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Your Complete Guide to Dealing with Nuisance Neighbours

Posted 23 April 2019

Do you have problem neighbours? Read this guide to dealing with nuisance neighbours and how insurance could help...

A recent survey found that almost half of all home movers were put off moving by the prospect of noisy neighbours.

The anti-social behaviour of your neighbours can be hugely stressful. So, we’ve put together a handy guide to how you can deal with nuisance neighbours. Keep reading to find out more.

Nearly half of home movers put off by concerns over neighbours

A major survey from full-service estate agent Yopa has revealed that Brits find moving home more stressful than having a baby, getting divorced or having to start a new job.

Furthermore, the research found that 60% of respondents say they’ve been put off moving by the stress of change. When it came to the barriers on finding a new home, concerns over high crime rates put off 53% of potential movers, while 46% of people were worried about noisy neighbours.

Ben Poynter, CEO of Yopa, says: “Our survey proves that moving home can really take it out of you, with more than a third of people left feeling anxious by the whole process.

“Britons know that moving will make them happier in the end, but there are so many perceived barriers that put people off – from noisy neighbours to panic over paperwork and moving mishaps.”

Noisy neighbours can be a problem wherever you live. So, here are some useful tips for dealing with nuisance neighbours.

Keep records of any issues

If you’re enduring problems with your neighbours, start by keeping a record of any problems. These records should include:

  • The date and time
  • What happened
  • How long the issue affected you

Always keep any messages your neighbour sends and collect evidence if you can. For example, take photos of rubbish or damage, or videos of other behaviour such as noisy parties. Photographs will serve as your evidence that the issue is ongoing, and potentially getting worse.

Try speaking to your neighbour if it is safe to do so

If it is safe to do so, you should always politely inform your neighbours when you do notice the initial signs of damage – or the possibility of damage.

Your neighbour may not be aware that their actions are damaging your property. By pointing out the issue, you maybe able to pre-empt a problem and avoid issues further down the line.

Report any anti-social behaviour

Behaviour is normally ‘anti-social’ if it causes nuisance and annoyance. Examples include:

  • Dumping rubbish
  • Excessive noise and disruption
  • Trespassing on your property without permission
  • Harassing you because of gender, race, religion or other characteristics
  • Graffiti
  • Having a dog that is unruly or makes a lot of noise

Anti-social behaviour typically doesn’t include cooking smells, or a baby crying.

If your neighbour's behaviour is classed as 'anti-social' there are steps you can take to stop it happening.

Firstly, if you know who your neighbour’s landlord is, speak to them. This could be a private landlord, a housing association or the council.

If that doesn't sort out the problem, and you haven’t spoken to them already, you can approach your council. Check your local council’s website for how to complain about anti-social behaviour.

Consider using mediation

Mediation involves an impartial legal representative acting as a referee between two parties who have a disagreement. A mediator works to resolve disputes and come up with a mutually beneficial agreement for both parties.

You may have to pay a fee to a mediator, but using mediation is generally quicker and cheaper than going to court, even if your home insurance covers legal expense cover.

Mediation can prevent either side from having to take legal action and can stop any disputes from getting worse.

Make sure you’re insured

Recent research from the AA has found that 16% of legal expenses claims made in 2018 were down to neighbour related issues, up on the figure from 2017.

The AA report that damage claims are most likely to stem from:

  • Water leaks
  • Damage from tree roots
  • Party wall damage due to building works

They also report that nuisance claims are likely to be as a result of:

  • Tree roots
  • Water leaks
  • Noise
  • Prevention of a right of way to a policyholder’s property
  • Invasive plants such as bamboo or Japanese knotweed

Read: Japanese knotweed and mortgages: what you need to know

Most home insurance policies don’t specifically mention damage caused by neighbours – but it will be covered by most policies. For example, if a neighbour above you floods their home, causing damage to yours, you’d be protected by ‘escape of water’ cover.

Similarly, if your neighbour’s child kicks a football through your window, you’d be covered if your home insurance policy has ‘accidental damage’ cover.

In both the examples above, your policy excess will apply.

Taking legal action

If the damage caused by your neighbour is not covered by your insurer and your neighbour has refused to assist, then you may have to consider legal action as a last resort.

If your home insurance policy does include legal expenses cover, you can use it for your potential legal action.

However, the AA say that ‘your insurer will usually first consider whether your claims have ‘reasonable prospects’, that is ‘a 51% and above chance of succeeding with your claim and enforcing any award’.’

You can still take legal action if your home insurance doesn’t include legal expenses, although this can be a costly process.

Watch the AA's video for more information and advice:


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