Good neighbours

We all have different values, opinions, timetables, and expectations of others. Sometimes this can result in disputes, but it is important to remember that being a good neighbour involves compromise.

If this is the first time you’ve experienced a problem with a neighbour, it might be best to ignore it – as it could be a one-off event. Although these events might disturb you, a bit of tolerance might be all that is needed.

Wherever possible, and when it is safe to do so, the first thing to do it to try talking. Neighbours might not realise that their behaviour is causing a problem. It is important to be reasonable and avoid confrontation. In many cases, we will not investigate a complaint if you haven’t tried to speak to your neighbour, unless you don’t think it is safe to do so.

How should I approach my neighbour if there’s a problem?

If you decide to approach your neighbour, try to remember to:

  • pick a time when you are feeling calm. Shouting or being angry will cause more problems
  • think through what you want to say, and don’t stray from the main problem
  • dealing with the issue face-to-face can be more informal
  • if speaking to them face-to-face isn’t possible – try delivering a short, polite, note
  • explain what is causing you an issue, and why
  • listen to the other person’s response – they might have a good reason for their behaviour, or it might have been a one-off occasion
  • try to reach a solution you are both happy with
  • walk away if you or the other person is getting angry.

If the problem you are experiencing is caused by children, do not approach them directly – speak to their parents if you can.

Keeping the noise down

Remember that no home is totally soundproof – everyone can expect to hear some noise from neighbours. There are things you can do to minimise disturbance – or that it might be possible to agree between neighbours.

  • Keep TVs and music to a reasonable level – especially in the summer when open windows or doors will let the noise travel further.
  • Keep TVs and sound equipment away from party walls (those you share with a neighbour) and off the floor, wherever possible.
  • If you’re having a party, let your neighbours know with plenty of notice, so that they are prepared, and let them know when it will finish.
  • Ask guests to keep noise to a minimum if they’re leaving your home late at night.