Before you decide to speak to your neighbours, consider the following
- Was it a one off? For example, if there was a noisy 18th birthday party or there were lots of cars parked outside because it was a family gathering for a special occasion, the problem is unlikely to continue and confronting them may make the matter worse.
- Is it a new problem? If your neighbours have, for example, a new baby or a newly adopted pet or if they have only recently moved and are doing a lot of DIY, it may take time for them to adjust. If so, you may want to consider waiting before discussing any problems with them because they may stop in time.
- Do you or they work nights? If so, your patterns may be different and whilst it will be frustrating if they disturb you while getting ready for work (showering, going down the stairs, starting their car, etc.) or coming home, these are noises you would reasonably expect from anyone getting ready for their day, so you won't have much of a case.
Talking to your neighbour face to face
- Choose the right time - you are aiming for the best possible outcome, where your neighbour will be open to speaking to you about the problems.
- Ideally, choose a time when you are not angry and they are not busy or being disruptive. This means you are more likely to handle the discussion well and they are more likely to be open to speaking to you, meaning you are less likely to end up in an argument. You may even want to let them know you would like to chat and ask them when would be a good time.
- Be polite, respectful and friendly – whilst you may be at your wits end, being polite, respectful and friendly will help your neighbour be more open to discussing the problem with you. If you do come across as angry or frustrated and start the discussion by banging on their door or threatening them, it is unlikely to help resolve the problems.
- Compliment them – as odd as it sounds, finding an example of how they are a good neighbour, perhaps their garden is untidy but they are quiet or their parking frustrates you but their dog is friendly, is a great way to show you are not just blaming them for the problems they are causing. This can help make speaking to them easier.
- Let your neighbour know how you are being affected - if you let your neighbour know how it is affecting you, they are more likely to be sympathetic and change their behaviour.
For example, if it is affecting how well you sleep and causing you issues at work because you are tired or you have a health concern, which is being affected, let them know.
- Offer a solution and be ready to compromise – if you can offer a solution which is a compromise, rather than just demanding that your neighbour stops doing whatever it is that is causing the problem, it could help you reach a resolution.
For example, if there are problems parking because of too many cars, agree to share the space and move cars for each other on request, much as you would with other family members.
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