What are the most common neighbour disputes you see? Have these increased during lockdown?
The most common neighbour disputes tend to be nuisance claims or trespass claims, particularly relating to disputes regarding the position of the common boundary. I have not personally noticed a particular increase in boundary disputes, but the lockdown may potentially have led to an increase in the nuisance side of things, with homeowners having more time on their hands to carry out home improvements, or garden renovations, and furloughed neighbours being in constant close proximity to any resultant noise pollution!
What steps should a person take to resolve disputes with their neighbour?
It is always advisable as a first step to have an informal chat with a neighbour about the issues that are causing upset. This will often nip problems in the bud and is the best way to proceed in order to preserve good neighbourly relations.
If my local council is refusing to collect my recycling bin because neighbours are adding non-recyclable refuse to it, what can I do?
It might be advisable to put a generic note through the doors of neighbours, gently letting them know that there has been an issue with the wrong rubbish being put into your bin and that this is causing a problem in terms of collection. You may find that this reduces the problem.
Changing the time at which you put your bins out, so that it is closer to the time of collection, may also reduce the chance of any problems like this.
Should the problem subsist, contacting the council and being clear with them that this issue is being caused by neighbours is an important way forward. You may be able to ask the council for tips on how to resolve the issue, given that they may well have previous experience with complaints of this nature.
How could mediation help neighbours resolve a dispute?
Mediation is a often a very useful way of resolving a dispute because it opens up the lines of communication via a face-to-face (subject to Covid restrictions) discussion, which can really help to narrow the issues in dispute and reach the heart of the real sticking points for each of the parties.
Mediations can be arranged informally between neighbours, but they may also be overseen by a professional mediator, who will be skilled in focussing on the key issues in the dispute, narrowing these issues, and encouraging settlement.
Why should a person seek regulated legal advice to resolve disputes with neighbours?
If neighbour disputes cannot be resolved by a friendly chat with neighbours, involving solicitors will communicate the message that the individual is serious about resolving the dispute, and this can again encourage parties to work together to resolve the dispute.
Aside from involving solicitors to write to neighbours, seeking legal advice early on is often a good idea to ensure that the individual’s understanding of the legal position is correct, that they are aware of what may be required to reach resolution, and that their expectations are appropriately managed from the outset.
How can Ellisons help?
We understand just how important it is to resolve disagreements quickly and as effectively as possible. Our Personal Dispute Resolution Solicitors are always on hand to make sure this happens by offering prompt, practical and strategic guidance to every unique situation to attain a positive outcome.
Whatever stage you find yourself at in your dispute, our team can help at any point with services such as mediation, arbitration, adjudication, or expert determination.