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How to deal with antisocial behaviour by a neighbour

There are things you can do if a neighbour is behaving antisocially. Follow our steps to gather evidence and report antisocial behaviour.

Make sure you consider the person’s situation before reporting them. They may have personal circumstances that cause the behaviour.

What antisocial behaviour is

Antisocial behaviour means acting in a way that causes or could cause alarm or distress to someone in a different household.

Antisocial behaviour can include:

  • excessive noise

  • shouting, swearing or fighting

  • intimidation or threats

  • abusive behaviour or verbal abuse

  • damage to property or vandalism

If something’s not on this list, it can still be antisocial behaviour if it’s causing you alarm or distress.

To deal with problems caused by pets, follow Citizens Advice guidance on animal problems.

Deciding if it’s antisocial behaviour

It’s important to think about the circumstances of the person behaving antisocially.

For example, if they have children, they should be able to play and make noise within reason.

If you have noisy neighbours, you could ask them to consider:

  • improving their flooring

  • installing sound insulation

  • putting down rugs to reduce floor noise

If the person is disabled or has a relevant medical condition, take this into account. Their behaviour could be something they cannot help.

Dealing with antisocial behaviour

Call the police on 999 if you’re in immediate danger.

Call 101 to report violent or dangerous behaviour that happened before or you're worried could happen later.

If antisocial behaviour is happening in or around an empty property in your area, you can also contact the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership for advice.

Otherwise, follow these steps:

Step 1: keep a diary

When there's an incident of antisocial behaviour, write down:

  • when it happened

  • what the person did

  • what impact it had on your or your family

This evidence will help if you involve the council or the police.

Step 2: speak to the person if you can

Only do this if you feel safe doing so. Never put yourself in danger by confronting someone.

If you do feel able to speak to the person, ask a trusted family member or friend to be with you for support. Explain what impact their behaviour has on you. Try to reach a compromise that works for both of you.

Step 3: if you want to go to mediation

You could ask the person to go to mediation. This is led by a mediator who is an independent professional. They’ll help you find a solution with another person.

It’s not a legally binding decision, so no-one has to stick to it. But it can help you agree on a compromise.

Find a mediator on Scottish Mediation

Step 4: report antisocial behaviour to the council

The council has a team to deal with antisocial behaviour in your area. They can look at solutions like:

  • helping you arrange mediation

  • offering the person an acceptable behaviour contract

  • giving the person an antisocial behaviour order (ASBO)

Report antisocial behaviour to your council on

Once you report the antisocial behaviour, the council decides what to do.

They may not tell you what action they take or tell you the reasons for their decisions.

They’ll look at the personal circumstances of the person behaving antisocially. This could include their health and any disabilities they have. You do not have the right to know about these personal details.

If you’re unhappy with the council’s response

You can make a complaint. Follow our guidance on how to complain to the council.

If a landlord is allowing antisocial behaviour in their property

Landlords are responsible for antisocial behaviour in their properties.

The steps you can take depend on whether they're a private landlord, a council or a housing association.

Private landlords

Most private landlords must be registered with the council. If they allow antisocial behaviour at their property, this could affect their registration.

Using the address of the property, search the Scottish landlord register for the landlord's details. You can then:

  • contact the landlord directly and ask them to deal with the problem

  • contact the council and tell them the landlord is allowing antisocial behaviour at their property

The council should investigate, and take appropriate action. This can include:

  • sending them a notice to make them deal with the behaviour

  • stopping the landlord from charging rent

  • removing them from the landlord register

Council or housing association landlords

To deal with the council or a housing association, make a complaint.

Tell them about the antisocial behaviour and what effect it has on you.

Follow our guidance to:

Getting a court order to stop antisocial behaviour

If you cannot get the council or landlord to take action, you can apply for a court order called an interdict. This can be used if someone is targeting you directly and you feel unsafe in your home.

An interdict can order someone to:

  • do something, such as clear up their rubbish

  • not do something, such as not make excessive noise

  • stay away from you or your home

You’ll need a solicitor to apply for an interdict. They’ll help you decide if it’s appropriate for you.

Search for a solicitor on the Law Society of Scotland

Last updated: 17 March 2023

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England