Disputes with neighbours can become an absolute nightmare with arguments ranging from nuisance pets to too much noise to overgrown gardens.
Now two associate professors from The University of Law, which has a campus in Chester, who teach the Master of Law (LLM) courses, have put together ways to deal with common neighbourly complaints.
Peter Goodchild and Judith Embley teach the LLM courses that help non-lawyers specialise in a particular practice area and give lawyers qualified in another country a full grasp of English law. The year-long programme focuses on using the law in a practical way.
Most people should expect some reasonable, occasional noise from neighbours, whether that’s doing DIY in the house, playing music in the back garden or having guests over.
However, if you feel that the noise is excessive, especially during night time hours (11pm–7am), then you are within your right to resolve the problem. The first recommendation is to politely ask them to reduce the noise - often people aren’t aware of how loud they are being.
If this doesn’t do the trick, you can complain to your local council which, under the Noise Act 1996, can investigate your complaint. If your local council agree that your complaint is valid then they can issue a warning, fixed penalty notice or even seize noisemaking equipment.
Man’s best friend may not always be neighbour’s best friend. Sometimes neighbours may have disruptive or aggressive pets. This can often be intimating and end up being a tricky situation to deal with.
Issues with pets, especially dogs, fall under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. Any issues with dogs can be reported to your local authority, who has the power to issue Acceptable Behaviour Contracts, Community Protection Notices, Dog Control Orders and in extreme cases Civil Injunction or Criminal Behaviour orders.
OVER THE HEDGE
During the spring and summer months, gardens, hedges and trees can quickly become overgrown and spread into a neighbouring property.
Although this can be an inconvenience, the first step when dealing with a neighbour’s unruly garden is to try and resolve the issue by speaking to them, to see if you can work together to resolve the issue.
If this doesn’t work then you are within your rights to trim branches or roots that cross into your property from a neighbour’s property or a public road.
Be sure to check the official boundaries for your property in your legal paper work first, as you’re only within your rights to trim any overgrown hedges over the boundaries - any more than this and your neighbour could take you to court for damaging their property.
With regards to garden issues, you must try to settle a dispute informally before the council may become involved.
Complain to the council if the problem garden has two or more mostly evergreen or semi-evergreen trees or shrubs, plants or trees that are over two metres tall, or are affecting your enjoyment of your home or garden. Keep in mind that you might have to pay the council a fee to consider your complaint.
Aside from noise, there are many different behaviours that are classified as antisocial which can be a huge nuisance for neighbourhoods.
Acts such as littering, street drinking and misuse of fireworks all fall under this category.
ASBOs don’t exist anymore to be issued to problem neighbours; instead, under the Crime and Policing Act 2014, there are several alternative measures including injunction and dispersal powers, which means that they are able to disperse gatherings or seize equipment that is causing the anti-social behaviour.
If you have neighbours whose actions can be classed as antisocial, it’s always best to contact your local authority for advice on ways that they can be dealt with.
For more news and advice from The University of Law, visit: https://www.law.ac.uk/