How to avoid complaints
There are some really simple things you can do to show your neighbours that you want to get on with them. If you follow these tips, your neighbours are less likely to complain about you. If a problem ever does arise, your neighbours are more likely to talk to you about it if you have established a good relationship with them in the first place.
If you have just moved into a new neighbourhood, make a point of introducing yourself to your new neighbours. Be friendly and say 'hello' when you see them. This will show them that you are open and approachable. That way, if they do have a problem with something you are doing, they are far more likely to tell you what's bothering them rather than reporting it to the council or the police. Problems or misunderstandings are more likely to be nipped in the bud at an early stage if you get on well with your neighbours.
You could also find out about the local neighbourhood watch scheme, if there is one, and join it. If you don't have time to take an active part in the scheme, you could ask one of your neighbours who is involved to update you when there are meetings. The key is to show an interest as that shows you care about what is happening in your area. It will also help you to get to know your neighbours and gain their trust.
It might sound like an obvious thing but keep an eye on any children living with you. Make sure you know where they are and what they're doing. It might be that they are disturbing your neighbours by hanging around or leaving a mess, even if they're not aware that they're doing any harm. Remember that not everyone has children and some people might find it intimidating if a group of kids are hanging about, even if they don't mean any harm. The important thing to remember is that, just because a certain type of behaviour doesn't bother you, that doesn't mean that it isn't a problem for someone else. If there are any problems, your neighbours will see that you take it seriously if you know exactly what your children are up to.
This might sound obvious too but make sure you look after your pets properly and clear up any mess they leave behind in the park, the street or any other public place. If you have a dog and let it poop in certain public places, but don't clean it up, you could be fined.
If you keep lots of animals, make sure you have enough space for them and that any noise levels are kept to a minimum. If you have large dogs that need regular exercise, make sure you do that to stop them becoming frustrated and noisy. This is best for your pets as well, not just your neighbours!
Remember that not everyone keeps pets or likes animals. In fact, some people might be really scared of some animals because of a bad experience they've had (for example if they've been bitten by a dog) so it's important to think about other people's point of view. Once again, be considerate.
Read the page on problems with animals for more information.
Outside your house
Make sure that you keep the outside of your property tidy. Don't leave bin bags in the stairwell or close if you live in a flat or in your garden or the street if you live in a house. Dirty bin bags might start to smell or attract vermin, or someone else could trip over them which is dangerous.
If there isn't enough room in your wheelie bin, contact your local council to see if they can arrange for another bin to be made available.
If you have large items of rubbish or old furniture for example, take it to the dump or contact your council to ask them to take it away. There might be a charge for this service but it's better than leaving rubbish lying about.
Likewise, if you have bikes or prams and you live in a flat, don't leave them in a place that will block the access for your neighbours.
If you live in a house or have a communal parking area, make sure you aren't blocking anyone else's driveway or access when you park you car.
You are perfectly entitled to relax and enjoy yourself in your own home. However, remember that other people might be working or trying to sleep and, just because you want to party, doesn't mean that your neighbours do!
If you are planning a party or celebration, tell your neighbours about it in advance, especially if it's likely to go on late at night. If you get on well with them, invite them along for a drink.
Keep the noise to a minimum. Remember, you wouldn't like it if you were being kept awake by someone else's noise.
If your neighbours do ask you to turn the noise down, be polite and reasonable about it. Try not to start shouting as that will only make things worse.
Last updated: 29 December 2014