Property Owners Urged To Know Their Rights When It Comes To Disputes

Noise And Parking The Most Common Causes Of Neighbour Arguments

12.07.2013

By Rob Dixon

New research which has highlighted that parking and noise are the primary causes of disputes between neighbours demonstrates the need for many homeowners to understand their rights when it comes to addressing the issues, according to property litigation experts.

According to the survey by AA/Populus, parking issues account for around a third of arguments between neighbours. More specifically, it was found that key issues include parking outside of a neighbour’s house or blocking access to drives.

The study also found that another major cause of neighbourly fallouts is noise, while other common issues were related to boundaries.

Irwin Mitchell’s specialist property litigation team represent people seeking justice over all manner of property issues, including those adversely affected by ongoing neighbour disputes related to noise and other issues.

Matthew Wayman, a Sheffield-based lawyer at Irwin Mitchell who specialises in property litigation, said: “The findings of this research are unfortunately not surprising, as we see numerous cases in which neighbour disputes regarding issues such as parking or noise can easily escalate to more serious disputes.

“In all disputes, the primary recommendation for tackling such issues is always to discuss the problem – or problems – directly with your neighbours with the aim to achieve a positive outcome and resolution that suits both parties.

“Working out a compromise can be a hugely important and avoids the need to consider potentially costly and time-consuming legal battles. However, in some cases this is just not possible and that’s when it becomes vital for property owners to know exactly where they stand when it comes to their rights.”

On the specific issues of parking and noise, he added: “The blocking of driveways can be hugely frustrating and it is vital that you have examined your title deeds. These should outline the extent of your property as well as reference any restrictive covenants in place which prevent other people from parking or indeed rights that do exist over the area in question. 

“If someone is without right or permission parking on your driveway, this is a trespass and the legal remedy is an injunction.  If someone is blocking your right of access (i.e. over someone else’s land) then this would be a nuisance, subject to the severity of the interference.  In both scenarios, it is wise to document the interferences with diary entries and if possible, dated photographic evidence.

“Regarding noise, if you are unable to resolve this through talking to your neighbour it is vital to contact a local authority’s environmental health department in the first instance. They are required to investigate such problems and can use specialise equipment to fully consider the issue.

“Following that, they can issue a notice requiring the neighbour to stop causing the nuisance.  If the neighbour fails without reasonable excuse to comply with the notice, he can be prosecuted and the local authority can confiscate the noise-making equipment.

“You could ask the courts to intervene and prevent your neighbour and others from causing the problem, but it is always important to remember that legal action should only be taken as an absolute last resort.”

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in relation to Property Disputes