How to complain about a neighbour to the council?

NEIGHBOURLY disputes are not uncommon, with many of us struggling to agree with those living next door.

From disruptive planning permission to noise complaints, you can tackle the issue of nuisance neighbours though your local council.

How to complain about a neighbour to the council

If you have tried and failed to resolve your neighbourly issue by talking to your neighbour you can approach your local council.

Your local council can step in if the dispute involves any activity that is a nuisance or could damage your health.

To complain all you need to do is contact your local council, many have a specialist team to deal with disputes of this nature.

One of the most common neighbourly issues is excessive or unreasonable noise levels.

This can also cover artificial light or a build up of rubbish that could possibly cause harm.


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Excessive amounts of any of the following could also be handled by the council:

  • dust
  • steam
  • smell
  • insects
  • fumes
  • smoke
  • gases

What is classed as unreasonable noise from neighbours?

It is hard to define unreasonable noise as this differs from person to person.

Generally if the noise is loud and occurs often – especially at night – it can be considered unreasonable.

Pets that bark or squawk loudly and constantly can fall under this but a new-born baby crying is unlikely to be classed as a statutory nuisance.

A statutory nuisance is a legal term and covers significant or unreasonable noise which stops you enjoying your property.

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The council can issue a noise abatement order if they believe the noise levels to be unreasonable.

This means your noisy neighbour must stop making the noise or face legal action.

Breaking the abatement order can result in fines up to £5,000 or up to £20,000 for a factory or business.

What to do about intimidating neighbours?

Before approaching your council you should always try to compromise with your neighbours.

Ask them to keep their dog inside at night or to impose a curfew for their child's drum practice.

If their behaviour crosses into verbal abuse and intimidation that can be classed as antisocial behaviour.

You can ask the police to get involved your neighbours are rowdy or inconsiderate, damage your property or dump rubbish.

In this case injunctions can be imposed, fines can be handed out, or courts could make Criminal Behaviour Orders (formerly known as ASBOs).

For extreme cases the nuisance neighbours can be evicted or rehoused.

You need to keep a log of all the incidents so you can accurately report the issue.

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In the event of an emergency, such as if your neighbour physically attacks you, always call 999.

Bare in mind that just because you find a noise or habit irritating, itdoes not mean your neighbour is causing a statutory nuisance.

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