Nightmare neighbours potentially setting Britons back an eye-watering £157m a year

19th June 2014

Nightmare neighbours could potentially cost Britons £157m a year as households claim on their insurance as a result of unruly local residents says new research.

According to a survey from comparison site, some 10% or UK homeowners have claimed, or will need to claim on their home insurance because of people next door.

It found the most common reason, at 29%, for homeowners making a neighbour-related claim on their home insurance was because of property damage from unruly gardens and overgrown trees.

Lack of upkeep of the house next door is also a major bugbear, with 26% of those 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, at 29%, say it will be because of damage their neighbour causes to shared walls and fences. Some 22% who have had to claim did so because of a gas leak or burst pipe problems on a neighbours’ property, and 24% worryingly believe 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, says MoneySuperMarket.

Stressful: Bad neighbours

Stressful: Bad neighbours

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

Some 30% are concerned about obvious structural damage and subsidence on their neighbours’ property, and over a quarter, at 27%, have issues about pest problems caused by neighbours.

Briton’s top five traits of an annoying neighbour…

  1. They are noisy, e.g. play loud music, shout, argue, slam doors
  2. They leave their garden unkempt
  3. They don’t control their pets, e.g. their dog is always barking / leaving a mess in my garden
  4. Their children are out of control
  5. They are nosy

Time for action…

But the research also revealed that Britons will not necessarily be shy when dealing with nightmare neighbours, with 28% admitting they would have words with their neighbour immediately while 22% would take it a step further and report their neighbour to the local council, and 14% would take a more extreme measure and report their neighbour to the police.

MoneySuperMarket’s insurance expert Kevin Pratt 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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