Property

£157m a year to combat neighbours from hell

One in ten UK homeowners have claimed, or will need to claim on their home insurance because of their neighbours.

Warren Lewis
|
19th June 2014
Property

One in ten UK homeowners have claimed, or will need to claim on their home insurance because of their neighbours.

Britain’s number one comparison site found the most common reason for homeowners making a neighbour-related claim on their home insurance (or worrying about making a future claim), was because of property damage from unruly gardens and overgrown trees (29 per cent). “Lack of upkeep” of the house next door is also an issue, with 26 per cent who have claimed on their home insurance saying damage was caused by neighbours neglecting their property, such as leaving guttering clogged and not repairing loose roof tiles.

Of those who think they will have to claim, almost a third (29 per cent) say it will be because of damage their neighbour causes to shared walls and fences. 22 per cent who have had to claim did so because of a gas leak or burst pipe problems on a neighbours’ property, and a quarter (24 per cent) think they will have to claim in the future as a result of this. With claims typically adding around £50 to the average home insurance premium the potential increase to those homeowners affected by nightmare neighbours would be £157million.2

Neighbours don’t always become good friends

One in eight (12%) UK homeowners admit their neighbours will have a major impact when it comes to selling or renting-out their home. Two fifths (39 per cent) say their neighbours’ house looks unsightly, with another 38 per cent saying rubbish is left in clear view, and for 37 per cent their neighbours’ antisocial behaviour, including parties and loud music is also an issue.

A third of UK homeowners (30 per cent) are concerned about obvious structural damage and subsidence on their neighbours’ property, and over a quarter (27 per cent) have issues about pest problems caused by neighbours. Another gripe that gets 25 per cent of UK homeowners’ blood boiling is unsightly vehicles parked in a neighbour’s driveway.

Brit’s top 5 traits of an annoying neighbour…

They are noisy, e.g. play loud music, shout, argue, slam doors

They leave their garden unkempt

They don’t control their pets, e.g. their dog is always barking / leaving a mess in my garden

Their children are out of control

They are nosy

Time for action…

The research revealed Brits won’t necessarily be shy when dealing with nightmare neighbours. Almost a third (28 per cent) say they would have words with their neighbour immediately; 22 per cent would take it a step further and report their neighbour to the local council, and 14 per cent would take a more extreme measure and report their neighbour to the police.

The British ‘stiff upper lip’ still hampers some, with 43 per cent saying they would leave it a few weeks to see if the problem solved itself, and 12 per cent saying they would do nothing and just put up with their unruly neighbours.

Kevin Pratt, insurance expert at MoneySuperMarket.com, said: “While it might not be as traumatic as the dramas found on Coronation Street and Albert Square, a lot of us have put up with nightmare neighbours at some point and, let’s be honest, it isn’t a nice experience.

“Whether intentionally or unintentionally, if the behavior of a neighbour causes damage to your home, you need to know you won’t suffer financial hardship as a result. Ensuring you have adequate buildings insurance is essential to guarantee that one of your most important assets – your home – is protected. It’s just a shame that something your neighbour does could lead you to have to make a claim and suffer higher insurance premiums because of it.

When attempting to deal with your annoying neighbours, it’s crucial to keep your cool and not lose your temper. Having an informal chat with your neighbour and outlining the problem can often be the best solution. However, if you’re not getting anywhere, perhaps speak to your local council or Citizens Advice, who should be able to offer support.”

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