06 Sep 2022

Neighbours at war

You didn’t mean to go to war, but your neighbour makes your life miserable and won’t listen to reason. If it’s not drumming in the middle of the night, parking to block you in or children running amok, it’s letting their garden grow wild, blocking your sunlight and sowing weed seeds into your immaculate flower bed.

Everybody needs good neighbours and a little understanding goes a long way. However, if things go wrong, communication can break down very quickly and it can become a really difficult situation to live with.

At Scottish Mediation, we know how distressing and disruptive disagreements between neighbours can be. We also know that mediation can help but the cost is often prohibitive. We are delighted that, thanks to funding from The Safedeposits Scotland Charitable Trust, we can now offer professional mediation free of charge – as long as one of the neighbours lives in private rented accommodation.

What is mediation?

Mediation provides an independent expert mediator to help people discuss and find a solution to the issues that they are facing. They help neighbours consider the options for moving forward to work out an agreement.

With the help of the mediator, disputing neighbours decide whether they can resolve things and what the solution should be. The mediator doesn’t take sides or make judgements. They make sure that everyone gets a chance to tell their version of events, hear the other side, work through the issues that are important to them and make an agreement. The parties to the mediation are in control of finding the solution.


  • Helps you to solve problems that you are facing
  • Is confidential, unbiased and voluntary
  • Encourages early resolution of disagreements
  • Puts you and your neighbour in control of the outcome
  • Can resolve disputes quickly
  • Shows that you are keen to resolve your dispute amicably
  • Helps to lay the foundation for better future relationships.

How successful is mediation?

In recent cases of this type referred through the Scottish Mediation Helpline, over 75 per cent have resulted in an agreement and in the remaining cases the mediation has at least clarified the issues and gone some way to improve communications and relationships.

Read our recent case study

Who is eligible for free neighbour mediation?

You are eligible for free mediation if:

  • You live in Scotland
  • Either you or your neighbour lives in private rented accommodation
  • Both you and your neighbour agree to participate in mediation.

If necessary we can tell your neighbour about mediation and answer any queries. Mediation can be requested by either yourself, your neighbour or your landlord or letting agent.

How can I access mediation or find out more?

Just contact the Scottish Mediation Helpline on 0131 556 8118 or email admin@scottishmediation.org.uk for a confidential discussion or more information or see our website scottishmediation.org.uk

Written by May Millward

May Millward has been a project officer with Scottish Mediation for seven years. Scottish Mediation is the professional body for mediators in Scotland. Her earlier career was mostly in HR in the public sector where she set up and managed a UK wide workplace mediation service. Since joining Scottish Mediation May has been involved in a number of projects including a Third Sector project providing free and low cost mediation to charities and voluntary organisations. She also delivers Mediating Skills workshops using mediation techniques to  improve conflict handling skills.