Loving thy neighbour can sometimes seem like a bit of an uphill struggle! Tackling the problem with neighbours can be a tricky task and emotions often run high. No-one wants their home to be a place where relaxation seems impossible to achieve. However, with around 1 in 10 of us experiencing problems with nightmare neighbours, it seems the phenomenon is here to stay.
If you are in rented accommodation, dealing with nightmare neighbours could simply be a case of gritting your teeth until the period of the tenancy agreement is up. The benefit of rented accommodation is of course its flexibility. However, if you’re a home owner, a nasty neighbour is a more permanent fixture. If you want to avoid stand-up rows in the street and don’t fancy the upheaval of selling up and moving to another area, what can you do when you’re at loggerheads with a fellow street resident?
One way to avoid ending up with a neighbour from hell is to adopt the prevention as cure attitude towards living in the community. Maintaining cordial relations with neighbours is more likely to result in a more amenable, long-term relationship with them. In today’s society, a sense of community cohesion is often missing, especially with the rise in people moving around for jobs and settling away from the areas they grew up in. Take the time to speak to neighbours on an informal and regular basis – not just when you need someone to feed the cat or water the plants.
But if you are stuck with a nightmare neighbour and the prevention as cure approach hasn’t worked, what’s the solution?
Disputes with neighbours are common in the UK. Noise is the No.1. cause of complaint, with blaring stereos causing upset at all hours of the night. Loss of sleep and adverse effects on health make this problem particularly distressing. If the problem persists, an Environmental Health Officer can act on your behalf. These individuals will visit and ascertain whether your nightmare neighbour is emitting an unreasonable noise level. They have the power to warn the individual and can confiscate the offending equipment if they deem it necessary.
If you’ve started arguing, stop and try a cooling off period before going any further. Attempt to use reason to solve disputes and steer clear of flying off the handle if at all possible. A minor dispute can often be solved calmly and quickly if dealt with in a reasonable manner. Shouting matches often lead to defensive behaviour that doesn’t benefit either party.
If you aren’t having any luck achieving a resolution face to face, try bringing in a third party to mediate. An objective third party may suggest ideas or a solution neither of you has thought of yet.
You local authority may be able to mediate for you if the neighbour from hell is causing noise or smell issues.
If your nightmare neighbour is causing disturbances on a regular basis and refuses to engage with reason or take positive steps to reach a resolution, keep your cool. If the problem is ongoing and you are considering involving the police, write down the dates and times of disturbances so you have a record to show.
- A solicitor’s letter may seem like a last resort,
- but it can often be a useful tool in dealing with nightmare neighbours.