Are you a good neighbour?
As property managers, we all too often get drawn into neighbour disputes. When is loud too loud? When is rubbish too much? When is the dog barking too much? These are some of the simpler issues – there are many issues that we see which are really not simple. While social networking sites can connect us with friends all across the world, we may not know our neighbours well enough to have a cup of tea with them.
With the increasing trend of connecting virtual strangers globally via the internet, it is important to remember how essential it is to maintain connections at a local level. It has been well documented that neighbourly relations have a significant impact on our daily lives. Recent research found that an individual's happiness depends on the happiness of others with whom they are connected. Interestingly, having a happy neighbour was seen to increase the probability of being happy by 34%.
Having neighbours with who you are friends or at the very least 'Good Morning,' terms can bring friendship, safety and security. You look out for them if you don't see them around, you notice if their curtains don't open, you hold onto their deliveries when they are out - its the original social network.
But what do you do when the 'people next door' impact on your day to day life?
If you have a dispute with your neighbour:
1. Try to solve the problem informally by talking to them.
2. If your neighbour is a tenant, you could contact their landlord.
3. You could use a mediation service if raising the issue informally doesn’t work. Visit https://www.gov.uk/how-to-resolve-neighbour-disputes/use-a-mediation-service for further information.
4. If the dispute involves a statutory nuisance (something like loud music or barking dogs), you can make a complaint to your local council. Examples include:
- noise (including loud music and barking dogs)
- artificial light (except street lamps)
- dust, steam, smell or insects from business premises
- smoke, fumes or gases
- a build-up of rubbish that could harm health
5. Contact the police if your neighbour is breaking the law by being violent or harassing you. You should call the police if your neighbour:
- is violent, threatening or abusive
- is harassing you sexually, or because of your sexuality, religion or ethnic background
- is breaching the peace (being disorderly in the street or making a lot of noise)
- is breaking the law in any other way - or if you suspect this
6. As a last resort you can take legal action through the courts.
Ask yourself, "Am I a good neighbour?" Remember you get what you give!