Nightmare neighbours cost us £50 - at least
Insurance claims directly related to problem neighbours add £50 a year to a typical home insurance premium, according to research.
As many as one in 10 homeowners have claimed or will need to claim on their insurance because of problems with people they live in close proximity to, MoneySuperMarket has found.
Some 29% of homeowners made a claim on their home insurance because of property damage from unruly gardens and overgrown trees, while 26% made claims because their neighbours neglected their property - leaving guttering clogged or not repairing loose roof tiles, for instance.
More than one in five who have had to make a claim did so because of a burst pipe or gas leak at a neighbouring property.
Damage to shared walls and fences is also a worry for many homeowners, with 29% saying they think they will have to make a claim in the future.
One in eight UK homeowners say their neighbours will have a major impact when it comes to selling or renting out their property.
Two-fifths say their neighbour's house looks unsightly and cite problems such as rubbish being in clear view or the occupiers throwing parties and playing loud music.
Structural damage and subsidence at a neighbouring property is another concern – for 30% of homeowners - while more than a quarter are concerned about problems with pests such as mice and rats.
Another bugbear for homeowners is unsightly vehicles parked in a neighbour's driveway – an irritation for a quarter of homeowners.
Rather than simply put up with the problem, 28% say they would have words with their neighbour straightaway, while 22% would report their neighbour to the local council and 14% would go straight to the police.
But not everyone is confrontational - 43% say they would leave it a few weeks to see if the problem sorted itself out, while 12% admit they would do nothing and just put up with their neighbours' behaviour.
Kevin Pratt, insurance expert at MoneySuperMarket.com, said: "Whether intentionally or unintentionally, if the behaviour of a neighbour causes damage to your home, you need to know you won't suffer financial hardship as a result.
"Ensuring you have adequate buildings insurance is essential to guarantee that one of your most important assets - your home - is protected. It's just a shame that something your neighbour does could lead you to have to make a claim and suffer higher insurance premiums because of it."
If you're having trouble with your neighbours what can you do to get things sorted?
- Talk it through. Try to talk to your neighbour and keep as calm and polite as possible. You will make a stronger case.
- Write a letter if talking doesn't help. Clearly explain why their behaviour/actions are causing you distress and propose a solution.
- Keep a log of any incidents, which could come in useful if you report your neighbour to the authorities.
- Seek advice from Citizens Advice or the Royal Institute of chartered Surveyors (which provides a free 30-minute advice session).
- Consider mediation where an independent third party will work with both sides to arrive at a solution – but you and your neighbour will have to pay for the service.
This type of insurance covers the structure and fabric of your property – the bricks and mortar, not the contents (for which you need contents or home insurance). If you have a mortgage, the lender will insist you have a suitable buildings insurance policy in place. Many lenders offer their own building insurance policies, but you don’t have to buy it from your own lender but you have the option of shopping around. The insurance covers you for the rebuilding costs, not the market value of the property.