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Your Rights Against Troublesome Neighbours

By: Thomas Muller - Updated: 9 Jul 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Neighbours Noise Environmental

Troublesome neighbours can seriously damage the quality of home life, but not only do you have the right to live in peace but the legal rights too.

Neighbour Trouble

Whether it’s head thumping bass of a stereo, persistent shrieks of an over active child or loud footsteps, the chief neighbour nuisance is noise, but neighbours can also make life hell through destructive children, ill-trained dogs, ill-kempt trees and hedges, poor rubbish management and abusive or harassing behaviour.

Whatever the incitement, if the actions of your neighbours are making your life a misery and they are not responsive to polite requests to stop then you need to be aware of what rights are available to you.

The Noise and Environmental Protection Acts

As a particularly common grievance, excessive noise falls under the control of two main pieces of legislation.

The Noise Act 1996 gives the council the powers to order neighbours to cease their noisy exploits immediately. They can also confiscate noise-making devices, such as the TV or stereo, and issue a fine. It is the council’s decision to implement any preventative action and so the grievance should be raised with them for their consideration.

If you can reliably anticipate your neighbour’s noisy pursuits then alternatively you could invite the local authority over to witness the act. If they agree then they can serve an abatement law under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (Control of Pollution Act in Scotland).

You are also entitled to take out private action by applying to your local magistrates court. If you are in Scotland then you can take action through a solicitor to the Sheriff's Court.

Environmental Protection Act for Non-Noise

The Environment Protection Act is a far-reaching law that is also a valuable piece of legislation for a host of other non-noise issues where your neighbour poses further threats to environmental well-being.

For instance, it can be used if you live next door to someone who has living habits that could be construed as being a health hazard, such as if they use their garden as a vermin-friendly rubbish heap. In such a situation you should contact your local council’s Environmental Health department.

Housing Act

If your neighbours are engaging in anti-social behaviour that doesn’t fall within the remit of the noise or environmental protection acts then the Housing Act 1996 might prove a valuable ally.

Under this law, you can appeal to the High Court or County Court to grant an injunction to stop neighbours from "engaging or threatening to engage in conduct causing or likely to cause a nuisance or annoyance." This could include neighbour behaviour deemed violent, destructive or disruptive. It also can be used to curb the use of residential premises for illegal or immoral purpose, including as a drug den or brothel.

If your neighbour has trouble keeping their dog’s toilet habits under control then this becomes an issue for the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996.

Protection from Harassment Act

Neighbours that target you personally with their behaviour, such as through verbal abuse, dumping litter in your garden, deliberately causing obstruction or any other efforts intended to make your home life a misery, then this then becomes an issue for the Protection from Harassment Act 1977.

It is an offence for an individual to conduct themselves in a way that amounts to harassment of others and, if found guilty, offenders can face up to six months in jail.

Crime and Disorder Act 1998If your neighbour’s bad behaviour, such as drunkenness, violence, damage, intimidation or verbal abuse, is not solely directed at you but affecting the neighbourhood as a whole then your rights to curtail their anti-social activities are supported by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

This act rebuts the notion that a child is incapable of crime. You can appeal to the police for a criminal behaviour order or an injunction under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. If the individual has behaved in a manner "that caused or was likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress" then they can be restricted from entering a specific geographical area or banned from certain acts.

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my mother lives in a council property and the neighbour is nasty to her she is 72 he is 35they got off on the wrong footover him walking his dog past her window and scaring her cat she asked if he would walk the other way so not to upset the cat he got nasty with her and started been horrid playing loud music with other tennants on the council row of flats this escelated he talks about her outside to everyone who visits saying nasty things about her she tries to stay out of her flat in nice weather as they all come out and talk about her she is upset every day as he walks past her window staring and intimidating her . im at the end of my teather now as i tried reasoning with him he was cicky and arrogant with me also . yes the police and council have been involved. no joy from them , im just short of giving him a good thump as i dont know what to do to help my poor mum its taking over her life,, what can i do .
dee - 9-Jul-18 @ 12:24 AM
Hi all I have a nuisance neighbour next door since they moved in they play music loud on a weeknight sometimes until the early hours. To the point were the Police there to ask them to stop. The kids are never asked to keep the noise down in the garden not that I have an issue with kids being kids but this isnt playing this is more shouting and arguing and their parents just shout at them. They had a dog that attacked my dog and pulled wife to the floor. Luckily no injuries. Recently we had a a BBQ when the England game was on. After the evening game we left ours and sat in the other neighbours garden. As time went on my neighbours music was louder and it was late. We were greeted with verbal abuse from the nuisance neighbour to the point there was a heated verbal exchange with one of my family members. So the music finished we went in. I have complained to the local housing authority about previous behaviour and as up to now nothing has been done. That have just asked me too keep recording the noise on my phone and keep complaining because I couldn't ask them to keep it down.. I am now at the point where my wife and I are not enjoying our home that we have worked tirelessly to create to the point we now want to sell our property. But this brings another obstacle as I have to advise the new purchaser of what the neighbours are like. I am at my wits end I am usually a strong character but this is slowly eating away at me to the point we are both anxious about what is going to happen next and are getting very upset with it all. Can anyone help
Matt1984 - 8-Jul-18 @ 8:50 PM
Tomtom36 - Your Question:
Hi there. I don’t think there is much I can do but just wanted to get some off my chest. We have lived in a terraced house for 8years, in a fairly ok neighbourhood. Our next door neighbours who moved in after is however where a nightmare. Drugs/shouting/police you name it. I put up with it for three years before they were eventually chucked out. We now have lovely neighbours who bought the house and they are great! 12 months later however we now have neighbours behind us. And they are worse. Drugs, loud music, screaming arguments and a dog that just likes barking! I’ve always suffered with anxiety but maintained it very well however since our neighbours at the back moved in, I’ve now lost all interest in life. My weight has dramatically dropped (11pounds in two weeks) And my anxiety is just in constant overdrive. Things got so bad yesterday that I started having spasms in my hands and legs and an emergency doctor had to come out a sedate me! Absolutely ridiculous. The main problem is I don’t know if it’s just me being over sensitive because of our original bad neighbours and my issues or if they really are a problem. I’ve tried everything to just ignore it but I feel it’s slowly killing me. The problem is that really bothers me is that they are just not nice people. Constantly swearing or arguing. And you can here every word! Then at the weekend it’s RandB/rap music blasting loud with offensive lyrics!! Why can’t people just be a bit more respectful. I don’t know how much more I can take. I really am scared.

Our Response:
If the noise is really inconsiderate, you should try complaining to environmental health anyway, they may be able to do some thing.
SaferHouses - 5-Jul-18 @ 3:10 PM
Hi there. I don’t think there is much I can do but just wanted to get some off my chest. We have lived in a terraced house for 8years, in a fairly ok neighbourhood. Our next door neighbours who moved in after is however where a nightmare. Drugs/shouting/police you name it. I put up with it for three years before they were eventually chucked out. We now have lovely neighbours who bought the house and they are great! 12 months later however we now have neighbours behind us. And they are worse. Drugs, loud music, screaming arguments and a dog that just likes barking! I’ve always suffered with anxiety but maintained it very well however since our neighbours at the back moved in, I’ve now lost all interest in life. My weight has dramatically dropped (11pounds in two weeks) And my anxiety is just in constant overdrive. Things got so bad yesterday that I started having spasms in my hands and legs and an emergency doctor had to come out a sedate me! Absolutely ridiculous. The main problem is I don’t know if it’s just me being over sensitive because of our original bad neighbours and my issues or if they really are a problem. I’ve tried everything to just ignore it but I feel it’s slowly killing me. The problem is that really bothers me is that they are just not nice people. Constantly swearing or arguing. And you can here every word! Then at the weekend it’s RandB/rap music blasting loud with offensive lyrics!! Why can’t people just be a bit more respectful. I don’t know how much more I can take. I really am scared.
Tomtom36 - 2-Jul-18 @ 7:15 PM
Hya everyone joined just now my husband and I both pensioners me with lots off illnesses. We are plagued by a group family who choose to BOCK our pavement sun bathing etc please help we are very vunerable and feel intimidated is it illegal to block p.f. Would really love your help thanks ever so much
Titch - 29-Jun-18 @ 3:32 PM
Fatty- Your Question:
I have lived in my housing association flat for 17years,I am on the top floor or a 3 story block consisting of 6 flats, a new tenant moved in about 3/4 months ago, we do not have a cleaning service provided, I have maintained the two flights of stairs and two landing leading to my flat and 1 other flat, the new tenant was washing my area, which she doesn’t need to use to gain access to her property or for any other reason, my stairs are cleaned at least 4 times a month , there is no litter dust rubbish on my stairs, when I requested she stop and only clean her area, she became verbally abusive , if I slip or fall on the stairs who is would I make a claim against, the housing association have told me to suck it up when I tried to complain about said tenant,

Our Response:
We can't give you individual legal advice about claims etc. We are inclined to agree with the Housing Association here.
SaferHouses - 26-Jun-18 @ 12:16 PM
I have lived in my housing association flat for 17years,I am on the top floor or a 3 story block consisting of 6 flats, a new tenant moved in about 3/4 months ago, we do not have a cleaning service provided, I have maintained the two flights of stairs and two landing leading to my flat and 1 other flat, the new tenant was washing my area, which she doesn’t need to use to gain access to her property or for any other reason, my stairs are cleaned at least 4 times a month , there is no litter dust rubbish on my stairs, when I requested she stop and only clean her area, she became verbally abusive , if I slip or fall on the stairs who is would I make a claim against, the housing association have told me to suck it up when I tried to complain about said tenant,
Fatty - 25-Jun-18 @ 8:25 AM
On 27th May I posted a comment asking for advice. I still haven't had a response. Please do so. Thank you...
Kamodo - 20-Jun-18 @ 3:13 PM
My next door flat neighbour have been playing loud music until 6 o clock every morning for the past 4 weeks now. we have spoken to her to ask to keep the noise down but she just basically laugh in my face so we've called the council because we live in a council flat and they have had a word with her but she will just keep doing it. she also had two young daughters who she always shouts, scream and swears at and she also is breeding dogs who always bark until early hours of the morning and they are so thin and she never walks them. we can't take much more of this we don't know what we can do please help me.
Helpme - 15-Jun-18 @ 5:05 PM
Hazo - Your Question:
I initially spoke to the planning department who when inspected the moving of the fence & drain alterations stated everything was fine & not going against planning permission. I then involved the council flood strategy engineer who stated the works done on the drain where fine also even though it went against the original planning permission. He then went on to add that Land Grabs go on all the time and only get reported by Bad Neighbors like myself !! My next avenue was Morris Homes again who are still deliberating if it is actually their land, we have sent solicitors letters asking them to resolve the situation which they have ignored. We finally had a meeting back in October at my property with the council & Morris Homes who still say they are not fully sure if they own the land - land registry, the council & our solicitor all say they do ! They also stated it was of no value to them so they aren’t concerned with the issue. I am awaiting a response from Morris Homes solicitors on their next course of action !

Our Response:
They may not be concerned with the neighbours taking over the land but someone should still be responsible for the flooding issue if it wasn't there originally. Your solicitor doesn't sound too effective here. It may be that you need to take action directly against the neighbour as they are party responsible for the changes. Get the "flood strategy engineer" to confirm his/her opinion in a document for you. Common law requires that a property owner uses their property or land in a way that does not increase the risk of flooding to a neighbouring property so you may be able to take a civil action against the neighbour.
SaferHouses - 8-Jun-18 @ 12:25 PM
I initially spoke to the planning department who when inspected the moving of the fence & drain alterations stated everything was fine & not going against planning permission. I then involved the council flood strategy engineer who stated the works done on the drain where fine also even though it went against the original planning permission. He then went on to add that Land Grabs go on all the time and only get reported by Bad Neighbors like myself !! My next avenue was Morris Homes again who are still deliberating if it is actually their land, we have sent solicitors letters asking them to resolve the situation which they have ignored. We finally had a meeting back in October at my property with the council & Morris Homes who still say they are not fully sure if they own the land - land registry, the council & our solicitor all say they do ! They also stated it was of no value to them so they aren’t concerned with the issue. I am awaiting a response from Morris Homes solicitors on their next course of action !
Hazo - 6-Jun-18 @ 6:58 PM
hi, some kids about 10 to 13 years old knocked on my door last night at 10:00 pm. Its not the first time it has happened. A week before someone had left food in our metal recycling bin. A few days before they had left an half eaten orange on our window sil. Before that we have had several door knocks. I called the council to give me advice and they said to call the non emergency police who would log it. I also email my local police team . They said they would work with police to find the perpretrators. After last night , I reported it to the police and he said that there was nothing that could be done unless it was more than one incident. I said its happened a few times.He asked if I wanted it to be sent to the local neighbourhood police team. I said yes. I think the police have not taken me seriously. Im on edge from the door knocks .
citycentre - 6-Jun-18 @ 4:22 PM
Hazo - Your Question:
I have lived in my property for 18 yrs, to the rear of my boundary fence there is a natural field drain. A new estate was build behind my fence approx 8 years ago & the planning permission stated the field drain should be left in its true state & free flowing therefore a 3 meter gap was left between my garden & the new gardens.The land on which the field drain runs is owned by Morris Homes. Approx 3 years ago the new estate property owners decided to land grab , move their fence & butted it up to mine making mine impossible to maintain. They have also put membrane & shingle in the drain when in heavy rain causes flooding in our garden as we are considerably lower lying. They are also cutting my hedge which they say is overhanging this land which they have now claimed.We have approached our local council who aren’t concerned by it. We have also spoke to Morris Homes who came to inspect the issue & stated they would address it for us. They then back tracked & stated they were not interested.The people are becoming verbally aggressive towards myself & my husband when we mention the works they have done are effecting our land. They also state the hedge is over their land which if they hadn’t moved the fence would still be a 3 meter gap.We are very upset & frustrated that nobody seems to want to help! My garden is at times so flooded it is unusable. Any suggestions.

Our Response:
Who have you spoken to at the council? If the planning permission condition was that the field drain should be left in its natural state and free flowing, then that's what should be done; the council should be willing to uphold a condition they imposed themselves. Get backin touch with them and ask why. If necessary ask your councillor for support. Morris Homes likewise should be able to help. Both organisations are probably hoping you will just leave it and they'll not have to bother taking any action. Talk to someone from the environement agency if you can - they may be able to give you some advice. As a last resort to talk to a legal professional but make sure you choose one that has a background/expertise in this kind of case.
SaferHouses - 6-Jun-18 @ 2:19 PM
I have lived in my property for 18 yrs, to the rear of my boundary fence there is a natural field drain. A new estate was build behind my fence approx 8 years ago & the planning permission stated the field drain should be left in its true state & free flowing therefore a 3 meter gap was left between my garden & the new gardens. The land on which the field drain runs is owned by Morris Homes. Approx 3 years ago the new estate property owners decided to land grab , move their fence & butted it up to mine making mine impossible to maintain. They have also put membrane & shingle in the drain when in heavy rain causes flooding in our garden as we are considerably lower lying. They are also cutting my hedge which they say is overhanging this land which they have now claimed. We have approached our local council who aren’t concerned by it. We have also spoke to Morris Homes who came to inspect the issue & stated they would address it for us. They then back tracked & stated they were not interested. The people are becoming verbally aggressive towards myself & my husband when we mention the works they have done are effecting our land. They also state the hedge is over their land which if they hadn’t moved the fence would still be a 3 meter gap. We are very upset & frustrated that nobody seems to want to help! My garden is at times so flooded it is unusable. Any suggestions.
Hazo - 5-Jun-18 @ 5:19 PM
ASB Professional - Your Question:
The ASB, Crime & Policing Act of 2014 removed ASBO's from the powers available to councils and police to deal with ASB so this advice is incorrect.

Our Response:
Sorry we're not sure of your question?
SaferHouses - 1-Jun-18 @ 3:19 PM
The ASB, Crime & Policing Act of 2014 removed ASBO's from the powers available to councils and police to deal with ASB so this advice is incorrect.
ASB Professional - 31-May-18 @ 12:42 PM
been having a problem with my neighbour.moved in here sept 16..kind of inherited a cat left by previous tenant..fast forward to feb 18, neighbour got cat lifted by rspca, said it was fighting with her cats..long fight with rspca but eventually got her back. during that time i got another cat. problem cat has barely been outdoors since her return, my other cats been out twice..twice hes gone in her garden and twice shes turned hose on him..tonight having a bbq with family she was taking pictures of us from her bedroom window..is she allowed to be doing this
scotslass - 28-May-18 @ 12:17 AM
My landlord and some neighbours are accusing me of being a drug dealer. I don't commit any crimes civil or criminal. I take 42 doses of meds per day and am to ill to be going through this. This is having an effect upon my health physically/mentally. I stay at home often unable to go anywhere, unfortunately this means I'm exposed to more incidents of false accusations. I would like some advice on how I should react or bring some form of resolution. Landlord lives next door to me and the said neighbours are in same road. I don't want to move address because I need to get my illnesses under control and don't need the anxiety. Please help. Thank you
Kamodo - 27-May-18 @ 11:00 PM
Hi my neighbour is using the back garden as a rubbish tip which is attracting flies and smells awful there noisy constantly no materr what time and very inconsiderate they come out when we have leaft out house for the day and move there car further up the road and go back in just so we can’t park in our road we have to park at the bottom of the road.we have cameras outside that prove this.is there anything we can do to stop these things?
Farno - 27-May-18 @ 2:00 PM
Thamizh - Your Question:
Hi , I'm living in house for 21 years in my area there were no problems caused till 20 years.But now my neighbourhood rented a property for a family who doing a beef stall business.It's completely annoying me and we have reported the police and they told that he had a license and we couldn't do anything.I'm very depressed.It would be possible that to take any action with him.Thanks if you could help me to resolve this.

Our Response:
What kind of problems is this causing you? Sorry it's not clear.
SaferHouses - 14-May-18 @ 10:33 AM
Hi , I'm living in housefor 21 years in my area there were no problems caused till 20 years.But now my neighbourhood rented a property for a family who doing a beef stallbusiness.It's completely annoying me and we have reported the police and they told that he had a license and we couldn't do anything..I'm very depressed.It would be possible that to take any action with him.Thanks if you could help me to resolve this.
Thamizh - 13-May-18 @ 9:21 AM
I have lived in my housing association house for eighteen years with my 38 year old son, it is not a friendly area and we have always kept our selves to ourselves last year out of the blue my neighbour on the opposite side started filming my home on her mobile, a few weeks later she stood at the end of the drive and accused my son of filming her daughter I wasn't going to get into a slanging match with this woman as she is a right nasty piece of work she and her three friend in the close so I contacted the landlord and asked them to mediate I had them in the house and gave them full access to all areas including mobiles and Computers. They agreed that this woman and her friends were harassing us and they should stop they also said they could complain to them and they would not listen at the same time I told them I wanted to Move and this they are helping me to do I am just waiting for something suitable to become available, they telephoned all those involved and told them to stop their lies but instead they have just added to them shouting constant abuse accusing my son of being a paedophile and telling tales to the police about people we do not even know they have also posted his picture online somewhere as people we do not even recognize are abusing us we have contacted the ICO and are waiting to hear from them in the mean time we are terrified of going out and afraid to live in our own home the abuser next door is even putting a glass against the wall to listen to ourconversations I have not called the police because I do not think anything would come of it.
Bud - 6-May-18 @ 8:19 PM
The man upstairs is an alcoholic who constantly knocks my window bangs on it till it wakes me up rings my buzzer all the time at ridiculous times like 2am 3am 4am ect even 6am all because he’s too drunk to find his keys, I am 9 months pregnant and this has been going on for a while, the housing have done nothing, the police spoke to him and he told them he does not care, since then the issues have continued and nothing has been done, I cannot move houses as I can’t join the housing register because I’m not a priority and if I leave then the council won’t help as I’m classed as making myself homeless, I really don’t want to raise my child in this and I can’t deal with having a newborn and being constantly woken by an alcoholic it’s unfair, is there nothing I can do at all?
StressedMumToBe - 20-Mar-18 @ 2:48 AM
Hi. I live in a ground floor flat, the guy above me stomps on the floor if i make the slightest noise. When i say noise i mean things like mashing potatos, washing machine, closing a door (softly) the worst was when i had my grandchild round and she was in the bath splasing about, as a 2 year old does. Im fed up with it. I creep around my own home trying not to make a noise. He even swore at my 4 yr old grandchild when he came round as he shut a door too gard for his liking. The council are well aware of the issue and have been to see him after i filled in an antisocial behaviour diary. He goes quiet for a week or so then it starts again. Im looking to move asap.
Cantmakeasound - 15-Mar-18 @ 8:15 PM
Pen - Your Question:
My neighbour is building an extension on back of property. My problem is they have built up to party fence, they are putting two large vertical windows on the party fence wall, one of which is only 20” from my bay window. Their builder said council said ‘right and legalso long as they use obscure glass. The windows on my side are only 25 inch above my patio level. If this goes ahead it is as though neighbours have put an covenant on my property as we could never extend because of blocking their windows. How can this be legal?

Our Response:
The planning laws are quite clear about this - but check with planning and building control as obscure glass is not always feasible in a room that's lived in (usually only for bathrooms).
SaferHouses - 2-Mar-18 @ 12:54 PM
Ora - Your Question:
We live downstairs at a 1bed house (with my hubby) separete door from upstairs where is one 2bed flat. There are 6adults and 2-3?! children lives permanently. The kids are very active, they have loud footsteps even the adults does, they slaping the doors and shouting till midnight. The landlord does nothing. We cannot speak with the upstairs teanants because they dont speak english. We got 12 months contract there and still 9 months left. What is the possibilities?

Our Response:
You could try dropping a note in asking them to be a little quieter. If they don't speak English, a note will mean they can ask someone to help with translation. What has your landlord said? Ask them to: write to the tenants; put down carpet/more insulation etc. If the noise is often late at night (past 11pm), environmental health might be able to take action.
SaferHouses - 2-Mar-18 @ 10:48 AM
My neighbour is building an extension on back of property.My problem is they have built up to party fence,they are putting two large vertical windows on the party fence wall, one of which is only 20” from my bay window.Their builder said council said ‘right and legalso long as they use obscure glass.The windows on my side are only 25 inch above my patio level.If this goes ahead it is as though neighbours have put an covenant on my property as we could never extend because of blocking their windows.How can this be legal?
Pen - 28-Feb-18 @ 8:20 AM
We live downstairs at a 1bed house (with my hubby) separete door from upstairs where is one 2bed flat. There are 6adults and 2-3?! children lives permanently. The kids are very active, they have loud footsteps even the adults does, they slaping the doors and shouting till midnight. The landlord does nothing. We cannot speak with the upstairs teanants because they dont speak english. We got 12 months contract there and still 9 months left. What is the possibilities?
Ora - 27-Feb-18 @ 10:22 PM
Life’s hell- Your Question:
People upstairs from me are makeing our life’s hell ! They have laminate flooring threw the hole house ! The woman is abusive to my son and my misses as I’m writing this there stamping and dropping things on the floor !! They swarmed up the stairs makeing my dog bark ! And makeing barking sounds provoking the poor thing ! She hangs out the window swearing and shouting abuse at my misses ! And on a few times trying to attack her ! Most weekends she’s awake all night singing and stamping on the floor we’re so I go with this enough is enough ??

Our Response:
Assuming the neighbour is renting, first make a complaint to their landlord. Hopefully this will sort it out, if not, then you can contact environmental health about barking dogs and late night music.
SaferHouses - 27-Feb-18 @ 2:45 PM
People upstairs from me are makeing our life’s hell ! They have laminate flooring threw the hole house ! The woman is abusive to my son and my misses as I’m writing this there stamping and dropping things on the floor !! They swarmed up the stairs makeing my dog bark ! And makeing barking sounds provoking the poor thing ! She hangs out the window swearing and shouting abuse at my misses ! And on a few times trying to attack her ! Most weekends she’s awake all night singing and stamping on the floor we’re so I go with this enough is enough ??
Life’s hell - 25-Feb-18 @ 6:47 PM
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