It was revealed almost one in 10 people have moved due to poor neighbour relations – cited as a bigger motivator for relocating than being nearer to family or a good school, or downsizing.
(PRWEB) March 18, 2010
New research(1) from Halifax Home Insurance has found that over 360,000 Britons moved home in the past 12 months as a result of irritating neighbours.
It was revealed almost one in 10 people have moved due to poor neighbour relations – cited as a bigger motivator for relocating than being nearer to family or a good school, or downsizing (2).
The buildings and contents insurance provider also noted these neighbour ‘break-ups’ are directly linked to greater levels of neighbourly disturbances, which have risen by a third in the last two years (3).
The most frequent complaints fueling the moves include aggressive behaviour (60 per cent), excessive noise (53 per cent) and a messy property or garden (19 per cent).
Other factors involve neighbours allowing their home to fall into disrepair (18 per cent), stealing and even ‘curtain twitching’ (12 per cent and 11 per cent respectively).
With one in every three neighbours having a dispute, the insurer today urges homeowners to resolve issues amicably4 as it can affect the value of a property. According to Halifax Home Insurance house-buyers are willing to pay a £5,000 premium for the guarantee of good neighbours, whereas anti-social ones can reduce house prices by up to £30,000 (5).
And it seems the fear of devaluing property has caused millions of Britons to unwittingly break the law when moving. Four in five sellers with a nuisance neighbour didn’t inform prospective buyers or estate agents of the problem – which is a legal requirement (6).
The findings show neighbours can be a costly problem for non-movers without buildings insurance too. A fifth of Brits report that a neighbour has caused damage to their property (18 per cent) costing an average of £312 per incident to fix.
Commenting on the findings, Martyn Foulds, senior claims manager at Halifax Home Insurance said:
“Having a good neighbour is one of the most rewarding things a homeowner can experience; not only will they keep an eye on your property when you’re away, but they may also become a close friend. People shouldn’t put up the ‘for sale’ at the first sight of problems with a neighbour – it may just be a simple misunderstanding."
Halifax Home Insurance covers malicious damage as standard under its home buildings and contents policy as long as the property isn’t unoccupied for more than 30 consecutive days. In order to make a malicious damage claim, a crime reference number will be required. The insurer also offers optional legal cover for an additional premium. This includes any legal costs incurred while defending a customer's legal rights, such as costs arising due to damage to property, interference with the enjoyment of the home (e.g. unacceptable noise disturbance), boundary disputes or trespass.
The insurer is also providing advice to homeowners on how to deal with Neighbour issues, including the following:
Take Note – To avoid a heated confrontation with a neighbour, try dropping a polite note through the letter box which clearly and calmly explains your grievance and proposes a solution. This can then be followed up by a peaceful conversation.
Open invitation – If you’re on speaking terms with the neighbour, try inviting them into your home so they can experience the issues you’re having (how loud their music sounds in your house for example). This will show the neighbour that you’re not being unreasonable.
It works both ways – Remember that the neighbour may be behaving erratically because of something you’re doing – for example the sound of you walking around may be deafening to the flat below. Try talking to them about their issues.
Keep in the loop – Make sure you keep your neighbour informed of anything that may disturb them – for instance building work or a house party. This will help maintain good relations between you and will encourage them to let you know of anything they’ve planned that you may find a nuisance.
Conciliation – There are Neighbour Conciliation and Mediation groups that act as the middle man in disputes. You can find your local service either in the phone book, online or by calling your local authority Housing Department.
Further advice available upon request.
For further information please contact:
Chris Blackwood, B&B Comms
Tel 020 7419 8635 Mob: 0779 524 7275 or Email: chris.blackwood(at)bbpr(dot)com
Henry Warrington, B&B Comms
Tel: 020 7419 7000 or Email: henry(at)bbpr(dot)com
Research was commissioned by Halifax Home Insurance plc and conducted by ICM Research between in 19-22 February 2010.The research programme used a nationally representative survey of 2,000 UK adults 18+.
(1) The adult population of the UK is around 45 million (ONS). Nine per cent of Brits have moved house because of issues with a neighbour. Nine per cent of 45 million = 4,050,000 Brits. A further nine per cent did this move in the last year. Nine per cent of 4.05 million = 364,500 – approx 360,000.
(2) Nine per cent of Brits moved house in the last year because of nuisance neighbours, compared to seven per cent who relocated to be closer to family or downsize and the four per cent who moved to be closer to a good school.
(3) Halifax Home Insurance commissioned FDS International who used statistics from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) to chart neighbour disturbances from 1996-2007. By replicating the questions asked to survey respondents, FDS were then able to extend the date range a further two years to the end of 2009, revealing that 17.01 per cent of households have suffered from neighbour disturbance, a 34 per cent rise on 2007 figures and a figure last seen in 1997 (BHPS).
(4) 32 per cent of homeowners currently have issues with a neighbour, the equivalent to just over three in 10, or one in three.
(5) FDS International used statistics from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) to chart neighbour disturbances from 1996-2006. By replicating the questions asked to survey respondents, FDS were then able to extend the date range a further three years to the end of 2009. Buyers questioned as part of the research stated that they would reduce their asking price for a property with nuisance neighbours by between £10,600-31,500 depending on the issues. More details available upon request.
(6) 81 per cent of people who moved because of issues with a neighbour didn’t disclose the problem to prospective buyers or an estate agent. It is a legal requirement for a seller to give honest and full replies to any inquiries made about neighbours from the buyer’s solicitors and complete a Property Information Form, which specifically asks about whether the seller has made or received complaints from a neighbour. If the seller doesn’t give honest replies, the buyer could bring a claim of misrepresentation against them.