How to ensure your relationship with your neighbours doesn’t become hot and bothered

Sahib Ullah Raj from DAS Law explores the various disputes between neighbours and explains the legal options available.

11th September 2023

As we move towards the autumn, the coming weekend will grace us with a last blast of sunshine. Temperatures are expected to reach 30 degrees centigrade in some parts of the UK, providing a great opportunity for people to barbeque and party outdoors before the chill of the latter months of the year arrives.

However, the way we enjoy this weekend may cause discontent between neighbours, as loud noise and the results of alcoholic indulgence may negatively impact those around us.

My neighbours are constantly creating noise, what can I do? Can I sue for damages if the noise is disturbing mine and my family’s peace and quiet?

In the first instance it would be worth speaking with the neighbour to see if there is anything they can do to stop the noise. The nuisance can be reported to the council who may investigate and take enforcement action. If the local authority is unwilling to become involved, then a criminal nuisance claim can be started. 

Alternatively, there is also the option of bringing a civil nuisance claim for an injunction and damages.  Each case will however revolve around its own facts and awards that will vary dependant on the severity of the situation.

My neighbour is having a large party, and some of their guests have parked in my drive, can I block them in?

If someone has parked on your driveway and you were to block them in, your vehicle may be causing an obstruction to the public highway, and this is a criminal offence. So, the owner of the vehicle could call the police. 

My car was damaged/vandalised by a guest attending a neighbour's party – Can I claim the cost of repair from my neighbour?

Unless the neighbour themself is at fault, they cannot be pursued for a situation caused by a third party. There has to be an element of culpability if you wanted to claim the costs of repairs from your neighbour, perhaps if they had created the dangerous situation.

What recourse do I have if my neighbour’s barbeque is causing a nuisance?

If your neighbour’s barbeque is affecting you, the first step would be to raise it with the neighbour to make them aware of the impact.

If this fails, then you may be able to get a court order restricting the neighbour’s ability to have a barbeque.  But the occasional barbeque is unlikely to amount to a legal nuisance and legal advice should be sought when considering legal action against your neighbour.

However, if you neighbour is burning hazardous material, you can report the neighbour to the environmental health team within your local authority.

General advice

We would always advise diplomacy when dealing with people who live near you; seeking legal guidance for your exact circumstances can give clarity to the situation. Legal expenses insurance sold as an add-on to or as part of your home insurance may provide cover for legal disputes with neighbours and often come with access to a legal advice helpline.

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