Taking Action

Resolving Conflict with Your Neighbours

It is important to know how to resolve conflict when you are having trouble with your neighbours. Below are some tips on how you might be able to respond to issues. It is always important to bear in mind that you will probably be living next to, below, or above these people for some time. Taking the scorched earth approach is not one which will lead to long-term positive results for yourself.

At all times it is important to try and see things from their perspective as well, you might be upset but you are potentially asking someone to change behaviour which they may have every right to do.

Causal Chat

For any issue, first try to have a casual chat with the neighbour in question. You might be able to catch them during your daily business but if this isn’t going to happen then you will need to deliberately make contact. You will need to consider when they will be around, and when they will be most amenable. Popping round when they have just come in from work or when they are eating a meal isn’t likely to be the best point in their day!

During your conversation you will need to be pleasant but be clear in what the problem is, how it is affecting you, and what you what them to do.

Most people are amenable and if approached correctly this is likely to yield positive results, and may even lead to a stronger relationship with your neighbour.

Sending a Letter

If the casual chat doesn’t work then you may wish to consider sending a formal letter to the neighbour to set out your problems, however if they haven’t responded to a casual chat then it is unlikely they will change their behaviour from a letter.

A letter may worsen the situation people often don’t respond well to a negative letter. It is important that you understand what you want the letter to achieve; is this just reiterating your earlier chat which they ignored or is this the first step of potentially very expensive litigation?

You may just have to accept that the casual chat did not work and move on. People who ignored you the first time are likely to ignore a letter.

Contacting their Landlord

If your neighbour is a tenant, it may be worth talking to their landlord to raise any issues. The landlord may not be happy that their tenant is causing issues in their property and/or the wider neighbourhood. Try and resolve the issue with the tenant first though as it will lead to a quicker and less antagonistic result.

The landlord could be a private individual, a housing association, the council, or a private landlord. You may be able to find the owner through previous adverts for the property, details from a sign outside, or as a last resort the Land Registry.

Property Management Companies

As an alternative to the above, if you live in a block of flats or somewhere that is run by a management company you may just wish to approach the management company directly. You would also need to be clear how this is in violation of the building’s policy. If the issue is serious enough to complain then the management company may provide a route to resolution.

The advantage of this method is that the neighbours should not know of your identity, although they may be able to guess. The management company is also likely to be able to resolve the problem better than you would be able to.

Contacting Other Organisations

You may also be able to contact your council for support regarding an issue. This would vary depending on where you live and the type of issue involved.

Our other post here also outlines other organisations who might be able to assist depending on the issue(s) you are experiencing.

Keeping Safe

At all times you should keep yourself safe, and try not to antaganise others. If you are having long term problems with your neighbour you should start documenting the issues, ideas for how to do this can be found here.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve had a dispute with a neighbour at some point. Whether it’s over a shared boundary, noise levels, or just general annoyances, it’s not uncommon to have disagreements with the people who live near us.

While it can be difficult to deal with difficult neighbours, there are ways to resolve disputes and improve the situation. By communicating openly and honestly, trying to find common ground, and being willing to compromise, it’s possible to turn a difficult situation into a more positive one.
Hopefully these tips will help you resolve any disputes you have with your neighbours. Remember, communication is key!

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