Although we can pick a place to rent, we can't choose the people who live around us. Here's how to resolve any issues you might have with your neighbours.
Keep a record of incidents - it could be a word document, notes on your phone or jotting it down in a diary. If you can, try to get photographs/videos/audio. This will help if you need to escalate things. It can also be useful to write down how long certain incidents happened and how it impacted you/what you had to do to try to remedy it.
Talk about it
Often neighbours might not realise that you can hear them, or that something they are doing is inconveniencing you, so it can be a good idea to have a friendly chat with them just to flag it. Often people will be accomodating and will try stop whatever is annoying you. However, if you're intimidated by your neighbour due to their behaviour, or are worried it could escalate, writing a note might help. Remember to keep a copy of it to show you've tried to resolve the issue.
Find strength in numbers
Chances are if someone is being disruptive that they're also negatively impacting the other people living around them. It might be worth chatting to your other neighbours to see if they've been impacted by their behaviour too, and see if you can work together with the disruptive person to find a solution. You can look into if there is a residents’ or tenants’ association in your area that might be able to help you out and give you advice. If you're interested in getting someone else involved to help you resolve the issue, Scottish Mediation and Scottish Arbitration might be able to help. Mediation will involve you, your neighbour and mediator meeting to chat and come up with a solution to fix the problem together. Arbitration will involve someone hearing both you and your neighbours side of the story and coming up with rules you need to both stick to.
If the problem still doesn't stop after you've spoken to them about it, or gets worse, you can chat to the neighbours landlord if they're a tenant and don't own their home. This could be a housing association, the council or a private landlord.
If you're unhappy with how the landlord, council or housing association have dealt with the situation, and that you still haven't had the issue resolved, you can make a complaint. Check out the complaints pages on the Landlord Accreditation Scotland and the Scottish Housing Regulator websites. You can complain about a council through the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman if you’ve already been through the council’s complaints process and you’re still not satisfied.
Sometimes things cannot get resolved and you may have to consider legal action if all other methods have failed. In this case you should chat to Citizens Advice Bureau for advice on how to take court action. Remember, this may be very expensive unless you are eligible for legal aid.
Does it break the law?
There are certain behaviours that are against the law and mean you can get the council and/or the police involved. Some of these can include:
- If someone is threatening violence or has harmed you.
- If someone is abusing you due to your (or assumed) race, gender, sexuality, disability or transgender status. This is a hate crime. You can find out more about reporting this here.
- If you suspect someone is breaking the law
- If someone is engaging in anti-social behaviour, such as loud music or vandalism.
You can call the police on 101 or call your council - you can find out council contact details here.
Remember, if it's emergency, call 999.
Find out more about Private Renting by heading to the New Digs Campaign page