When you share a wall or ceiling with someone, you sort of share your life with them. Most of the time, our neighbours are just people we hear or occasionally see, without knowing much about their business.
But, unfortunately, some nightmare neighbours make your business their business. If you’re unlucky, your neighbour could complain about you to your landlord (for justified or unjustified things) or could be causing enough problems to make you feel like making a complaint!
Either way, we’re here to help.
As renting experts, we’ll explain in this article what you can do about problem neighbours in a rented property, your landlord’s responsibilities, and how to deal with the situation in a no-nonsense way when complaints are (and aren’t!) justified.
Do Landlords Have to Tell You About Neighbours?
Sadly, no, your landlord or letting agent does not have to disclose problems with neighbours in a rented property. So, if there are known issues with the person you share a wall or ceiling with, they won’t tell you upfront.
However, they should honestly answer any questions you have about the neighbours. Lying about the property is not considered “fair practice”, and you could get out of your tenancy early because of it.
When asking about neighbours in a rented property, be specific with your questions and request the agent’s answers in writing.
Letting agents shouldn’t lie about past issues, but they may be careful with their wording when you ask them verbally. Getting the information in writing can encourage them to be more truthful and direct in their answer.
Related article: 10 MUST-ASK questions when viewing a rental
What Should I Do if My Neighbours Complain About Me to My Landlord?
So, your neighbours are complaining about you to your landlord? This can be a problem, especially if you’re in the wrong (or your landlord just believes you are).
Tenancies can often include things about keeping peace with the neighbours, so you’ll want to handle things well if your neighbour gets your landlord involved.
Related article: Can you rent without a deposit?
Did you do something wrong?
No one likes being complained about, especially to your landlord. But you should consider whether you did anything wrong before taking things further.
For example, did you:
- Play music or have the TV too loud very late at night?
- Have a party indoors or outdoors and make lots of noise past 11pm?
- Park your car in front of their driveway?
- Have friends over who caused a nuisance or left a mess in their garden?
- Stop keeping up with front and/or back garden maintenance, which led to pests, rodents or foxes?
Ideally, your neighbours should have spoken to you before complaining to your landlord. But, if not, you should:
- Research the laws or what’s in your lease about the issue
- Stop doing whatever was causing the issue(s), if it’s a problem
- Apologise to your landlord, explain the situation, and assure them that it won’t happen again (and deliver on that promise!)
- Apologise to your neighbour, in person or via a written note, to get back in their good books and prevent further issues
If you did something wrong, it’s best to own up to it, apologise and move on as quickly as possible. Problems with neighbours in a rented property can quickly get out of hand, so it’s best to patch things up swiftly.
Causing problems with your neighbours can also be considered a breach of lease, so be careful it doesn’t lead to eviction issues with your landlord, too.
Related article: How to end or extend a tenancy agreement
Are your neighbours complaining unfairly?
There’s nothing worse than having your neighbours complain to your landlord about you unfairly when you haven’t done anything wrong.
Bad neighbours can complain about anything, from having family round during the day to not being happy with where you place a shed. If your neighbours are being unreasonable, make sure you:
- Research the issue to double-check you’re not in the wrong
- Keep a record of the conversations you have trying to sort the issue
- Take pictures or recordings, where possible or appropriate, that disprove their complaint (for example, if they say you’re parking in their spot daily, take pictures that prove otherwise)
- Compile evidence to give to your landlord to disprove the complaint
- Request their support in taking the complaint further, like having them speak to the neighbour on your behalf or contacting the council
If your landlord cannot (or doesn’t want to) help you, you can contact the council or a mediation service for help resolving the issue.
Related article: How lifetime deposits can help renters
Is it My Landlord’s Responsibility to Deal With Problem Neighbours in Rented Property?
Sadly, no, landlords don’t have a responsibility to deal with problem neighbours in a rented property. That means you can complain to them if your neighbour is acting unreasonable, but they don’t have to help.
However, supporting you with the problem is in their best interests.
Firstly, they should want you to remain in the tenancy long-term, so they should be open to helping you feel safe and comfortable in their rental. Otherwise, they’ll have to find someone new if you move out.
Secondly, prior issues with neighbours are an important factor when you’re selling a property. Sellers, including landlords, must report known serious issues with neighbours to potential buyers.
This means that if a neighbour is complaining to the council about you, unreasonably or otherwise, they’ll have to report it to potential buyers if they ever decide to sell.
Prior issues with neighbours can be off-putting to potential buyers, so it’s in a landlord’s best interests to help you resolve issues to avoid complaints reaching a serious level.
Related article: Should I rent a house without viewing it?
How to Deal With Problem Neighbours in Rented Property
Unfortunately, problems with neighbours in a rented property won’t always go away on their own.
You may need to take further action if the issue is severe enough that it’s affecting how happy, safe, or comfortable you feel living there.
Here’s a good step-by-step process you can follow to help you deal with problem neighbours when renting.
1. Speak to your neighbours
Firstly, you should try to speak with your neighbours directly about the issues they’re causing.
You can knock on their door, politely advise them of the issue you’re having, and, where reasonable, ask them to stop. If you don’t like confrontation, you can write them a letter instead.
If your neighbour doesn’t respond well to you speaking with them, find out if they rent from a landlord or housing association to see if you can speak to them about the issue instead.
2. Keep a record of the issues
If the issues don’t stop after speaking with your neighbour, keep a record of the incidents that occur.
For instance, if they keep coming onto your property or having parties, make a note of how many times this happens and when it happens.
You should also do some more research into the problem to see what it classes as. As an example, playing music too late at night regularly could class as antisocial behaviour.
3. Talk to your landlord
When you have a record of the issues and you’ve tried unsuccessfully to sort it by yourself, you can raise the issue with your landlord.
Ideally, they should step in and help speak to the neighbours on your behalf. Just remember that they don’t have a legal obligation to help resolve these issues, so they may not assist.
4. Complain to the council
Depending on what the issue is, you may be able to complain to your local council about your neighbours. They can usually only help if the behaviour is antisocial or poses an environmental risk to health.
For example, if they use your garden without permission, are verbally abusive, or leave dangerous waste on the property.
5. Use a mediation service
Mediation services are available through your local council to help sort issues between you and your neighbour. There is a charge for these services, so it’s often seen as a last resort if the issues have gotten extremely bad.
Contact your local council to learn more about mediation services near you.
5 Top Tips: How to Spot Problem Neighbours in Rented Property
Living with problem neighbours in a rented property can be a big issue.
If your neighbours are unreasonably annoying, they could complain about you whenever you try to do a home workout in your living room or when family visits.
Likewise, if your neighbours are a nuisance themselves, it can seriously impact how happy and comfortable you feel at home.
Even if you don’t have a varied choice about which rental you move into, these 5 top tips can help you establish whether your neighbours may cause you problems in the future.
1. Ask specific questions about the neighbours
When you’re buying a home, the estate agent legally has to inform you of any prior issues or disputes with the neighbours.
However, when you’re renting, the landlord doesn’t have to be so candid.
A letting agent or landlord certainly won’t be upfront about problem neighbours in a rented property. But if you ask them specific questions, they should answer them to the best of their knowledge.
Be specific with your questions and consider asking things like:
- What are the neighbours like?
- Who lives next door/above?
- Have tenants ever complained to the landlord or someone else about the neighbours? If so, what was the complaint about?
Where possible, try to get their responses in writing, via email or text. This can encourage the agent to be more truthful, and you may be able to use the information as evidence in the future.
2. Ask why the previous tenants are leaving
This is one of our top questions to ask before signing a new lease.
Even if you don’t have a grand choice when applying for a rental, understanding why the previous tenants left can help you prepare for what’s in store for you.
When sizing up your neighbours, ask these questions to understand more specifically why the previous tenants moved out:
- Did the previous tenants have issues with the property or the neighbours?
- Have the neighbours ever complained about tenants who live here?
- If yes, what were the complaints about and did the landlord think they were “reasonable”?
Sometimes, letting agents will simply tell you the previous tenants are leaving to find somewhere bigger, but don’t take their word for it.
Asking more specific queries can help you understand whether there were other issues at hand.
3. Listen for noise when you’re viewing the property
Noise doesn’t bother a lot of people. In fact, some people find that background noise can make a home feel more homely!
But if you like to get sound sleep every night, and living in a quiet property is important to you, listen out for neighbourly noise during viewings.
Consider things like:
- Can you hear music or a TV?
- Are doors being slammed?
- Can you hear babies crying?
- Are kids making noise in the house or garden?
- Are the neighbours talking loudly or arguing?
If possible, try to arrange a second viewing on a different day or at a different time to get a rounded view of noise levels.
Related article: How to find a remote-work-friendly rental
4. Peek at the property next door
Obviously, don’t go snooping on their property, but have a look at the front and back garden if it’s a house, or take a peek at the balcony and front door if it’s a flat.
Look for things like:
- Is the garden well-kept?
- Is there rubbish in the front garden or by the front door?
- Are outdoor rubbish bins used properly?
- Is food or other waste overflowing onto the floor near bins?
Just because they are messy, it doesn’t mean they are problem neighbours.
But keep in mind that unkept back gardens, like uncut grass and rubbish left outside improperly, can attract pests, rodents and/or foxes.
Related article: EVERYTHING you need to know about end of tenancy cleaning
5. Knock for a quick chat
If you’re feeling confident, you can always knock on your potential neighbour’s door for a quick chat.
As long as you are not rude, they may be happy you introduced yourself so they know who might be moving in next door.
Stick to general questions so you can get a feel for how friendly they are. A good way to approach it could be to:
- Introduce yourself
- Say you’re considering renting the property next door/above/below
- Ask about the area and how long they’ve lived there
- Ask who lives in the property with them
- Thank them for their time
Keep conversations brief and avoid asking outright questions about their behaviour. For example, don’t ask them if they play music late at night or if their baby cries a lot, as it may rub them up the wrong way!
Are You Moving Rental Soon?
Bad neighbours really can make your life hell, especially if your landlord wants nothing to do with it! If you’re thinking about moving rental to rid yourself of problem neighbours, we have good news!
You no longer need to save up for a deposit every time you move.
For the first time ever, if you already have a deposit protected in a deposit scheme, you can transfer it to your next property.
A Lifetime Deposit will help you keep hold of £1,200 on average, which we think is pretty neat.
We are on a mission to help more people move, so if you are moving soon, don’t forget your Lifetime Deposit!