Dealing with Neighbour Disputes

  • Recorded on: January 26, 2021

  • Length: 60 minutes


How much noise is too much? What about a neighbour’s smoking? Who pays to repair the fence? Lawyer David Turner of Edwards, Kenny and Bray LLP answers these questions and more about everyday legal problems that arise between neighbours. You’ll learn practical information about your legal rights and how you can enforce them without damaging your relationship with the folks next door.  


In this webinar, you will learn:

  • Steps you can take to deal with a noisy neighbour. [2:45]

  • What nuisance means in law, and how it depends in part on what kind of housing you live in. [3:20]

  • What your landlord must do to protect your rights as a tenant under the Residential Tenancy Act and your rental agreement. [5:20

  • What information you can gather to support a noise complaint. [6:50]

  • Steps you can take when smoke from a neighbour interferes with the quiet use and enjoyment of your living space. [8:50]

  • How to figure out if smoke from a neighbour would be considered a nuisance. [10:20]

  • More steps you can take to deal with a nuisance, like smoke, that unreasonably interferes with the quiet use and enjoyment of your living space. [11:00]

  • A surprising factor to consider about neighbours who smoke. [12:05]

  • What you can do if a neighbour parks outside your home. [15:25]

  • Who pays for the cost of building a new fence. [20:50]

  • What options you have if a neighbour asks you to remove a tree from your property. [25:40]

  • What amounts to trespassing or encroachment on your property, and what you can do about it. [29:20]

  • What you can do if your neighbour’s yard has become an eyesore. [32:10]

  • Practical steps you can take to deal with problems with a neighbour. [38:35]

  • What to consider when deciding whether to hire a lawyer or start a claim with the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT). [42:30]

  • Where you can access no-cost or low-cost help to resolve your dispute through mediation. [46:55]

  • Who’s responsible for maintaining a hedge that runs along a property line. [48:25]

  • Where renters can smoke in a detached house, and whether the rules change if they’re smoking cannabis. [50:40]

  • What you can do if a neighbour continues to smoke in a non-smoking strata, even after receiving warnings from the strata. [52:20]

  • Whether you can be sued or blamed if your neighbour’s kids get hurt while playing on your driveway, even after you have asked them not to. [54:10]

  • Whether you can recover if workers on a neighbour’s construction project cause damage to your property. [56:10]


David Turner

David Turner

David Turner is a partner at EKB, a Vancouver law firm. He has a civil litigation practice with a focus on commercial litigation, employment law, and administrative law. His clients include individuals, small and medium privately held corporations, and pharmacies. David prides himself on obtaining a cost-effective resolution on his files. He has appeared in all levels of court in British Columbia, as well as before such tribunals as the Human Rights Tribunal and the Employment Standards Tribunal.

Attendee feedback

“Thanks! Really appreciated being able to learn more and the examples were great!!”

“Great answers and with our best interest at heart.”

“Liked how David gave your rights, but also the opposing rights — for example, with smoking.” 

“This kind of webinar is more useful than to visit a lawyer and pay tons of money.”  

“Thank you. Keep on doing what you are doing as it's very helpful and much appreciated! Paula, I love the way you always talk with a smile — it brings warmth to an already sunny day!” 

Additional resources

From People’s Law School:

From MediateBC:

  • Virtual Pro Bono Clinic: Mediate BC’s free virtual clinic, offered one day each month, where you can speak one-on-one with a mediator for up to a half-hour.

  • Quarantine Conflict Resolution Service: A low-cost or free (depending on income) mediation service to resolve conflicts that are due to COVID-19. Examples in a neighbourhood context are people not wearing masks in common areas or noise issues now that everyone is spending more time at home.


  • Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre: TRAC is a non-profit organization that provides free legal education, representation, and advocacy on residential tenancy matters.

  • Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT): If trying to sort a problem directly with your neighbour doesn’t work, this online tribunal is a good option for a dispute where less than $5,000 is involved, or you live in a strata.

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This website explains in a general way the law that applies in British Columbia, Canada. The information is not intended as legal advice. The cases we refer to reflect real experiences, but names have been changed. See our full disclaimer.

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