Neighbours From Hell Costing us Thousands

As the theme tune goes – ‘Everybody needs good neighbours’ – but not everyone is lucky enough to get along with the people next door.  According to new research, bad neighbours are not only stressful to live next to, they can adversely affect the sale of your home, with would-be buyers looking for tell-tale signs of potentially problematic neighbours.

The survey, commissioned by GoCompare, found that 28% of people have fallen out with a neighbour, with the most common disputes concerning noise, issues with pets and rubbish.  For 6% of respondents, the relationship with next door became so bad it escalated into a legal dispute.

The 10 most common neighbourly disputes %
1 Noise (e.g. loud music, shouting, banging doors) 40
2 Problems with a neighbour’s pets (barking and fouling) 25
3 Issues with a neighbour leaving rubbish or junk in their garden 16
4 Dispute over a parking space 14
5 Overgrown trees and hedges 13
6 Dispute over maintenance/repairs to boundary hedge or fence 11
7 Damage to property or car caused by neighbour 10
8 Boundary dispute 10
9 Home or garden damaged by a neighbour or neighbouring property 9
10 My home has been infested by vermin, moths, bed bugs, fleas, etc. from a neighbouring property 7

The survey also revealed that 48% of buyers would be put-off a house if the garden of a neighbouring property was littered with rubbish, with 43% claiming they wouldn’t buy a property if the neighbouring address was in a dilapidated state.  Over a third (37%) wouldn’t buy a home next door to a student let.

  • 28% of people have fallen out with a neighbour;
  • 48% wouldn’t buy a property with rubbish strewn in a neighbour’s garden;
  • A neighbouring student let would stop 37% of buyers from purchasing a property;
  • 6% of people have been in a legal dispute with a neighbour.

On the bright-side, the survey also found that many neighbours get along well and help each other out.  Half of those surveyed said they would call their neighbour a friend, 51% have lent items to a neighbour and 42% have borrowed items.  Just over half (51%) of respondents look after a neighbour’s property if they are away and water their plants or feed their pets.

Commenting on the research, Ben Wilson, GoCompare’s home insurance spokesperson said, “Most people get along well with their neighbours, however, not all neighbours are easy to live next to. If you have an issue with a neighbour, the first thing you should do is to have a friendly chat with them, as they may be completely unaware of any upset they may be causing.  If you’re unable to resolve the matter amicably, depending on the cause of the dispute, there are a number of options available to you.  Citizens Advice have a useful step-by-step guide on the action you can take, and your home insurance may provide valuable help as well.

Ben Wilson continued, “What’s also worth noting, anyone looking to sell their property is legally required to disclose information about any disputes they’ve had with neighbours on the ‘Seller’s Property Information Form’ provided by their solicitor.  Providing false or omitting information could lead to legal action taken against you by the buyers – so as ever, honesty is the best policy.”

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