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Who Actually Talks to Their Neighbours?

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 21 Sep 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Neighbour Problem Dispute Neighbourhood

Most of us seem to rub along with our neighbours quite happily, most of the time, apart from the occasional noisy party or a slight disagreement over whose parking space belongs to who. But the problem of nuisance neighbours is a very widespread one, and it might surprise you to find out just how common.

Did you know that over a million people claim that they have had to move home because they’ve had problems with their neighbours, problems which include everything from noise, parking disagreements and shared area maintenance.

One of the things that the Problem Neighbours site - and many other sites that advise people on how to deal with troublesome neighbours – advises as a first step in dealing with a neighbour that’s causing problems is to talk to the offending neighbour. That might not be so easy for many of us though. According to CPP, a life assurance company which recently carried out research into neighbourhood disputes, getting on with neighbours isn’t quite as simple as it’s cracked up to be, and this, coupled with a lack of communication is causing problems and exacerbating any disputes.

A spokesman for the company told the Daily Mail that he found it “amazing” that one in four people in the UK don’t even talk to the people who may have been living next door to them for years, and that he thought that might be the root cause of a lot of the problems we see these days.

What are The Biggest Nuisance Neighbour Problems?

According to the most recent survey, disagreements about messy and unkempt gardens, or homes that aren’t properly maintained were top of the list of things that people fall out with their neighbours about. Over a quarter of people, 27 per cent, said that home and garden maintenance issues were their number one bugbear with adjoining neighbours – so our advice is to keep the garden tidy and not let the house get in a state as you’ll have the next door neighbours fuming behind their net curtains – and they will probably be too shy to actually tell you!

After weeds and overgrown gardens, or peeling paintwork, the other most common things that get people all stressed out are excessive noise, which 15 per cent of people admitted to finding unbearable, the ubiquitous boundary dispute, pinching the neighbours parking spots and children going where they shouldn’t. Boundary disputes and parking racked up first place in 7 per cent of people’s stress list, and children weren’t far behind at 6 per cent.

Falling Out isn’t Hard to Do

We’re clearly a belligerent bunch, or at the very least there are an awful lot of inconsiderate neighbours out there, as the CPP research suggested that around one in five of us has been involved in a dispute with their neighbours just in the past year. Not only do one in four of us hardly ever bother to pass the time of day with the people living closest to us, but apparently a shocking one in seven of us don’t even know their names!

Some people are downright unapproachable, we know, but at the same time, if a little effort is all it takes to make life a bit easier all round, isn’t it worth a cheery ‘hello’ when you see the next door neighbour at the corner shop? The people next door will be much more likely to put up with your loud Christmas party if you tell them first – or even invite them – and building a cordial relationship with people close by can be invaluable for both of you if there are any problems.

The Cost of Not Talking

Falling out with the neighbours is an expensive and long-winded business, since people aren’t talking to each other and they end up having to call in the authorities to resolve problems. Around a fifth of people have reported a nuisance neighbour to the police or their local council. A staggering £100million was spent on sorting out problem neighbours and neighbourhood disputes just in 2010.

Boundary disputes, just as one example, can cost thousands and thousands of pounds if they go as far as the courts for a decision – even if they are resolved before the court hearing there will be time and money spent on dealing with solicitors and paperwork. A case in 2011 involving a small piece of land next to a row of garages managed to rack up legal costs of over £60,000. If you’re considering legal action, the best advice is to try and involve a mediation service and not go straight to the lawyers – there will still be a cost involved but it’s very unlikely to be anything like £60,000!

It's good to talk!

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[Add a Comment]
harley - Your Question:
Our neighbour decided half of the access was hers and sent a solicitors letter to us even though we had given us copies of deeds which showed she was wrong. We agreed to put a fence between us but she wouldn't agree to the true measure, now she is selling up without sorting the dispute as it wasn't the answer she wanted - we are going to move in next few months too, as this has made me unhappy in my home - as why do some people just want to cause problems for others

Our Response:
There are lots of people like this around as you can see from our website comments! Really you should never have agreed to the fence in the first place if your deeds showed otherwise. We hope this doesn't cause problems when you come to sell.
ProblemNeighbours - 1-Sep-15 @ 2:06 PM
Our neighbour decided half of the access was hers and sent a solicitors letter to us even though we had given us copies of deeds which showed she was wrong. We agreed to put a fence between us but she wouldn't agree to the true measure, now she is selling up without sorting the dispute as it wasn't the answer she wanted - we are going to move in next few months too, as this has made me unhappy in my home - as why do some people just want to cause problems for others
harley - 31-Aug-15 @ 11:20 PM
@Rich. Try putting up a bollard or three-on your side of course.
Class-Act - 24-Jun-15 @ 4:34 PM
@rich. The terms refers to temporary moments of trespass (such as opening car door etc). Constant driving over your property would probably constitute more than this, but you'd really need to seek legal advice to get a proper answer.
ProblemNeighbours - 14-May-15 @ 2:00 PM
My neighbour keeps using my drive to access his vehicle (a large transit van) ,and recently he has had work done to his property which involved a contractor using my drive for access will I was at work , when I spoke to neighbour I was told that it was transient trespass and there was nothing I could do this comment applied to the maintenance as well he is still using my drive for access to his van , I have tried talking to him but he is not interested and has verbally insulted me,before taking it further I would like to know if there is such a term as Transient Trespass.
rich - 10-May-15 @ 4:46 PM
@Spooky. Call you water company and/or environmental health. They will be able to take action relating sanitation/sewerage issues.
ProblemNeighbours - 29-Apr-15 @ 11:47 AM
My neighbour has a broken soil pipe (for about 10 years) so fecal fluid is running down his walls. He is aware of this but does nothing about it. He is weird,never opens his curtains, or does his gardening. What action can I take, I live in the adjoining semi detached own homed property.
Spooky - 23-Apr-15 @ 11:16 PM
@Jo.You could try to get the access and maintenance issue sorted out via a solicitor. If necessary try and get everyone together and discuss any issues in an amicable manner...getting the neighbours on-side will make all the other issues seem less of a burden.
ProblemNeighbours - 16-Mar-15 @ 2:28 PM
My mother very kindly allowed me to move to our old family home as she has moved somewhere bigger. I lived next to a man who took his motorbike across my drive and down a footpath which ran next to my living room and I could not cope with it any more. In the new place there is a footpath which runs down to a lovely cottage. Unfortunately, the people in the five flats in front of me use my pathway to access their bin store.Before I moved in, one neighbour started telling me that the footpath was partly theirs and I should not leave things there.(Apparently they were friends with the tenant and were not happy she was told to move). I had to pay a solicitor £300 to confirm that I have the freehold. The original 1920 lease states that it is meant for occasional access and that this can be revoked if they do not pay 1/3 maintenance ofthe gate on the street; they never have. I have tried writing and requesting that they stop and I wouldn't mind so much if just one of the flats who have the bins in her garden used it. There has just been a confrontation because I said to a window cleaner that they should let me know if there are people other than residents using my footpath. One lady started telling me that it is a public footpath and the other one was shouting at me from the balcony that I am just causing problems and that I am paranoid. My mother lived here before and has left the place empty and disappeared to Barbados because it was too much for her to cope with residents always being in the path. Then it has been let for the past 5 years as I did not really want to live here even though it should be lovely. I find it difficult to go out because I might be accosted either by someone using the bin access or the lady shouting down at me from her balcony. The balcony does not even have planning permission and is a new development while there were tenants in the property. Now she shouts down at me when I am just trying to get to my house. They all stand there looking into my house and I had to move the sofa as I felt so uncomfortable. The other week she virtually accused me of poisoning her cat. They seemed to befriend the workmen and I think that they sabotaged the renovation. None of the other neighbours want to talk to me even though we have had this place for over 20 years. Even the dog walkers are being strange towards me. I really cannot face a move again and this would be heartbreaking as my mother bought this place 22 years ago. I also have a little girl. What on earth do I do?
Jo - 13-Mar-15 @ 11:57 AM
i moved into a council flat in Jan 14. In terrible condition,garden has not been looked at for at least 30 years, the guy upstairs opposite me has been a consistent complainer for over 5yrs. infact i was told by my housing manager, that the reason why the council moved the previous tenant out was because he was being physically abused on a weekly basis by this neighbour. i know this is true,as I have spoken to him. the police and ASBO officer come around to me atleast twice aweek because of his complaints, why are the police/council protecting him and hot the rest of us. everyone I speak to hates him. the council have told me I cannot install a security/cctv as it will intrude on his garden. My back garden backs on to a park, and I have boys jumping over the fence at night as a short cut
donone - 12-Aug-14 @ 11:40 PM
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