We have the right to use our property as we like either as a tenant or owner as long as we obey the law and respect other’s people’s property. There are times when what we do on our property will affect our neighbour, just as our neighbour can affect us. Working out any problems together is the best way to maintain good relationship with our neighbours. Whether you are living in a city apartment or suburban home, nothing makes our home less enjoyable than the presence of pests. If your property has been infested by pests which could be anything from wasps to mice and rats, and you believe that your neighbour is the source, what should you do? Can you sue your neighbours if pests from their property invade your home? It is important to know your legal rights in order to avoid problems with your neighbours.
Cleanliness is your best defence against pest; ensure that your property is not the source of pest infestation. You wouldn’t want to accuse your neighbour if you’re the source. Filthy or badly maintained homes don’t necessarily mean they cause the infestation. Any property or surrounding land can be susceptible if it provides food, warmth and shelter to pests. If you believe that your neighbours might be responsible for attracting the pest, first try to have a polite word them. If you confirm that the pests are coming from your neighbours home or garden, you can politely ask them to deal with the issue. If your neighbours are renters, you can complain to their landlord. The best solution is to advise your neighbour or your concern in a friendly manner. If they fail to take remedial action and the problem is not fixed, you can now file a complaint to the council’s environmental health department.
Environmental health can serve a notice and order your neighbours to take remedial actions. If they refuse, the council can arrange for work to be done and charge your neighbours or their landlord for it. Pests need to be controlled because they can transmit disease to humans. If the pests affect your health you may need to contact public liability lawyers. You could claim negligence in small claims court and recover the cost of treatment and repair. If talking with your neighbour, council action and mediation have not resolved the pest issue; consider getting legal advice to see if you have a case you can pursue in court. Unless there’s a direct threat to your physical or mental well-being, always try to explore every possible way to settle the dispute before considering legal action.
Speak to a lawyer about your rights as well as any potential way to solve the issue. Instead of going to the court system, your lawyer may recommend that you go through mediation to reach an agreement to keep your cost down. Taking legal action is often costly and time consuming, and could cause permanent damage to your relationship with your neighbour. Going to the court should be your last resort, finding a practical solution to neighbourhood problems is still the best. Many neighbour disputes can be dealt with by contacting local authority first or getting the landlord or housing association involved. It is often sufficient to get the matters resolved without matters ending up in court. The most effective way of solving pest infestation is usually to talk and try to come up with an agreement that suits you both. It will be both in your interest to stay on reasonable terms since you could be living near each other for the time to come.