30 Neighbourhood and Community Disputes
2. What can I do if I have a problem with my neighbours?
3. Dealing with matters yourself
You should try talking to the person who is responsible for the problem, unless you do not feel safe doing this. They may not realise they are bothering you, or they may be unaware the problem exists.
You could also speak to other neighbours affected and get them to support you. You could ask for some help from a local mediation service if there is one in your area. You can find out by contacting Mediation UK (see ‘Further help’).
When talking to the person you have a problem with, follow these tips:
- Try to deal with them directly. If your complaint is passed on by someone else, or overheard, it could be misunderstood and may make matters worse.
- Plan a sensible time and a private place to talk to the other person, when you can be level-headed about the situation, but let a family member or friend know where you are.
- Let the other person or people know you are glad to have the chance to deal with the situation
- Think carefully beforehand about what you want to say. It is best to be clear about what the problem is.
- Don't accuse, insult or blame anyone, no matter how upset or angry you feel – it will not help and could make things worse.
- Don't assume you know why someone behaved as they did. You may be wrong about the reasons for their behaviour.
- Do give the other person a chance to put their views and explain their feelings. It is important to let them know you are listening to them, even if you don't agree with what they say.
- Be prepared to discuss all aspects of the problem, and spend time talking about how they can be sorted out.
- Work on the problems with everyone who is involved, trying to make sure there is a solution everyone will be happy with.
- Agree to meet again at some date in the future to check on how things are going.
4. What is mediation?
5. What if mediation doesn't work?
6. What is a 'statutory nuisance'?
7. What if the council won't help?
8. Taking a case to court yourself
9. What can be done about anti-social behaviour?
10. Acceptable behaviour contracts
11. Anti-social behaviour orders
12. Further help
13. About this leaflet
The leaflets are regularly updated but the law may have changed since they were printed so the information in them may be incorrect or out of date.