Approaching Your Neighbour

Talking to a noisy neighbour

It is often the case that a friendly chat with a neighbour will achieve the desired result; in fact this approach is successful in the majority of cases. How you do this will depend upon the strength of your relationship with your neighbours; and many neighbour relationships do not extend beyond a nod and a “hello” in passing.

Try to give them the benefit of the doubt; it may well be that your neighbours aren’t even aware that there is an issue. If this is the case they may well be shocked or embarrassed to find out that they have caused any disturbance.

Key Points

  • Prepare in advance what you want to say and have an idea about what you want to achieve from your meeting. At first you may wish to keep the meeting brief and informal.
  • Try to establish a rapport. You might want to refer to another more positive subject during your conversation; particularly at the end so that you can end on a more comfortable footing.
  • Don’t approach your neighbour when you are angry or reacting to the noise; it is important that you remain calm and rational.
  • Politeness and sensitivity are key. Making threats or ultimatums will not win you any friends, may create an unwillingness to address the issue and may even make the problem worse.
  • Catch them at a convenient time when they are not in a rush to get somewhere and can spare time.
  • Be clear about what actions are disturbing you and when. If they understand what the problem is and any boundaries you may have they are in a better position to stop the problem.
  • It may be that you can work around the situation by organising activities at different times or by compromising on how long they take. Be prepared to give a little and always be reasonable.
  • You need to make it clear what the problem is without making them feel like they are on the spot. They may need time to absorb the information so don’t push them into making any snap decisions.
  • Listen to them carefully and don’t interrupt. It is important that you understand and respect their point of view.

If at First You Don’t Succeed

After the matter has been brought to your neighbours attention you should give them a reasonable time period to address the problem before taking the matter further. If it looks as though the matter has not been addressed extend a second chance verbally to your neighbours but this time making it clear that the problem really is affecting you and that you really need it sorting. If this is then ignored you still have an opportunity t resolve the matter. Here are your options:

  1. Live with it;
  2. Complain to the Local Authority; or
  3. Continue to take action yourself.

If you choose to deal with the matter informally you could next try to arrange a more formal meeting or write to your neighbour.

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