How to be a good neighbour

Ashford Mediation Service offers a free mediation service to residents if problems arise between neighbours. But it is better to avoid problems developing in the first place – below are some of the most common problems our mediators encounter in neighbour disputes.

1. Noise

Remember walls are often thin and garden fences do not stop sound! Be aware that your chatting, arguments and other noises may be heard by your neighbours. This can be annoying or rather too interesting! Keep your private life private by keeping noise levels down.

Children are often noisy. Whilst it is good to let them play and let off steam, try and limit it to certain times of day, ideally when neighbours are out or not trying to sleep!

2. Music and Parties

Only play music between 8am and 11pm.

Always keep the volume reasonable and avoid heavy bass which carries much further.

If you have a party let your neighbours know in advance (or invite them!).

3. Rubbish

Think carefully when disposing of your rubbish.

Be responsible when using communal bins – why should others clear up your mess? Only put your bins out when the refuse collectors are due and bring them in promptly or ask a neighbour to do it if you will be away.

4. Dogs

If you have a dog be aware if it is barking excessively. Avoid leaving them where they will bark at passers-by.

Be sure to pick up after them, in the street or in green areas, and don’t let it build up in your garden – neighbours may smell it even if you can’t!

5. Bonfires

Avoid having bonfires in residential areas. ABC now offer a green waste service for a modest weekly fee.

If you must burn garden waste only light a bonfire at dusk and ideally on a cool day when people are unlikely to be in their gardens or have their windows open. Don’t light a bonfire if your neighbour has their washing out!

6. Parking

Parking problems are on the increase. Try and consider your neighbours when you park, do not block their drives and give them enough space to easily manoeuvre in the road.

Remember, the refuse collectors and emergency vehicles may need access.

No one has the exclusive right to park outside their homes on the public road. But if you have a drive please use it if space is tight to allow others to use the roadside.

7. Overgrown Vegetation

Overgrown hedges and trees often cause upsets between neighbours. They can also block pavements which can be awkward or dangerous for wheelchair and pushchair users, forcing them onto grass verges or even into the road.

Trim hedges and trees before they get out of control – they look nicer too.

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