10 reasons your neighbour might initiate a dispute with you

In this article, we explore some of the most common causes behind neighbour disputes here in the UK…


Having a difficult neighbour is more common than you think in the UK, with approximately two-thirds of brits claiming to of had a bad encounter with the person next-door. While it’s normal to have a little moan here and there, difficult neighbours can be a real hassle if a problem persists.

If you’re currently experiencing this issue and you’ve done all you can to deescalate it, but haven’t been able to reach a common ground, it’s advisable you speak to a third party or a Sussex, Southampton or Surrey law firm who can help resolve any disputes.

To explore just how widespread a problem ‘difficult neighbours’ can be, in this article we’re going to take a look at some of the reasons your neighbour might initiate a problem with you in the first place.

1.    Noise Complaints

One of the most common issues between neighbours certainly comes down to noise complaints. Being consistently loud, having parties and screaming children are all ways to rub your neighbour up the wrong way.

2.    Painting the Outside of Your House

You’d think if you own your property, it’s yours to do what you want with. However, how your home looks on the outside can impact your neighbours quite a lot and, in some cases, you may need planning permission to paint your house certain colours.

Painting the external walls of your house a different colour to your neighbours can be a controversial decision, if it doesn’t match up with your neighbours. Try to have an open discussion with them about it before taking the plunge just so you don’t ruffle any feathers.

3.    A Change that May Lower House Value

If you’ve decided to have any form of building work done to your house, it’s important you measure how it could impact your neighbours’ homes. For example, if the building work blocks any views or light for them, or even reduces privacy, then this can impact the value of their home.

You should expect some complaints if this is the case.


4.    Annoying Builders

Out of courtesy, it’s often good to inform neighbours of any building work going on at your house with a rough time estimate. Nobody likes loud builders, so it’s best to keep them in the loop so they can manage how they cope with the extra noise.

Many people work from home now, so any noise can grate a lot of them, not to mention if there’s babies at home who will be disturbed as a result.

5.    Access Rights to the Property

The bare minimum we expect at home is to be able to access it with ease. However, if someone is blocking your drive or parking in places that stops your access to your garage perhaps you can expect a complaint (or a passive aggressive sign to pop up).

If you’re going to be blocking access to a neighbour’s home temporally, it’s best to let them know in advance so that they can prepare for it, to avoid arguments.

6.    Chopping Down a Tree

It may seem trivial and not a big deal to chop down a tree on your property. But, for neighbours, it may change the level of privacy they have (or maybe they just really loved that tree!) so it’s best to let them know.

Realistically if the tree is on your land, they don’t have a say in what you do with it, but to avoid complaints and keep to peace, it’s polite to inform them of the changes that may affect them.

7. Putting in a New Structure

New structures to your home could include garden structures, extensions, driveways, sheds and even tree houses. You should consider how this will impact your neighbours before starting the work.

For example, is it going to create eyesore and a lot of dust whilst the work is under way?  Keep an open dialogue with any changes to your neighbours to prevent any issues arising, as often structural changes to your property will impact your neighbours in some way.

8. Children Playing in the Street

Those who don’t have children will no doubt be less patient with dealing with playing near their homes. Not only can it sometimes cause noise levels to worsen, but there is opportunity for damages to be caused by ball games, for example.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot you can truly do to help with this if you want your kids to be playing safely near the house, other than advise your children to stay clear of your neighbours’ lawns and cars. You may wind up with a bill to cover the cost of any damages your children may cause their property.


9. Parking

Parking is often the route of many disputes between neighbours. No one enjoys coming home to not to able to park their car. Some streets aren’t designed to fit all vehicles owned by those who live there, so it can be especially annoying if some haven’t parked their cars sensibly.

Try to park with others in mind, leave space where you can, and budge up to cars already parked to allow more to do the same.

10. Keeping Shared Facilities Clean

Arguments can easily arise from shared areas not being maintained and looked after properly. This can be especially problematic in flat buildings, perhaps where there is a shared bin area.

No one wants to attract rats or any other critters, so when there’s a shared responsibility it can be tricky if someone isn’t pulling their weight. If you can’t agree on whose responsibility, it is to sort certain areas, often an environmental health officer (EHO) can settle it for you.

If any health hazards pose a threat to other neighbours as a result of unclean areas or gardens, then it’s definitely worth asking a EHO to step in to settle arguments.

Don’t ignore your neighbours’ complaints…

It’s easy to dismiss some complaints as people just being pedantic, but it’s often worth listening to their concerns and trying to resolve it amicably before any legal action comes into play.

After all, you want to live in a comfortable environment without any animosity between you and your neighbours, so it’s the sensible thing to do. In some cases, if they do decide to take legal action against you, you could be forced to U turn on any plans or changes to your home you may have or have already carried out.

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