Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for students living in the private sector to have disputes with their neighbours. Nonetheless, students can do several things which can minimise such friction and make both yours and your neighbours’ lives easier:
- Settling in: When you move in, introduce yourself. This might seem obvious, but knowing a face and a name can make all the difference in improving relations and easing communication.
- Parking: Cars can sometimes cause disputes. Making sure you only use your designated garage or driveway is only fair and considerate. If you need to park in the road make sure you do not block access for your neighbours and are not parked illegally or dangerously.
- Noise: You should be considerate about the amount of noise you make, both for the sake of your neighbours and housemates. If you are planning to have a party then it is best to inform your neighbours in advance. Generally, if you are having a party, noise is expected to be kept reasonable and excessive noise after 11pm can be seen as an offense.
- Upkeep and gardening: There is no prerequisite to having a beautifully maintained property. However, general upkeep, maintenance and cleaning will be required. This means making sure that plants are not causing a nuisance / problem for neighbours, taking out the rubbish regularly, etc. Leaving these problems to get out of hand can encourage pests and vermin and will only make exiting your house more of a pain. These are simple tasks which make a big difference in the long run.
- Talk it through: Most disputes with neighbours can be solved through simple mediation and face-to-face talking. Be open and receptive to communication and you may find that the majority of these disputes can easily be resolved. When having such talks, take care to be civil; your point will not be best put across through heated conversations.
You may also find it helpful to read the Community Liaison & Support Office's 'Be a good neighbour' guide.
If you feel that the behaviour of your neighbours is compromising your use and enjoyment of your house then you should first approach them to try to resolve the issue. Remember that you have just as much right to reasonable living conditions and consideration as other residents do. If they do not take heed or dismiss your concerns outright then it is best to contact Runnymede Borough Council for further advice.
If you find that disputes with neighbours are escalating beyond your control and are of a serious nature then it is certainly best to contact the council. You can also contact our Community Wellbeing Team to get further advice about such disputes. In the unfortunate event that you feel threatened or have received abuse from your neighbours then please contact the local emergency services, depending upon the urgency of the situation.