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Neighbour Disputes

Legally reviewed by:
Wyn Legal team

Neighbour disputes can be extremely stressful, not least because it is often very difficult to escape the issue given the geographical proximity of neighbours and neighbouring properties. Examples of neighbour disputes include noise complaints, trees and hedge overgrowth complaints and overhanging property (such as gutters).

Neighbours arguing, dogs barking and loud music are all common examples of noise complaints our solicitors have dealt with. Whilst some noise is considered unavoidable and incidental to the fact that many properties in the United Kingdom are within close proximity to each other, this can become a problem where noise volume or duration becomes excessive. If you have a noisy neighbour, you may consider taking the following steps prior to contacting a solicitor:

  1. Speaking informally to your neighbour with a view of resolving the matter.
  2. Inviting your neighbour to attend a neighbour mediation with a view of negotiating a way to resolve the noise nuisance. Our team can assist you with mediation should your neighbour agree to attend.
  3. If your neighbour occupies the neighbouring property in their capacity as a tenant, you may consider writing to the landlord. If you are unable to locate the landlord, our team may be able to assist you with this.
  4. It would also be advisable for you to keep a diary of the dates, times and duration of the noise.

If you are unable to resolve the noise dispute via the methods set out above, our team can assist with the following:

  1. Writing a formal letter to your neighbour to cease the noise nuisance. 
  2. Liaising with the Environmental Health Officer at the local authority to ensure they have sufficiently and adequately resolved the noise nuisance.
  3. Assist you in making a  court injunction application to prevent any further nuisance.

Overgrowth of hedges and trees which encroach onto neighbouring properties can also be a source of significant dispute between neighbours. Whilst a slight encroachment may not be overly problematic, if the issue is left, it is likely to cause issues for neighbours and heighten the potential for dispute. Generally, hedges should not be more than 2 metres tall or affect your enjoyment of the property. 

If you have a tree or hedge which is overgrowing, you may consider taking the following steps:

  1. Asking your neighbour to trim back the tree or hedge.
  2. The person complaining may trim the tree or hedge to the boundary line and the trimmings should be returned to your neighbour. However, caution should be taken before taking this step to ensure that you have in fact only trimmed to the boundary and that any trees you have cut are not subject to a Tree Protection Order (TPO). 

Our team can assist you with:

  1. Engaging formally with your neighbour regarding the overgrowth.
  2. Facilitating a negotiation or mediation exercise.
  3. Liaising formally with the Local Authority should this be needed.
  4. Obtaining an expert surveyors report if there is a dispute regarding the boundary line.
  5. Assisting you with a court application to compel the removal of encroaching trees or hedges should this be necessary.

There is often a dispute about the owner of the airspace above a property. As a general rule, you own the airspace above your property and therefore, this can result in overhanging property such as a gutter, encroaching a neighbouring property resulting in a trespass. Where you believe there is an overhang of a neighbouring property, we can assist you with the following:

  1. Reviewing the title deeds to the property and the neighbouring property as assess whether there is a right for the overhanging property.
  2. Consider whether the overhanging property has been in existence for more than twenty years, in which case assess the merits to a prescriptive right for the overhang.
  3. Consider whether the overhanging property has been in existence for more than 12 years and if so, we can assess the merits of an adverse possession claim.
  4. Where there is a clear trespass, we will assist you in liaising with your neighbours and if necessary, surveyors to resolve the issue, failing which we will assist you with a court application.

We assist both claimants and defendants in neighbour disputes. We understand that swift and robust action is generally required. Therefore, we can assist you with the following:

  1. Taking time to understand the matter and the factual matrix surrounding the complaint. 
  2. Drafting or responding to a cease and desist letter (usually within 24 hours of being instructed).
  3. Drafting a formal letter before action.
  4. Partaking or taking the lead on mediation.
  5. Represent and guide you throughout the court process.
Evict A Tenant Chigwell, UK