3 Common Neighbour Disputes and How to Resolve Them

11-11-2015 | Anne Seymour |

In an ideal world, we’d all live in perfect harmony with our neighbours. In reality though, tensions can build between property owners over a whole range of issues, leading to arguments and in some cases legal action.

Here are three examples of common neighbour disputes, along with suggestions on how to resolve these problems.

1) Boundaries

One issue that can really get homeowners hot under the collar is confusion concerning boundaries.

If people think they are being duped out of land that rightfully belongs to them, they can quickly lose their patience. Ideally, any boundary issues should be picked up by solicitors during the conveyancing process, but sometimes problems can go undetected.

The key to resolving these matters is to get legal advice as soon as possible. As solicitors www.thelawhouse.com state, many property disputes occur because the parties involved are not clear over their rights and obligations.

By getting specialist advice, you can avoid any confusion and ensure your rights are safeguarded. Chartered land surveyors or surveyors specialising in boundary disputes could be your first port of call. These experts can look at the land, analyze property deeds and the plans associated with them and refer to any relevant historical documents.

Once you are in full possession of the facts, you may be able to settle the disagreement with your neighbour out of court. Alternatively, you can get the court to define the boundary between your properties and use a surveyor to mark it out. To prevent further arguments, you could get this specialist to supervise any building or fencing contractors.

2) Repairs

Repairs are another major source of contention. When amenities such as drains, driveways or roofs are shared between two or more homes, disagreements can break out concerning which parties are responsible for arranging and paying for maintenance and repairs. These responsibilities are usually set out in the property’s legal documents. However, this paperwork does not always provide clear evidence.

In cases like these, it is usually best to agree in advance that the costs will be shared between the owners of the relevant homes. The next stage involves getting estimates for the work required and drawing up agreements with contractors to do the work. Bear in mind that at each point where a cost is incurred, the owner initiating the repairs must have the consent of all the other parties involved.

3) Noise

From barking dogs to loud music, excessive noise can also be a cause of disagreements between neighbours. If you think the people living next to you are too noisy, your first course of action should be to speak to them about the issue.

If the problem persists and the culprits are tenants, try contacting their landlord. Meanwhile, regardless of whether they are owners or tenants, it’s a good idea to keep a record of the disturbances. This may prove useful if you subsequently take legal action.

You might also benefit from contacting the environmental health officer at your local council. These officers can conduct investigations and measure noise levels. If they believe there is a nuisance and they are not able to resolve the issue through discussion, they can serve a notice on the individuals involved or on the property owner. If this notice is ignored, the council can then take action to prosecute them.

Hopefully, you won’t experience problems like these with your neighbours, but if you do it’s important to know what action you can take.

About Anne Seymour

Anne is a young webpreneur, interested in all things related to money: earning, investing, saving. She's paid off her student loans and now is looking forward to doing a lot of writing and traveling.

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Recent Comments

  • jANE

    November 12, 2015 at 7:34 am

    I now live in a good neighborhood, so I can’t complain, but a few years back I have had major problems with some neighbors making excessive noise! During the day they were at work (but so was I…), so evenings and nights they were home (but so was I!!). The whole neighborhood complained, they quarreled all the time, everyone could hear them! So rude! Some of the neighbors even called the police a few times, but the expensive fines didn’t help.
    Eventually I moved, so I don’t know what happened to them in the end. It wasn’t because of them that I moved, but I am SO glad I can now enjoy my peace and quiet in my own home!

  • Connery

    November 14, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    There’s a family living in our condo, they’re smokers, and they seem to prefer smoking on the hallway. The problem isn’t even the smell, but the fact that they always turn the lights on! They seem to ‘forget’ we ALL share the electric bill! Frankly, I’m thinking about asking the administrator if he can do something about it (since talking to them didn’t help). We’re all concerned with saving energy, saving the environment and so on (which of course also means saving money! duuh!), so I hope this issue will soon be resolved.

  • Jasmine2015

    November 15, 2015 at 3:04 am

    There was a time my family had to deal with an elderly woman always calling the police on us. She lived under neath us and you could hear every squeak in the floor which made her mad. Sometimes we could hear her turn up her radio or TV on full blast but the problem is that the floor muffles the sound so it didn’t bother us as much as it did her. One time she calls the police on us claiming we were having a wild party. The problem is that there are no cars outside, not even the lights were turned on in the house. We are all in our pj’s ready to sleep when the cops knock on the door only to see nothing going on. We have since moved from that lady so all is well.

  • Tippy Toe

    November 15, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    Arguments, issues and so on should not be a problem, even in the world we live in now. There are rules that HAVE to be respected (like, quiet hours, regulated by laws or asking all neighbors for permission to throw a party late at night). However, it’s true that discussing certain issues in a somewhat friendly manner is the right thing to do, everyone makes mistakes.

  • Claire D.

    April 19, 2016 at 8:12 am

    We’re lucky our neighbors are mostly old couples. They don’t ever make any noise, and they’re always so nice to us! I can’t even imagine having neighbors who fight all the time or listen to loud music or worse, party in the middle of the night! I’d say having crappy neighbors is a good reason to sell your home and move somewhere else. It’s true you would lose money, but I’d rather lose money than my sanity.

  • Silas Knight

    May 3, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    It makes sense to call a land surveyor to settle any sort of boundary dispute. That is interesting that they can even look at relevant historical documents. It sounds like not much would get past a professional land surveyor’s view.

  • tabby

    May 17, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    Luckily, I haven’t had any boundary or repair issues with my neighbors. Noise issues sometimes crop up especially if they’re having a property. There was one time that I got home so late from work that all I wanted to do was hit the sack the moment I reached home. The only problem was when I got home, the family living in front of my house was having a party. They had guests staying near my front and they were talking loudly. I got so irritated that I left my house to go for a walk. Unknowingly, I banged my door so loud that it got their attention. When I return home, the neighbors were no longer anywhere near my front yard.

  • Larry Driver

    July 15, 2016 at 6:53 am

    Contentions, issues thus on ought not be an issue, even on the planet we live in now. There are principles that HAVE to be regarded (like, calm hours, managed by laws or approaching all neighbors for authorization to arrange a gathering late around evening time). Notwithstanding, it’s actual that talking about specific issues in a fairly benevolent way is the proper thing to do, everybody commits errors.

  • Anglea

    July 17, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    I truly believe the quality of the neighborhood one lives in has a lot to do with the type and number of neighbor disputes one will have to handle. We now live in a nice neighborhood, very peaceful and people are very nice, but of course we literally pay for or comfort. Before we moved here, we paid less rent, but the neighborhood wasn’t this ‘calm’. I know this isn’t a general rule, but I believe it does have some influence on the matter..

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