you may have to enter into with your neighbour and also prepare correspondence on your behalf to address any concerns you or your neighbour have.
Many people have suffered from these issues, but how do you deal with it?
When to ignore and when to act
When neighbours first become difficult, they are just trying to disrupt your life and are clearly looking for attention to try to make your life miserable (because usually, their life is!). Don’t get too sucked into the little things they do. They are just simply looking for a reaction from you and when you don’t give attention to it, it will either stop or escalate.
If it stops, great. If it doesn’t, you have two options
Option 1. Speak to your neighbour
Only do this if they are known to be friendly and approachable in the past and you are not home alone. Make sure you are recording the encounter on your mobile phone discreetly. Ensure that someone knows where you are and can visually see you in case the situation escalates. If it does, walk away immediately. Do not go inside their home if they invite you to. It is much safer to be outside than inside.
Whatever you do, do not get angry.
You can use voice notes on an iPhone or make a video of your neighbours behaviour using any handheld device but you must not point it directly at them as it could cause them to physically react.
When using the video function of any device, do not make it obvious that you are recording the neighbour as it could potentially escalate the situation. If using an iPhone, just switch it to airplane mode so that the video or voice note will not be interrupted by someone calling you.
Start recording before you get to the neighbour’s house. Hold the phone by your side when you are talking with them. Don’t worry too much if you are not getting their face in the video, you will still get their voice.
Once you’ve spoken to the neighbour and the difficult behaviour continues, you should try writing to the neighbour. If this doesn’t resolve the issue, speak to your Local Authority and the Police.
In the meantime, you should gather evidence of their behaviour if they are being difficult or they are harassing you.
Option 2. Write an email or send a recorded letter
Make sure it is polite. If sending an email, it will record the date and time that it was sent. If sending a letter, make sure it is dated and take a copy of it before sending it by recorded delivery. Keep checking that it has been received by the neighbour on the Royal Mail website. Once you can see it has been received, print a copy of the confirmation and keep it with all your documentation.
Set out clearly what the issue is and wait for a response. This way, a record of what has been said by you and any response from them is recorded in writing. Keep all copies of correspondence to hand if you need to forward them to your local authority or the Police.
If this doesn’t resolve the issue and the difficult behaviour continues, speak to your Local Authority and the Police.
In the meantime, you should gather evidence of their behaviour if they are being difficult or they are harassing you.
If your neighbour comes to your front door after this to talk to you
If they are known to be friendly and approachable in the past and another adult is at home with you, open the front door ensuring that you are recording the encounter on your mobile phone or security camera. Do not invite them inside your home.
If you are home alone or at home with children, do not open the front door.
Ensure someone is with you to visually monitor the situation whilst it is happening so that they can get help if needed from the Police.
If the neighbour gets angry/voilent, close the front door and call the Police straight away.
If the neighbour remains on the doorstep and will not leave, call the Police straight away.
If the situation has not been resolved using either option 1 and 2
You can speak to your Local Authority and the Police. When any incidents occur ALWAYS call 101 and speak to the Police to report each incident. Once you report an incident, the Police will give you a CAD reference. You can choose whether to have the Police speak to the neighbour or keep a record of it to use at a later date. Get a CAD reference from each time you call the Police. Not only will it keep a record of the behaviour with the Police, it will also give you evidence to ask the Police to speak to the neighbour before you take criminal action against them if the behaviour continues. Obviously, if the behaviour continues after the Police have spoken to them, then you can then ask the Police to arrest them.
If the neighbour repeatedly keeps coming to your property to verbally abuse you
Do not open the front door.
Call the Police straight away.
Contact your local authority.
If you have another adult at your property with you and the neighbour appears calm:
Open the door with a recording device in your hand (not pointed towards the neighbour) then calmly recite the following: “under the Protection of Harassment Act 1997 I am now asking you to cease and desist from coming to my front door and approaching us physically further“. Then close the door.
Follow it through with the same wording either by sending a letter by recorded delivery or sending it by email (if you have their email address). This should advise the neighbour that if they continue their behaviour you have already requested that they stop doing this using the Protection of Harassment Act 1997.
Once you’ve said this verbally or in writing to the neighbour and the difficult behaviour continues, you should speak to your Local Authority and the Police.
If a neighbour is constantly harassing you
- You should record their behaviour by installing a Nest Outdoor Camera or nest doorbell or Ring doorbell outside the front and back of your property as all of these devices immediately records anyone who comes up to the device. For a small subscription fee, it keeps a record of all footage for a period of time and you can download clips of incidents and save them to your phone or desktop computer in case you need them in the future.
- If you are being harassed by your neighbour, you should report this to your local authority and your local Police station. When you contact your local authority they will look into the issue with a view to making an order against the neighbour to stop the behaviour. Once your Local Authority has investigated the issues, they will get in contact with your neighbour to ascertain the situation and they will issue their findings to you. Their findings could result in a behaviour order against your neighbour.
- When you advise the Police that you have already advised the neighbour to stop harassing you under the protection of the Harassment Act 1997, they will give you a CAD reference for each incident you report. Ensure that you keep all the CAD references the Police give you as it will help them with their investigations. The Police are able to deal with the issue if you have suffered any form of harassment from your neighbour. Once the Police have been informed of the harassing situation with your neighbour, they will ask you to confirm whether you wish to proceed with the investigation.
- If you decide to hold fire, they will keep your complaint on file until such time as you decide to press charges. Ultimately the decision is left for you to decide on how you want to proceed. You can report all the behaviour to the Police as it happens and will be given CAD references for each incident (keep these somewhere safe). Ultimately, you have the decision of when to proceed when you are ready. If this harassment and/or behaviour of the neighbour is causing you anxiety, click here.
- If you decide to push forward with the allegations you have made towards your neighbour, they will contact the neighbour and start investigations. You should then gather all of your evidence and CAD references to give to the Police to assist them with their inquiry.
If you need to take things further
If none of the above works, you can speak to a solicitor to arrange mediation between the parties.
If this does not help, you can arrange for a Letter Before Action through a Solicitor. The letter will set out the behaviour you are complaining about from the neighbour, how it can be resolved, potential courses of action that may be taken (an injunction), the consequences if an injunction is breached and the cost implications to both parties if this is put in place. To find a Solicitor, click here.
You could apply for a Community Protection Notice. The provider of council/social housing together with the Police can apply for a Community Protection Notice known as a (CPN) against the offending neighbour. Contact the Police for more information.
A Nest doorbell, Nest Outdoor Camera or a Ring Door Bell or Ring Outdoor Camera has the capability to capture an abusive neighbour’s behaviour. Each device gives a crystal clear view and sound of the person which can then be presented to the Police or enable you to take civil action against the offender within six years. People have the right to install these type of cameras and doorbells as long as they try to point cameras away from neighbours gardens and their property.
Examples of Harassment
- unwanted phone calls, letters, emails or visits to your property
- abuse and bullying online
- verbal abuse and threats
- smashing windows or using dogs to frighten you
- Neighbours consistent banging of wheelie bin lids outside the front of their property
- Neighbours spraying you/your property with a hose pipe
You can ask the Police to talk to the individual to stop the harassment and you can also take legal action against a person who subjects you to harassment. The Police have the powers to deal with many situations and take action against the harasser.
How to take action under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997
Harassment is a criminal offence under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.
This means that someone can be prosecuted in the criminal courts if they harass you. It also means you can take action against the person in the civil courts.
If you have experienced at least two incidents of any of the examples of harassment listed above from your neighbour, you can act. Click here for more guidance.
If the offender is found guilty, they will receive a criminal record.
To take civil court action (even if the person harassing you hasn’t been found guilty), you can make a claim within six years of when the harassment happened.
Find your issue below for further guidance:
- For a Boundary issue, click here.
- Party Wall/Schedule of Condition issue, click here.
- For prolonged building works, click here.
- A barking dog, click here.
- Anti-Social Behaviour, click here.
- For harassment, click here.
- For your local citizen’s advice centre guidance, click here.
- For information and guidance on environmental law, click here
How to capture your neighbour’s negative behaviour on your land
Invest in some cameras for the front and back of your property. This is a surefire way of capturing your neighbour’s negative and disruptive behaviour.
This is a good camera for the front of your property. Google Hello Nest Video Doorbell lets you know who’s at the door, so you won’t miss a visitor or parcel delivery. It can send an alert to your smart device and can tell the difference between a person and something else. It gives you the full view with crystal clarity so you can see the person from head to toe, right down to the doorstep so you can see parcels left for you too, and you can speak to your visitor via the Nest app (iOS & Android). With an optional Nest Aware subscription, it can tell the difference between people you know and a stranger, and it live-streams 24/7 so you can always check what’s happening at your door. The beauty of this device is that for a small monthly subscription fee, it records and stores all activity so you can look back and record snippets of footage on a handheld device to use as evidence of being burgled, attempted burglary or a harassing neighbour! The best way how to deal with difficult neighbours, record their difficult behaviour!
This is a good camera for the front of your property. Works with selected Alexa devices to launch real-time video with your voice. Lets you see, hear and speak to visitors from your phone, tablet and PC. You’ll get a notification when movement is detected or when visitors press the Doorbell. Works on any home, with or without existing doorbell wires. Monitors your home in HD video with infrared night vision. Lets you check in on your property at any time with Live View, real-time video. Includes Theft Protection: If your doorbell gets stolen, they will replace it for free. The beauty of this device is that for a small monthly subscription fee, it records and stores all activity so you can look back and record snippets of footage on a handheld device to use as evidence of being burgled, attempted burglary or a harassing neighbour! The best way how to deal with difficult neighbours, record their difficult behaviour!
Security Lighting with Camera
This is a good camera for the front, side and back of your property. If you are more security conscious, you could always install security lighting with a fitted camera or buy one that has it all. Ring has introduced the Ring Floodlight Cam which has a security camera, and security light that can be hard-wired to the mains and works with Alexa devices. This type of lighting would need to be electrically wired to your property. The best way how to deal with difficult neighbours, record their difficult behaviour!
Nest Outdoor Camera
This camera is perfect for capturing your driveway, front, side and back of your property. With top-notch visual clarity, processing power and connectivity, Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is a premium way to make sure that your home’s surrounding areas are safe. It’s weather-proof, temper-proof, and is able to detect a person up to 15 metres away, so it can help you find out about a break-in before it happens. It enables you to check in on your phone, even when you are out, and is clever enough to distinguish between a person and a thing. Supersight vision monitors and records the action with superb clarity, and it can zoom in and follow the action for you. A powerful speaker allows you to communicate through it using the Nest app, and, with a Nest Aware subscription (sold separately), it can send you familiar face alerts. The beauty of this device is that for a small monthly subscription fee, it records and stores all activity so you can look back and record snippets of footage on a handheld device to use as evidence of being burgled, attempted burglary or a harassing neighbour! The best way of how to deal with difficult neighbours, record their difficult behaviour!
Ring Outdoor Camera
See, hear and speak to people and pets from your phone, tablet or select Echo device with Stick Up Cam Battery, a battery-powered camera that can be mounted anywhere, indoors or outdoors. With Live View, you can check on your home at any time through the Ring app. Get notifications whenever motion is detected by adjusting your Motion Detection settings. Place it anywhere: indoors or outdoors, on flat surfaces or mount it to a wall. Easily set up your Stick Up Cam in just a few minutes. Powered by a quick-release removable battery pack. The beauty of this device is that for a small monthly subscription fee, it records and stores all activity so you can look back and record snippets of footage on a handheld device to use as evidence of being burgled, attempted burglary or a harassing neighbour! The best way how to deal with difficult neighbours, record their behaviour!
Install good outside lighting
Control lights with your voice – works with Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple home kit devices for hands-free voice control. Control your smart outdoor lights with simple voice commands! Highlight your outdoor area with the Philips hue discover floodlight. This kit includes all cables to start lighting your outdoors What’s required? – A ‘Phillips Hue Bridge‘ (sold separately) is required for smart control. Simply connect your bridge, plug in your new Philips Hue lights and take advantage of smart outdoor lighting via the ‘Philips Hue’ app. Note: add the product to the Hue Bridge by using the Serial Number on the back of the Wall Plate. Style with colour – Choose from 16 million colours including warm to cool white light to create the perfect ambience for relaxing, playing or entertaining outdoors. Discover the perfect smart lighting for parties, BBQs and more! Enhance your outdoor space – Create the perfect ambience for relaxing, playing or entertaining. Whether you want your garden to be vibrant for a party, or chilled to help you wind down, easily create the right setting to enjoy any moment outside.
Works with Alexa, and Google Assistant voice commands. Truly Smart Wi-Fi Flood Light. Novostella Wi-Fi floodlights work with Alexa Echo Dot, and Google Assistant for Voice control and from your smartphone via the Smart Life app (Android & iOS), free to control your indoor/outdoor lighting from your home or any other location. RGBCW=RGB + (2700-6500K) tunable white. Wi-Fi Smart Floodlight = White Floodlight + RGB Floodlight + More Functions. In addition to 16 Million Colours adjustable, there is also a white light function with adjustable colour temperature(2700-6500K). 2000lm high lumens, brightness, light modes and saturation are adjustable, meet all your needs. Set schedules to automatically turn on and off the light as routines. Memory function is available. The last settings will be saved for quick access next time, to make daily life much more convenient. The light also supports customized settings (delay, sunrise, sunset, weather, etc.). Set-up is pretty easy and takes only a few minutes with the help of the detailed guide on video and manual. For any questions during the installation, you can get prompt support by writing to email@example.com. (Only Support 2.4gHz). The fixture with 12 pcs enhanced fin-type heat sink, strengthening the light and having better heating diffusion. Ensure stable performance under most weather conditions.
These Zicbol Solar-powered Light consists of 100 LED Chips, lighting up your whole garden! The solar wall lamp is equipped with independent solar panels and 5 meters of wire connections. With a built-in enhanced PIR motion inductor, these security floodlights with Motion Sensor can detect motion sensitively within a distance of 16 feet and an angle of 120 degrees. Due to the 2400mAh lithium-ion battery, these solar-led security lights can be lit for a long time and based on monocrystalline silicon, the solar conversion efficiency is up to 20%.
This stylish, wall-mounted, up/down outdoor light has a stunning, modern stainless steel flush cylinder design and is ideal for lighting gardens, paths, garages, patios, courtyards, decorative porches and driveways. As well as being IP44 outdoor weatherproof rated, this external light also features a practical integrated PIR motion detector – providing extra security for the home and giving peace of mind. The wall-mounted outdoor flush light comes in a sturdy and weatherproof durable stainless steel design and emits bright light from both the top and bottom. This robust, illuminating external light is IP44 Rated and is fully certified for outdoor installation.
Click here to view a range to light up your back garden to stop your neighbour from sneaking around the back without being seen!
Purchase a Security Timer Light Switch
This will confuse your neighbours because they will never know if you are in or not! Incredibly easy to set up and use timer sockets which is why they have 4-star reviews. Compact, economical, energy-saving and can help to deter intruders. These are adjustable for 24 hours with 15-minute minimum intervals and are also approved to BS1363. These sockets are CE Approved with a rating of 13A, 3200W. The beauty of these is that they can be used multiple times a day.
Control electronics from anywhere using your tablet or smartphone with the TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi Plug. You can turn devices on/off, check status, create schedules and set timers using the Kasa app. Gain peace of mind by checking on your devices remotely and always coming home to a well-lit house. Use away mode to make it look like you are home when you travel and have lights turn on/off at set times to conserve energy and save on your next bill. Add voice control to any electronic device by pairing it with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. With IFTTT, you can also create personalised Applets that trigger automatic actions on your smart plug.
*This guide is generated from real-life experience on how to deal with difficult neighbours. This article contains links to other websites, the content(s) of which we cannot be held responsible. Where possible, we have added affiliate links to specific products or services. You can find these products and services without using the links contained in the article. In order to sustain the website so that we can write these articles, we may use affiliate links. If no affiliate link is available, we will directly search for the item and link it back to the product or service.
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