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Neighbour Disputes: Christmas Season

Thursday, December 08, 2016

A guide on dealing with disputes that may arise during the festive season.

The Christmas season is a time to be kind and giving. People celebrate in many different ways, including throwing parties and putting up lights and decorations.

Sometimes, though, having parties and putting up lights – even if done with the best of intentions – can cause disruption to neighbours and lead to disputes. The best way to deal with any such disagreements is always to have an amicable chat. By talking, you may find a solution you are both happy with, and the same applies if a neighbour comes to you with a problem.

Here are some of the most common disputes between neighbours that can occur during the Christmas period.

Lights

There’s nothing wrong with adding some bright cheer to the darkest months of the year. Internal and external decorations are commonplace and a fun part of the festive season.

If you choose to decorate your home, though, remember to be considerate of your neighbours. Bright lights can disturb sleep, while having an abundance of lights can overload the electric sockets – not to mention adding to your bills – and if safety measures aren’t followed, can be dangerous. Using dimmers or timers is a good way to avoid being disruptive.

If your neighbour’s lights become a nuisance, try to identify the specific elements that are causing problems before you speak to them so that you can address them together and come to a compromise.

Noisy parties

There are typically more parties during the month of December than at any other time of the year, so chances are at least one of your neighbours will hold one. Whether it gets out of hand is another matter.

If a party does start to get too loud, politely ask your neighbours to turn the music down. Calmly explain that you'd appreciate it as you or your children need to sleep. Keeping your cool is much better in the long run and avoids creating a tense living situation in the new year.

If you’re throwing a party yourself, give your neighbours advance warning, and consider inviting them too. You can also give them your phone number and encourage them to contact you if any issues arise. Be considerate and do your best to keep the noise to a minimum.

Traffic

Both festive displays and large parties can increase traffic in your neighbourhood. One road in Woolaston, Gloucestershire, features more than 30 lit homes and reportedly gets 40,000 visitors every December. While your street may not reach such high numbers, impressive displays will attract crowds.

If the traffic does become an issue, find out what your rights are in regard to the street and parking areas. You can always speak to your local authority for advice.

Fly-tipping

Christmas morning is a flurry of boxes, cards and wrapping paper. But once all the gifts have been opened, make sure you leave the rubbish in the proper places. Since everyone is generating a large amount of waste at the same time, common receptacles often fill up or overspill. If you notice neighbours leaving rubbish bags in inappropriate places, gently ask them to use the correct bins.