Resolving Neighbour Issues – Step by step guide
Neighbour disputes are not uncommon and do happen from time to time. At Aragon Housing Association (AHA), we have found the best way for residents to address minor problems and nuisances is to deal with these yourself. If that seems a little daunting, here is some advice on how to go about it. Firstly, your neighbour may be quite unaware they are causing a problem. If you approach them calmly and discuss what is annoying you, they may be quite understanding. Usually this is much better than letting things build up and having a shouting match, or writing angry letters, when it could all have been sorted out easily.
Advice before approaching a neighbour
- Be well prepared, think about what you want to say.
- Keep the message simple and straightforward to avoid any misunderstanding.
- Stick to the point and try not to get diverted onto other subjects.
- Plan what kind of solution you would like from the discussion and make that clear. Be willing to be flexible.
- Choose a good moment – both for you and your neighbour, when their attention is not elsewhere.
- Choose a time when you are not feeling angry.
- Before you talk to your neighbour, try talking to another person e.g. a friend or acquaintance to rehearse what you plan to say.
- Give some consideration to which adult in your neighbour’s household you would prefer to speak to.
Some useful tips during the discussion
- Stay calm and friendly.
- Explain the problem clearly and how your life is being affected by the other person’s behaviour.
- Give your neighbour the chance to reply and explain their side.
- Try not to interrupt the other person when they are talking.
- Don’t try and shout your neighbour down or become abusive. Don’t make it a personal attack on the other person’s character.
- Stick to the current problem – try not to drag up a whole catalogue of complaints from the past.
- Always suggest a solution if you believe there is one and be flexible where possible.
- If discussion leads to an argument, it is probably best to withdraw at that point.
- If you feel concerned about aggressive or threatening behaviour, please end the discussion politely and contact your housing officer for further advice.
Use our antisocial behaviour (ASB) toolkit to work out what is and what is not antisocial behaviour, and what steps you need to take to resolve the issue yourself, or progress the matter if you are unable to resolve the matter. However if the antisocial behaviour puts you, your family or property in immediate danger you should always ring 999. If the antisocial behaviour incident is a police issue, but not an emergency, please call 101.
If you feel things cannot be resolved, and communication with your neighbour has broken down, AHA can offer assistance from the mediation service, where a trained independent third party can assist you to sort out your differences. Mediation is used to encourage communication between all parties involved, with a view to reaching an amicable outcome for all parties. Mediation will normally be most successful if referred to early on in the dispute and it is suggested that this is the first remedy for consideration. If the parties are reluctant to meet, the officer can discuss the option of shuttle mediation where the mediator acts as a go-between, instead of having a meeting. You should discuss this with your housing officer who will make the arrangements for you.
Ongoing antisocial behaviour causing harassment, alarm or distress to members of the public in our area may need further intervention by organisations such as the Council, Police, health organisation, and registered social landlords. Together they may be able to find a solution by completing a joint case review and action plan.
Victims and/or complainants are entitled to apply for a review of their case if they feel the problem has not been resolved, despite having previously reported it to one or more agencies and even if those agencies had supported a joint action plan.
The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, sets out the requirement for local authorities and others to make arrangements for, and to carry out, Anti-Social Behaviour Case Reviews – otherwise known as the ‘Community Trigger’. There are certain criteria that need to be met in order for antisocial behaviour cases to be considered for a case review.
For more information about the criteria and case review process please find your local council here