Posted on 31st October 2014

Love Thy Neighbour

Latimer Hinks Solicitors

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

The most common reason for homeowners making a neighbour-related claim on their home insurance was because of property damage from unruly gardens and over-grown trees (29 per cent), according to "Lack of upkeep of the house next door is also an issue - 26 per cent of those who have claimed on their home insurance say 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 just under a quarter (24 per cent) think they will have to claim in the future because 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.

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. A quarter 25 of UK homeowners are annoyed by their neighbours leaving unsightly disused vehicles on driveways. Other causes of conflict include

Neighbours who dont control their pets for example by letting dogs bark too often or letting pets foul in the street or neighbouring gardens. Out of control children and loud music are other significant causes for concern.

The research revealed that the so-called British stiff upper lip may be on the wane, as large numbers say they would confront their neighbor. 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 the problem neighbour to the police.

If you do decide to confront a neighbour, here are some useful tips:

  • Try to stay calm and friendly, being aggressive is not going to help.
  • Explain what the problem is, how you feel and how it affects you.
  • Listen to your neighbour and think about what they are saying.
  • Try not to interrupt the other person when they are talking and do not shout, even if your neighbour does!
  • You should also be prepared to change your own behaviour if it is causing your neighbour a problem.

Asimple lack of communication is often at the heart of disputes between neighbours, so it's always best to try to resolve a dispute informally before taking legal action.

For further information contact Latimer Hinks: 01325 341500

Please note: This article is intended as guidance only and does not constitute advice, financial or otherwise. No responsibility for loss occasioned/costs arising as a result of any act/failure to act on the basis of this article can be accepted by Latimer Hinks.