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The Telegraph's legal expert, Solicitor Advocate Frank Maguire of Thompsons Solicitors turns his attention to the problems caused by noisy neighbours, and spells out what you can do if you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in this situation.

If you are being disturbed by noisy neighbours you have a number of options, depending on the seriousness of the problem.

Talking things through with your neighbours should be the first port of call. Always try to be reasonable and try to reach a compromise rather than laying down the law.

Bear in mind the fact that the person may not realise they are disturbing you. A neighbour might have their television up loud due to deafness and be completely unaware how it might be affecting you.

It can be helpful to keep a diary to see if there is a pattern of noisy behaviour that will allow you to keep a handle on what has been happening.

If you have spoken to your neighbour and you still wish the problem addressed then you should contact your local council.

Under new laws on anti-social behaviour, councils must have plans for dealing with the issue in their area. Each council is different so the service you get depends on where you live.

Sometimes it is possible for the council, police, social workers and other interested parties to meet with the person who is causing the problem, talk about it and agree what to do about their behaviour.

If an agreement is reached this is called an Acceptable Behaviour Contract.

If after all that, the situation still does not improve then the council can apply to the court to get an anti-social behaviour order against the person causing the problems.

Dealing with noisy neighbours can be a very delicate matter. If you cannot talk matters over with family or friends you should contact the Citizens Advice Bureau or Shelter to discuss your best options.

Remember, if you feel unsafe or intimidated or are the victim of crime then you should contact the police and should not consider approaching your neighbour.

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