Antisocial neighbours ruining your life?

Problems with noisy or threatening neighbours can escalate to make life hell. From late night parties or inconsiderate parking, to drug dealing, harassment and domestic abuse, antisocial neighbours can cause misery and even fear.

So what can you do?

In this article we explore the steps you can take to get help and sort the problem out before it gets any worse. The good news is that there are lots of agencies who want to help. Find useful contact details at the end of this article.


Can’t stand the noise?

The commonest problem people cite when complaining about their neighbours is noise. Whether it is music blaring out late at night, dogs barking, doors slamming or people shouting, loud sounds from the neighbours can be a major nuisance.

But before storming next door for a rant, it is worth pausing and considering whether the noise really is unreasonable.

Some disturbance is inevitable when people live close together in the same building. Babies cry, children play, teenagers have noisy parties and couples sometimes row.

If the nuisance is persistent and unreasonable, then it is worth, in the first instance, trying to have a polite chat with your neighbour. After all, they may not even be aware they are disturbing you. They may apologise and turn down the music or agree to give you advance notice if they’re planning to have another party in future.

Perhaps you’d rather write them a polite letter? That’s fine. Just don’t resort to retaliation. Turning your music up or slamming your own doors at midnight, will only make matters worse.

But what if you’ve tried talking to your neighbours and the noise disturbance continues?

In this instance, it might be worth asking other neighbours who might also be affected. The more people backing your case the more weight it will have if you need to contact an agency. You could also raise it with your residents’ association or management company to see if they can approach the noise makers and ask them to be more considerate to neighbours, and it could be that they have a landlord and the landlord doesn’t know about their noise making tenants, so the management company could contact the landlord or agent.

Another option is to try a mediation service. Some neighbour disputes can be resolved amicably by an independent mediator who is trained to be impartial.

Still getting nowhere?

At this point, you may need to contact your local authority. If the disturbance constitutes a “statutory nuisance” – which includes loud noise – the council has a duty to investigate.

The local authority can issue a “noise abatement” order which informs the guilty person that they must stop making the noise or face further legal action.

If they break the noise abatement order, they can be fined up to £5,000 in the Magistrates Court. If the noise is from a business or factory, the penalty can be up to £20,000.


Low level antisocial behaviour, or is it?

Low-level antisocial behaviour is probably best dealt with as above, by a polite chat with the offenders before taking matters further. Involving a third party such as the council straightaway can sour the relationship between neighbours and make things worse.

If you’re not sure whether the behaviour actually constitutes antisocial behaviour, you could call your local Citizens Advice to clarify the options open to you.

It is also worth keeping a diary of all the events which take place to back up your case. Again, your local council can help if it constitutes a statutory nuisance.


Criminal behaviour?

For actual crime such as vandalism, graffiti or drug use, you can call 101 to contact the police who have a range of powers at their disposal. Only call 999 if it is an emergency.

The police can apply for an injunction against someone to stop them from engaging in antisocial behaviour.

Where there is a threat of violence or harm to others, a power of arrest can also be attached to the injunction. This means that if the injunction is breached, the police can arrest the culprit without a warrant.

They also have powers of dispersal to get people to leave the area for up to 48 hours if they are distressing others.


Drug dealing, harassment or domestic abuse

What if you are facing serious crime?

Perhaps you are being harassed, or you suspect that drug dealing is going on next door or you are worried that your neighbour is the victim of domestic abuse?

If there is an immediate risk to your life or safety, or to your neighbours, call 999. If it is not an emergency, you can report suspected domestic abuse to the police online, by calling 101 or in person at the police station.

Don’t forget you are protected by law from stalking and from hate crime and harassment whether that is verbal threats or abuse, racial abuse, homophobic abuse or vandalism of your property directed at you.

If you are concerned about calling the police, you can still help fight crime by giving information confidentially to the independent charity CrimeStoppers. They guarantee that you will remain anonymous.

Trust your instincts. Around 2 million adults a year experience domestic abuse in England and Wales alone, and that figure does not include children. You may like to ensure that the contact number for the 24-hour National Domestic Abuse helpline is displayed in the communal areas of your block.


Be a good neighbour yourself

Don’t forget that we’re all somebody’s neighbours. So do let those living near you know if you’re going to have a party or noisy work done on your property.

Turn the music down at night, deal with your rubbish properly, park considerately and be a responsible pet owner.

You might consider joining your residents’ association or helping to organise community social events to engender positive relations with all your neighbours.


Useful contact details

ASB Help: charity supporting victims of antisocial behaviour:

To report noise to your local council:

Citizens Advice:

To find a mediation service:

Non-emergency police matters call: 101.

Crimestoppers, anonymous and open 24 hours a day: 0800 555 111. Or fill out the form on their website:

For legal advice on neighbour disputes, try: Find legal advice and information: Overview – GOV.UK (

National Domestic Abuse Helpline, Freephone, open 24 hours a day: 0800 2000 247.

Childline, Freephone, open 24 hours a day: 0800 1111.

Victim Support, 24 hour a day confidential helpline offering practical help for all victims of crime including hate crime, sexual crime, domestic violence, child victims and burglary: 0808 1689 111.

ManKind Initiative, confidential helpline for male victims of domestic abuse: 01823 334 244.



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