Disputes between neighbours can be unpleasant, and can soon escalate if not dealt with quickly and effectively. In this article, we’re sharing our tips on how to handle a neighbour dispute as a landlord.
Being a landlord involves a number of responsibilities, and more than a few challenges. When a dispute arises between your tenant and their neighbours, this can quickly escalate and can even result in expensive property litigation.
In this article, we’re sharing our tips on how to handle a neighbour dispute as a landlord.
What kind of disputes occur between neighbours?
When people live closely together, they won’t always get along as well as could be hoped. There are a number of different types of disputes which can make peoples’ lives difficult. In this section, we’ll take a look at some of these:
One of the most common disputes to occur between neighbours comes in the form of arguments about parking. In the UK, residential parking is often limited and, when people return home after a long day at work, the last thing they feel like doing is driving around to try and find somewhere to park their car as their neighbour has taken the space.
Arguments over parking can escalate over time and, shockingly, these have resulted in altercations between neighbours and, in some instances, murder. One such tragic case occurred in 2022 when former soldier, Collin Reeves, murdered his neighbours Jennifer and Stephen Chapple over a residential parking dispute in Somerset.
Another common one – persistent noise from a neighbour’s home or garden can quickly wear down a neighbour’s nerves. Whether it’s loud music, a barking dog or loud arguments, noise complaints between neighbours are incredibly common in the UK.
Many Brits are a houseproud lot, and tempers can fray when a neighbour uses their front garden as a dumping ground, or leaves the bins overflowing on a regular basis.
How to handle a neighbour dispute as a landlord
Handling Neighbour Disputes as a Landlord
While your tenants are the people who are living there, the property is still your responsibility as a landlord. You may, therefore, be required to step in if a dispute occurs between your tenant and the neighbours. In this section, we’ll share our tips on handling a dispute quickly and efficiently:
Look to the law
In some cases, a neighbour dispute can be resolved by evoking the law. For example, if your tenant is playing loud music – but only after 8am and before 11pm – this may be annoying but, technically, is not illegal. Similarly, if a car parking space or section of driveway is allocated to your property, you should be able to provide evidence of this to discourage the neighbour from using the space without permission.
If the neighbour is repeatedly acting in a way which may contravene the law, it’s a good idea to speak with a property solicitor who will be able to advise you on your rights which may include a council warning for the neighbour.
Attempt a compromise
A landlord will often need to play peacekeeper between a tenant and a neighbour, and compromise and diplomacy are your best bet here. Try to reach an agreement between the two – for example, the barking dog will be kept indoors at certain times of day or night in order to minimise the disruption to the neighbours. If both neighbours are prepared to be reasonable, trying to resolve things peacefully is by far the best way for everybody concerned.
If your tenant is the one who is regularly – and unreasonably – causing problems with a neighbour, you are within your rights to issue them a written warning stating that they will face eviction if the behaviour continues. This should also be laid out in your tenancy agreement to which your tenants are bound.
While a warning will hopefully be sufficient in discouraging the tenant from anti-social behaviour which antagonises the neighbour, you do need to be prepared to follow through by serving a notice of eviction if the behaviour by the tenant does continue.
When a dispute occurs between two neighbours, it will often bubble away on a fairly low heat for some time before exploding. As a landlord, it’s a good idea to ask all tenants to let you know about any such neighbour disputes – however small.
This allows you to keep records about any problems occurring around your property. These records will stand you in good stead should the situation escalate into a full blown war which may require seeking legal advice.
Keeping the peace as a landlord
In the UK, most people have some form of complaint against a neighbour – whether it’s an annoying habit, such as smoking in their garden or using foul language when you have children in the house. In most cases, neighbours simply find a way to live with these niggles, however, this is not always the case.
To begin with, it’s a good idea to encourage your tenant to have a civil conversation with the neighbour in the hope that a mutually satisfactory resolution can be reached. If, however, this proves not to be possible, you will, as a landlord, need to be prepared to step in either as mediator, or to throw around some legal clout in order to nip the issue in the bud.
Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained property dispute professional. Be sure to consult a property dispute professional if you’re seeking advice about a property dispute. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.