Neighbours can be a wonderful source of company and support. However, sometimes disputes with neighbours do happen. This page has advice on relationships with neighbours.


Older people may have the skills to provide community leadership and problem solving, such as advocating with the council for community improvements.

Older people may be at home when younger people are at work, so they can keep an eye on the neighbourhood and help keep it a safe place. You might even consider joining or setting up a Neighbourhood Support Group (also known as Neighbourhood Watch).

Another way to keep your neighbourhood feeling safe and secure is to get to know your neighbours! Make the most of opportunities such as Neighbours Day and online via Neighbourly to try and stay connected with the people around you.

Resolving disputes

Most neighbourly disputes can be resolved amicably but there are some cases where you may need help.
Your local Age Concern can provide advice and support on neighbourly disputes. 

Problems between neighbours typically revolve around noise, trees, animals, fencing and boundary disputes, trespass and nuisance, use of buildings, and intimidating or abusive people.

Your local council has by-laws covering many of these issues. Services include noise control officers, removing rubbish or forcing landowners to do rubbish removal, environmental health inspectors, animal control, and Resource Management Act enforcement. 

Keep a record of your complaints – record the day, time and nature of the problem, who you contacted and their response. Any criminal behaviour (such as property damage, violence or threats of violence) needs to be reported to the Police.

You could take your dispute to a Disputes Tribunal. It costs very little and there are no lawyers involved. Contact the local District Court for details. Use court action as a last resort.

Housing New Zealand

If you need to make a complaint about someone living in a Housing New Zealand property:


Consumer on neighbourhood disputes

Citizens Advice Bureau Or call 0800 FOR CAB (0800 367 222)

Neighbourhood Support (Neighborhood Watch)

Legal Services Agency - Law Access 


Mary Tilly [right] and Evelyn Hodge are thought to be Britain's longest continuous neighbours (2008). Mary Tilley, 94, moved into her home in Cambridge in 1935. She was joined a year later by 72-year-old Evelyn Hodge – then a newborn baby – who moved in with her parents. Photo: MASONS