Do you have a dispute with your neighbour?

Christopher Shepherd, Partner & Head of Litigation of Courtyard Solicitors in Wimbledon, London and Totnes, Devon has some important advice if you are currently experiencing problems with your neighbour, about what to do, and what not to do.

Do's Don'ts

Do consider the advice and information on
Don’t suffer in silence! Your home should be a place of peace and refuge. If your neighbour’s acts are a source of aggravation, you should seek advice.
Do bear in mind the wide scope of neighbour disputes – some will be much more serious than others; so tailor your approach accordingly. Don’t write aggressive letters or anonymous notes to your neighbours. This can often just make the situation much worse than it was beforehand.
Do consider contacting your neighbour in a friendly and direct manner, preferably by speaking to them. If that does not seem feasible, contact your neighbour’s landlord, the council or some other third party to intervene on your behalf. Don’t allow inexperienced or aggressive lawyers to escalate the dispute on your behalf by writing formal, threatening letters at the outset of a dispute.  This runs the risk of alienating your neighbours and make the dispute worse. It may also cost you a great deal of money in wasted legal fees.
Do try to use a mediation service of some sort rather than escalating the dispute through the courts.  Information on mediation is available from councils, local County Courts and the Citizens Advice Bureau. Don’t make the mistake of thinking issuing proceedings at the County Court  will speedily solve your problems.  Sometimes going to Court is the only option. But the procedure is lengthy, stressful, uncertain and expensive.  County Court Judges don’t approve of neighbour disputes coming before them. They will usually order  the parties to mediate before allowing a Trial.
Do find a solicitor who is attuned to the modern methods of solving disputes if you need legal advice.

Don’t plant trees, establish a new hedge, erect a fence or carry out building work on your property without thinking about the affect on your neighbours. It usually makes sense to discuss potentially difficult matters with your neighbours before starting work.

Please email us if you need advice with an ongoing dispute with a neighbour, Courtyard Solicitors have experienced solicitors who can help you try and resolve your issue as painlessly as possible.