Dealing with neighbour disputes

Getting on with your neighbours creates a friendly and pleasant environment for you all to live in. It can also mean you have someone to reach out to in an emergency.

Neighbour disputes are not uncommon. The quickest way to address minor problems and nuisances are to deal with these yourself. Your neighbour may be unaware they are causing a problem. They may be reacting to an action you are unaware you are doing also.

If you approach them calmly to discuss what your concerns are, they may understand. This is better than letting things build up, arguing or writing angry letters.

Easy steps you can take to resolve issues with neighbours 

Better communication means we can build friendships, lasting bonds and strong communities within Bedford Borough.

Take time to prepare for the conversation before approaching your neighbour

  • Be well prepared, think about what you want to say.
  • Keep the message simple and straightforward to avoid any misunderstanding.
  • Stick to the point and try not to get diverted onto other subjects.
  • Plan what kind of solution you would like from the discussion and make that clear.
  • Listen to the other party.
  • Be willing to be flexible.
  • Choose a good moment – both for you and your neighbour.
  • Choose a time when you are not feeling angry.
  • Try talking to another person first and get feedback, for example a friend or acquaintance to rehearse what you plan to say.
  • Think about which adult in their household you would prefer to speak to.
  • If children are causing the problem, don’t talk to them, speak to the parents/carers.
  • Acknowledge individual household differences.
  • Think about your effects on others, possibly explain their effects on you.
  • Take advantage of community gatherings.

Tips for during the discussion

  • Stay calm and friendly.
  • Explain the problem and how your life is being affected by the other person’s behaviour.
  • Give your neighbour the chance to reply and explain their side.
  • Try not to interrupt the other person when they are talking.
  • Don’t try and shout your neighbour down or become abusive.
  • Don’t make it a personal attack on the other person’s character.
  • Stick to the current problem – try not to drag up a whole catalogue of complaints from the past.
  • Always suggest a solution if you believe there is one and be flexible where possible.
  • If discussion leads to an argument, it is best to leave at that point.
  • If you feel concerned about aggressive or threatening behaviour, politely end the discussion.