Legal Q&A: how do we stop our neighbours complaining about our house party?

Question: We live in a mews and are planning to hold a Christmas drinks party for 40 or 50 people on December 23 but we’re worried about the neighbours on one side.

They have never been friendly and complained about the noise from a barbecue we held in the summer.

Now I can see they’ll be having another moan. What can we do to avoid a dust-up?

Answer: Arguments between neighbours often result from one causing excessive noise, such as playing loud music which disturbs the other’s quiet enjoyment of their home, or from people parking their vehicles badly and causing obstruction. 

You probably have little parking available. Explain this to your guests and suggest suitable alternative parking for them. Hopefully, few will drive if they plan to drink alcohol.

Talk to your neighbours and warn them you intend to hold a drinks party. Be specific. Give them the date, the time and an indication of the number of people you are expecting.

If you are unable to speak to the neighbours, email them or pop a note through the letter box.

Being a drinks party, presumably it will take place earlier rather than later in the evening and though the usual noise and hustle and bustle of people arriving and leaving your property cannot be avoided, remind your guests that you have neighbours and ask them to be considerate and not noisy when they leave. Ask any guests who go outside for a smoke to be quiet, too.

It is the season of goodwill, so perhaps you could invite the neighbours? Relations may be improved if they are a part of your festivities.

These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.

If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, please email or write to Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, W8 5EE. Questions cannot be answered individually, but we will try to feature them here. Fiona McNulty is a solicitor specialising in residential property

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