Resolve a dispute with your neighbour

Last updated: 15 April 2019

If you're having a dispute with a neighbour, there are things you can do to try to resolve it including:

  • talking to your neighbour about the problem
  • speaking to your neighbour's landlord if they rent their home
  • asking for your landlord's help to resolve the problem if you live in social housing
  • asking for help from an independent person by going to 'mediation'
  • getting legal advice
  • reporting antisocial behaviour to your local council or the police

Going to court to solve a problem can be stressful, cost you money and take a long time. It's usually best to try to find another solution.

You may be able to resolve a problem with your neighbour by talking to them about it.

If you're worried about speaking to your neighbour, you could write them a letter.

Mediation is when you use an independent expert who will not take sides to help you decide what to do about your problem. This person is called a mediator. It will be you and your neighbour - not the mediator - who decide what to do next.

Find a mediation service using:

Sometimes a mediation service will cost money. If you can't afford it, you can try to get help to pay for it through legal aid.

Solicitors can give you advice on what you should do if you're not sure how to resolve a dispute.

This will usually cost money. If you can not afford to pay, you can try to get help through legal aid.

Find out more about using a solicitor, including how to find one.

If your neighbour is behaving in an antisocial way you can report their behaviour to the police or your local council.

Common types of antisocial behaviour are:

  • being noisy or a nuisance
  • behaving in a threatening way
  • vandalising near your home

The police or your local council will decide how to deal with antisocial behaviour. One option they can choose is to give the person or people you report an Antisocial Behaviour Order (ASBO).

Anyone over the age of 12 can be given an Antisocial Behaviour Order (ASBO).

There's more information about your options on the Citizens Advice website.

Noise problems

Unwelcome noise is a common problem between neighbours and can include:

  • loud music
  • barking dogs
  • DIY

Try talking to your neighbour about the problem first. If this does not work, you could suggest mediation or speak to your neighbour's landlord.

If none of these things work, you can contact your local council about the problem.

Local councils can do several things to try to tackle neighbour noise issues. They can:

  • issue the person or people with an 'noise abatement notice' - this demands that noise stops or is limited for example music is not played after 9pm. If you fail to comply with an abatement notice you could face prosecution
  • give a warning notice or a fine called a fixed penalty notice
  • remove whatever is making the noise from the house
Call 999 if you or someone else is in immediate danger.

Boundary disputes

Boundaries separate your home (and garden if you have one) from the homes beside you. Disputes over boundaries are common between neighbours and they can be caused by:

  • trees overhanging into gardens
  • home extensions
  • high hedges blocking light

Finding out where your home's boundaries are

If you own your home, you should be able to find out about your home's boundaries by:

If you're a tenant, your tenancy contract may tell you where the boundaries of your home are. If it doesn't, you could ask your landlord to find out for you.

Resolving the boundary dispute

You should try to resolve a boundary dispute by talking to your neighbour. If this does not work, you could try:

  • mediation - for example if the boundaries are not clear
  • contacting your neighbour's landlord if their home is rented
  • speaking to your local council about the problem

Find out more information about boundary disputes on Shelter's website.

High hedges

A hedge is considered a "high hedge" if it:

  • forms a row of two or more trees or shrubs
  • rises to a height of more than two metres above the ground
  • and forms a barrier to light

If your neighbour has a high hedge, you must show that you've tried to resolve the problem with them before your council will help.

If speaking to your neighbour about it does not work, you should write them a letter. In the letter you should:

  • point out that you think they have a high hedge
  • ask them to cut it
  • let them know that if they don't cut it, you'll apply to the council for a 'high hedge notice'

If you ask the council for help, they'll send someone to your home to check whether the hedge is a high hedge. If they think it is, the hedge owner may have to trim the hedge to comply with the law.

The council will charge to get involved so it's better to resolve the dispute with your neighbour if you can do it safely.

Both the person who complained and the person with the hedge can appeal the council's decision.