Resolve a dispute with your neighbour

Last updated: 6 June 2017

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.

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 doesn't 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 doesn't work, you could try:

  • mediation - for example if the boundaries aren't 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 doesn't work, you should write them a letter. In the letter you should:

  • point out that 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 high. If they think it is, the hedge owner must trim the hedge to comply with the law.

The council may 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.