We’ve all had disagreements with people in the past. But what happens when the person in question is your neighbour and you feel he is being unreasonable? We look at a few common disputes between neighbours.
Noise – who’s banging that drum?
It’s been a really stressful week and you want to unwind when your neighbours decide to play that song again on full blast. What can you do?
Noise issues are not an uncommon part of owning a property. It is however always advisable to try to resolve the problem with your neighbour face-to-face. If renting, you may have to talk to their landlord before taking any other action but do make them aware of the issue and try to resolve in the first instance.
If resolution fails you may have little but to contact your local council’s Environmental Health team. They should investigate your concerns and use equipment to measure the noise being emitted. This will then form the basis which the local authority can use to issue a notice to prevent the nuisance.
Your neighbours will be forced to comply with the terms of a council notice. Alternatively they may face being prosecuted or evicted.
Community living – rubbish disposal
So you live in a block of flats and your neighbour leaves rubbish and junk in the communal entrance and often outside your door.
In the first instance it’s always good to amicably try to resolve the issue directly with your neighbour. If that fails and the property is rented you can notify the owner of the freehold. The managing agents who usually look after these issues will be able to take up the problem on your behalf. There is a possibility that your neighbours may be breaching their lease.
If the property is owned you could consider making an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT) for a determination that there has been breach of the lease. The application is by way of a structured letter and no fee is payable. You will need to show the letters you have sent the lessee and could take daily pictures as evidence.
Your boundary or mine?
Boundaries are a fairly common cause of property disputes between neighbours. Legally for example, if you fail to plant the hedge in the right area, then you could be liable of trespass.
There are cases where this kind of issue has resulted in legal action and neighbours are often left with little choice but to go to court to apply for damages or an injunction.
To avoid this situation the best thing is to review your property deeds and then gather all the information regarding the location of the legal boundary. This will help you when deciding where to build that fence or place that hedge.
A chartered surveyor can also help with plotting the position of the boundary on the ground. Again a bit of friendly dialogue is not a bad thing with your neighbour if you are unsure. If the position of the boundary is disputed make sure you seek specialist legal advice before erecting that fence or digging in that hedge.
Wheelie over here and wheelie over there
What do you do when your neighbour persists in leaving his wheelie bin across your drive?
As with the previous question, speak with your neighbour in the first instance. If the problem persists, check your property deeds as well as your neighbours.
It is important to look at what legal rights your neighbour may have over your drive – e.g. legal right to pass over your drive to put out his bin for collection.
If by chance no such rights exist or have been created and your neighbour refuses to act on your reasonable requests, then you may want to go down the legal route. Its important to bear in mind however that this could be a time consuming and very expensive step.