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.
You may have just moved into your dream home but then shortly afterwards find yourself living next door to a nightmare neighbour.
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.
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 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?
Follow our guide:
- Where you can, always conduct any contact via email. That way a record of what has been said is recorded in writing.
- If this is not possible and you need to physically speak to your neighbour, ensure your mobile phone or a recording device is in your hand to have evidence of any unwanted and difficult behaviour. You can use voice notes on an iPhone or make a video of your neighbours behaviour using any handheld device. When using the video function, do not make it obvious that you are recording the neighbour as it could potentially escalate the situation. Just switch the device to airplane mode so that the video or voice note will not be interrupted by someone calling you, then 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.
- If using voice notes on an iPhone, switch your phone to airplane mode, then select the voice notes setting.
- Speak to your neighbour (friendly and calmly) but only if safe to do so and they are known to be friendly and approachable in the past. Get someone in your house to monitor the situation whilst it is happening from a short distance. Never go and see a neighbour without someone being aware. This will ensure that if any issues arise, someone will be able to help you if you need it or call the Police on your behalf.
- You must not get angry as it will escalate the situation. Remain calm even if the neighbour doesn’t. If the neighbour becomes aggressive, retreat from the situation immediately.
- If you are uncomfortable with directly approaching your neighbour because they may have been difficult in the past, you need to start gathering evidence of their behaviour if they are being difficult or they are harassing you.
- If a neighbour is constantly harassing you, you could start video recording their behaviour by installing a Nest Outdoor Camera outside the front and back of your property. You could also install a Nest Door Bell or a Ring Door Bell at your front door as both of these devices immediately records anyone who comes up to the device.
- If you are being harassed by your neighbour, you should report this to your local Police station. The Police are able to deal with the issue if the noise causes a breach of the peace if you suffer threatening or violent behaviour and/or anti-social behaviour.
A Nest doorbell, Nest Outdoor Camera or a Ring Door Bell 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.
Examples of Harassment
- unwanted phone calls, letters, emails or visits
- abuse and bullying online
- verbal abuse and threats
- smashing windows or using dogs to frighten you
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. Click here for more details.
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:
- Boundary issue, click here.
- Party Wall/Schedule of Condition issue, click here.
- Prolonged building works, click here.
- Barking dog, click here.
- Anti-Social Behaviour click here.
- Harassment click here.
- For your local citizen’s advice centre guidance, click here.
- For information and guidance on environmental law, click here
Nest Doorbell (click to view prices)
Nest Hello 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.
Ring Doorbell (click to view on Amazon)
- 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, we’ll replace it for free.
Nest Outdoor Camera (click to view prices)
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.
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