Brits made over 460,000 complaints about their neighbours in 2013 about noise, animals, mess and household disrepair.New research from Churchill Home Insurance has uncovered a nation of neighbourhood disputes, with over 460,0001 complaints made to local councils about neighbours and their behaviour, pets and property – with 104,000 of these made about filthy homes, messy gardens and vermin.
There have been a further 93,579 complaints about the accumulation of refuse, 46,539 about pets causing a local disturbance and 21,090 about parked vehicles causing a disruption.
Fife council received the most complaints per head of population, of all the responding UK councils, as it reports 19,070 statutory nuisance concerns2 – equivalent to 53 complaints per 1000 people. Newcastle (45 per 1000) and Westminster (40 per 1000) complete the top three areas for domestic disturbances.
Noisy neighbours are the major cause of these residential issues nationally, whether it’s with loud music, barking dogs or a DIY din. In nine months in 2013 councils received 200,120 noise complaints.
To combat this, local authorities have issued 4,283 noise abatement notices to persistently loud residents, including 583 in Westminster alone. However these are not always successful in quietening the neighbourhood, as 644 notices were broken during this period.
Martin Scott, head of Churchill home insurance, thinks that these findings present a worrying picture of the affects other people and properties near our homes have on our lives.
"It’s a reminder to all of us to consider that our parties, pets and general property maintenance may be causing our neighbours undue amounts of stress.
Some Home insurance providers, like Churchill, give access to legal advice as standard which may help with a dispute. Householders should consider buying Family Legal protection as part of their home insurance, in case they need to take legal action. With Churchill, legal nuisance is covered under the property protection section of the Family Legal Protection cover. Although having the right home insurance cover is an important part of looking after your property, a good relationship with those around you will make communities safer, more sociable places to live.”
These complaints are spread all over the UK, with Belfast, Lewes, Stockton-On-Tees and Basildon also in the top ten for complaints per head of the population.
However, London boroughs seem to be the noisiest places to live with the councils in Westminster, Tower Hamlets, Southwark and Wandsworth all receiving approximately 5,000 residential noise complaints.
Nottinghamshire county, Worcestershire county and Gwynedd in North Wales appear to be some of the most peaceful neighbourhoods, with less than one complaint per 1000 people.
Yet perhaps the most harmonious place in Britain is the Isles of Scilly, with the islands off the south west coast of Cornwall only recording a single nuisance complaint to the council over this period.