Here’s a rather unnerving fact, as highlighted in research from insurance company CPP: a million Britons have moved house because of disputes with their neighbours. Yes, one in 20 of us have opted to sell up because of increasing tensions with — or bad behaviour from — the people who live nearby.
So what's bugging everyone? Well, CPP says issues around garden maintenance “top the list of disputes, with more than a quarter (27%) of feuds due to people leaving their homes, gardens and streets in a state of disrepair.”
Other causes of argy-bargy include excessive noise (15%), boundary disputes (7%), stolen parking spaces (7%) and children wandering around on neighbouring properties (6%). The Directgov website, meanwhile, states that around 3,000 court-ordered evictions of social tenants take place every year. The reason? Ironically (for social tenants) it’s anti-social behaviour.
It doesn’t HAVE to be this way, of course, and it would be so much easier if we learnt to rub along. For starters, when new neighbours appear, introduce yourself and invite them into your home for a drink, even if it's just a cup of tea. If you are having any work done on your house, make sure you tell neighbours in good time and gauge their reaction. Also, keep them up-to-date with how it’s going. Make sure your side of the fence is always neat and tidy; and offer to keep an eye on their property, water their plants and feed their cat when they are on holiday. If things do get heated, try the (calm and reasonable) face-to-face approach — rather than posting a blunt message through the door. It’s good to talk, after all…