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How to be a good neighbour

Good neighbours are thoughtful, understanding and co-operative of others and their lifestyles. This allows neighbours to come together to build successful and harmonious communities. However, sometimes there are different behaviours that can cause problems for neighbours, and some are more serious than others. On occasion, this may require intervention from the council.

Sometimes it is easy to overlook or fail to appreciate how our actions might affect the lives of those around us. Failing to consider how our neighbours might feel about our outdoor or indoor party with loud music, late evening DIY work, smoky bonfire or dog’s barking can often be the start of deterioration in relationships that can have unpleasant consequences for both parties. Tension with our neighbours deprives us of many advantages and exposes us to worry and stress if complaints about us are made to the council or police.

Tameside Council encourages residents to try to resolve matters themselves. Involving us before talking to your neighbours may lead to hostile feelings and could further aggravate the situation.

What you can do if your neighbour is causing problems:

The council recommends that approach your neighbour about any issues that are affecting you or your family and talk these through. This is often the easiest and quickest solution.

The best way to resolve an issue with a neighbour is by talking directly to them face-to-face. Talking face-to-face is far more effective than phone calls, emails, letters and messages. Before talking with the other person, think about what you want to say. It is important to state clearly what the problem is and how you feel about it.
Some tips on approaching your neighbour:
  • Choose a time that's convenient for everyone
  • Plan what you are going to say
  • Stay calm and respectful.
  • Be polite and explain the problem and how it’s affecting you
  • Actively listen to what they have to say and try not to interrupt them when they are talking.
  • Be understanding of different ways of life
  • Be open to suggestions
  • Come to an agreement that suits everyone.

Do not:
  • Approach your neighbour if you don't feel safe.
  • Lay blame and name calling as this could create more tension.
  • Go around when you feel angry or very upset.
  • Be argumentative or use threatening behaviour.
If you feel that intimidated, anxious or threatened by your neighbour and as a result feel that you can’t approach them, consider whether you have a relative or friend who can act on your behalf.

On the other hand, you may also write them a friendly letter to express your concerns. Please see attached ‘Dear Neighbour’ cards that could also be sent to highlight your issues.

If you do not feel comfortable with these options, or you feel too scared then please get in contact with our team and we will discuss how we may best help.

Key issues and how to overcome them: How to be a good neighbour


  • Keep noise at a reasonable level at all times; in particular, from TVs, sound systems, stereos and radio. Be considerate of your neighbours whenever possible.
  • Recognise that your neighbours do not want to hear noise from your home, especially late at night, for long periods of time.
  • We all must expect some noise from the people living around us. Common everyday living noise includes DIY, dogs barking, intruder or car alarms, slamming doors, TVs and stereos, and neighbours walking around the neighbourhood.
  • Noise can carry through walls and flat surfaces. To help with this, rugs and carpets can help to reduce excessive sound travelling.
  • If excessive noise is unavoidable, it’s always best to warn your neighbours. For example; DIY tasks or having a party.
  • If your neighbours approach you and asks you to reduce the noise, it is best to co-operate where possible to reduce any tension and to keep a harmonious environment.

Garden and communal areas
  • Do not block communal areas with pushchairs, bicycles or any other personal belongings.
  • If you share a communal door, make sure it’s always kept closed and you don’t let anyone in that you don’t know. This way everyone’s homes are kept safe and secure.
  • If your neighbours’ trees or hedges are a problem, you may be able to trim or remove anything that comes over to your side of the boundary as long as you offer any clippings back to your neighbour. But some trees are protected and it’s best to check first with your neighbour before you take any action.

  • If you have a communal bin area, dispose of your rubbish correctly. Make sure that the area around the bins is kept tidy.
  • Park considerately of your neighbours.
  • Recognise that you don’t have the right to park outside your home. Anyone can park on a public road if they adhere to any restrictions imposed by way of signs and markings and it is not causing an obstruction
  • Avoid blocking entrances, dropped kerbs, garages or pavements.
Alley gates
  • If you have alley gates at the rear of your property make sure you always close them behind you and keep them locked at all times
  • Discuss any repairs or changes of locks with your neighbours before work is carried out.
  • Do not park in front of alley gates and avoid blocking the alleyway.
  • Do not light a bonfire if your neighbour has washing out, is using their garden or has their windows open.
  • Do not light the bonfire close to your neighbours’ property to prevent the risk of the fire spreading.
  • Instead of having a bonfire you could consider other methods of disposing of rubbish, such as using the local household waste recycling centre or composting garden waste.
  • Having frequent bonfires could be causing a ‘statutory nuisance’ and we have the power to issue ‘abatement notices’ to stop them happening.
Children/young adults playing or getting together
  • Be tolerant of children playing outside - Tameside Council actively encourages children to be fit and active
  • If a child accidentally throws or kicks a ball into your property, you should either hand it back or allow it to be collected.
  • If children harass, intimidate or disturb others then complaints are justified, and parents must respond reasonably.
Being a responsible pet owner
  • Dogs are great companions but make sure they don't whine or bark for long periods of time.
  • If your dog fouls in a public space, you should clean it up.
  • Always keep your dog under control e.g. use a lead when walking the dog when in public spaces.
Click here to return to What is Anti-social behaviour.

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