Entering into a dispute with a neighbour can be as emotionally draining as fighting with family members. It can also be financially crippling and should be avoided at all costs. A neighbour is like family; you could be stuck with them for a very long time.

I have had numerous clients in disputes with neighbours. Some have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and others merely tens of thousands in litigation costs. One must be extremely careful not to let things escalate or spin out of control. Not only does the cost of litigation become an enormous burden, but the enjoyment of your home or other property is greatly diminished if every time you open the front door you are concerned about running into your neighbour.

Whether it is a fence dispute, a desire to pave over the mutual drive to set up a smooth surface for a basketball court, a barking dog or a bonfire with the smoke billowing towards the property next door, extra care must be taken to avoid a dispute with a neighbour.

If you or your neighbour are desirous of a change from the existing status quo, the use of finesse, courteousness and extreme caution is highly recommended and should be maintained at all times when broaching the subject. Whether in a city residence or at the cottage, people do not want to be disturbed or be asked to change their lifestyle or how they live.

You want peace and harmony. To get it, you may need the advice of someone with the right experience.