When disagreements arise in a neighbourhood it can have a negative effect on your standard of living and as a tenant could potentially cause problems between you and your landlord should your neighbours make a complaint. Minor disputes can fuel larger, more serious conflicts and it is advisable to prevent this from happening as far as possible.
Sometimes problems will arise in your neighbourhood despite your best efforts. When that happens, it is important you handle them properly so that the problem does not escalate. In the worst cases, you could be fined or forced to pay compensation to the neighbour with whom you have a grievance. Our housing solicitors will be able to help you defend yourself against accusations of being the cause of neighbourhood problems, should you find yourself in this position.
The most common neighbourhood problems are;
- Anti-social Behaviour
- Boundary Disputes
- Criminal Activity
Anti-social behaviour is a very broad term and can cover a variety of different matters. If someone in your neighbourhood is behaving in such a way that causes you alarm or distress, it is possible that you are the victim of anti-social behaviour. There are, however, some important exceptions and reasonable behaviour will not be considered anti-social purely on the basis that it alarms you personally. It is always best to try and resolve these issues by talking with your neighbours first and trying to come to some compromise or solution.
Examples of anti-social behaviour include;
- Abusive behaviour aimed at a certain people for example the elderly
- Animal nuisance
- Bullying of children
- Dumping rubbish or dog fouling
- Harassment, including racial harassment
- Homophobic behaviour
- Intimidation through threats or actual violence
- Vandalism and graffiti
- Verbal abuse
Another common cause of disagreement with neighbours is boundary dispute. In some properties it can be unclear where one ends and the other begins. Occasionally, two properties may have equal rights to a piece of land that lies between them. You can find out what the legal boundaries of your property are from the Land Registry or, you can contact your landlord who should know the correct boundaries. Should you have difficulty obtaining the right information from the Land Registry or interpreting your title deeds, one of our specialist lawyers will be able to help you.
Having criminal activity in your neighbourhood can lower the quality of life for everyone. You can take basic measures to protect your personal property such as requesting your landlord get locks for the doors and windows and having a burglar alarm installed. However, activities that affect the area around your property such as vandalism, damaged lighting and fly-tipping can be reported to the police and the local Neighbourhood Watch.
Harassment can be particularly distressing but there is help available should you find yourself in this position. Harassment can take place in a variety of different forms; you may be harassed via mail or telephone calls, or by someone’s physical presence. They could be paying unexpected or sudden visits –particularly distressing if this happens at night- or they could be stalking or threatening you. If this happens frequently a member of our housing team may be able to help you apply to the courts for an injunction to prevent the harassment from continuing.
Noise is one of the most common neighbourhood complaints. Persistent loud noise between the hours of 11pm and 7am will be considered ‘night noise’ and should be dealt with seriously by the authorities. If noise problems in your area are persistent, and informal attempts to resolve them have not been successful, you can contact your local environmental health officer (EHO) for help.
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