Seven in 10 Brits have had issues with neighbours: Here's how to resolve conflict amicably

·5-min read
Seven in ten Brits have had a brush with nightmare neighbours. (Getty Images)
Seven in ten Brits have had a brush with nightmare neighbours. (Getty Images)

"Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours", the theme tune of the famous Australian soap imparts, but turns out most of us are not really living in harmony with the folks next door. 

New research shows that 68% of Brits have had issues with their neighbours in the past, with 10% saying things have got so bad they've actually reported them to the council.

Other (not so) neighbourly disputes have escalated to the point that 5% have admitted to calling the police on them, and a further five 5% say the problem has been so consuming they've been forced to move home!

The research, by regulated property buyers, GoodMove, also revealed the behaviours and incidents that have really been grinding our gears when it comes to the homes next door. 

Turns out the top frustration is living next door to someone who is extremely loud with almost two third (68%) claiming that is the worst neighbourly annoyance.  

Read more: Gazumped! How to avoid the biggest property pitfall

(Getty Images)
Nosy neighbours are also proving a problem for Brits. (Getty Images)

Meanwhile curtain twitchers should be warned as being overly nosy (53%) was the second most complained about behaviour. 

Those neighbours who consistently park or block your drive are also up there on the most annoying list, with over half (52%) saying that was a wind up. 

Other irritating behaviours include neighbours who have a questionable lifestyle for example running illegal businesses from home, with 49% not being down with that, and having lost of parties and guests over (41%).

It seems little ones are also irking some home owners with 41% complaining that having loud/annoying children is a real problem. 

But being kept up by your neighbours bedroom activities is also a problem some are suffering with a quarter considering loud sex to be the worst behaviours.

In response to such negative behaviour, the most common response from UK homeowners is complaining about them to others (30%) or in typical British fashion - simply ignoring the problem and hoping it might go away, which a quarter of us are currently doing. 

However, it’s not all bad, 45% said their neighbours help them by taking in deliveries and watering plants when they're away, 17% claim they're very close to their neighbours and hang out with them all the time, and almost one in five (19%) have even given their neighbours a key to their home.

Read more: Good news for renters: It's now cheaper not to own your home

(Getty Images)
Having loud neighbours is the biggest pet peeve. (Getty Images)

What to do if your feuding with your neighbours

It can be all consuming if you are locked in a feud with the folks next door, and knowing what to do next can be tricky.

“Sadly, relationships between neighbours aren’t like they once were decades ago," explains Mary Rouse, property litigation lawyer at Wright Hassall

"Although many homeowners do have friendly neighbours who they have a good relationship with, many people now like to keep their business private and keep interaction with their neighbours to a minimum.”

If you do have a disagreement with your neighbour, Rouse says it is important to approach the situation in a calm manner, to prevent the issue from escalating.

“If you are experiencing rising tension with your neighbours, then our advice would be to first approach them in a mature and reasonable manner," she explains. "If you have an issue with the noise coming from their house for example, then it’s always best to politely ask them to lower their music and don’t retaliate.”

Knowing when to take things further can also be tricky. 

“We’re more than aware that sometimes there is no reasoning with some neighbours and situations can get out of hand," Rouse continues. "If you have reached out to your local authorities to make a formal complaint and that still hasn’t had an impact, it may now be the time to see legal advice from a lawyer in this particular field.”

Watch: UK residents blast developers for leaving housing estate looking like "a pile of rubble"

Rouse has put together some further tips to help deal with nuisance neighbours, from unbearably loud music to parking wars.

Keep it calm

If your neighbour is playing loud music or being disruptive, then it’s important to approach the situation in a calm manner. 

"Explain to your neighbour that you hope they’re having a good time, but you would be extremely grateful if they could turn the volume down slightly," Rouse suggests. 

Practise what you preach

If you’re complaining to your neighbours on a regular basis, it’s important that they can’t bring up any similar arguments against you. 

"Keep noise levels to a minimum, park in your designated parking space if you have one and just be a respectable neighbour overall," Rouse advises. 

Read more: Deceptive London house skinnier than a London bus goes on sale for £600K

(Getty Images)
Try to keep calm if you are going to confront your nightmare neighbour. (Getty Images)

Keep recordings

If your neighbours aren’t listening to your concerns, then you may want to consider documenting when they are being disruptive, as well as keeping a time log. 

"It's important to do this incase your dispute escalates and you wish to make a complaint with your local authorities," Rouse says. 

Don’t retaliate

If you find your neighbours aren’t reasoning with you, it’s important to not let frustration get the better of you. 

"Sometimes it feels like the only way to solve the issue is to retaliate and play loud music or be disruptive, but this is only going to escalate the issue and go against you further down the line," Rouse advises. 

Seek legal help

Hopefully it won’t come to this stage, but if you feel like problems between you and your neighbour are now unresolvable, you may want to seek guidance from a residential property disputes lawyer. 

"They can give you expert help on how to proceed with the situation," she adds. 

Watch: Dare To Compare challenge pit two neighbours against each other to see who’s saving more on household bills

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