According to a new report from Co-op Insurance, one in five of us have been involved in a neighbour dispute – almost half (46%) of which are still unresolved.
‘A portrait of the modern British community’ provides a striking snapshot into neighbourliness and the changing shape of communities in 2016.
Of those who have experienced nuisance neighbours, excessive noise was by far the biggest single cause of residential issues nationally, with over two fifths of Brits (41%)experiencing noise related issues, including stomping around the house, loud arguments and late night parties. Nearly one in four (22%) have suffered rude or abusive neighbours and a further 21% have had problems with barking dogs or wars over parking (19%).
Regionally, London and Birmingham has by far the highest number of neighbour issues, with a quarter (25%) of those questioned saying they have encountered some form of nuisance neighbour during the past year. The most harmonious place in Britain is Milton Keynes, with only 7% of those asked recording a dispute with their neighbour, compared with the national average of 20% – perhaps a legacy of its new town status.
The research shows Brits’ ideal neighbour would behave respectfully at all times and is the top trait that characterises a good neighbour (77%), followed by being tolerant and understanding of other residents’ needs (75%).
With 99% of the population having neighbours, you’re almost sure to always find someone living next door, however nearly one in twenty (4%) Brits go a month without ever seeing their neighbour, whilst for 12% of Brits they wouldn’t even know who their neighbours were if they bumped into them on their street.
Gone are the days when neighbours would have homely conversations over the garden fence or nip round for a brew and a natter, as only one in five Brits (19%) have been invited round for a cup of tea. Surprisingly it’s men who are most likely to have visited a neighbour’s house, with over two-thirds (68%) admitting to stepping foot inside their neighbours home, in comparison to 65% of females.
A generation gap is also apparent as half of under 35s have never set foot inside a neighbour’s house, in comparison to four out of five (77%) of over 55s who have.
We are of course a nation famed for our politeness but could our ‘British reserve’ actually be putting that polite reputation on the line? It would seem so, as less than 30%, of Brits would go round and introduce themselves to new neighbours, with nearly half (48%) preferring to just bump into them, while one in six (16%) would do nothing and almost one in twenty (3%) would just ignore them completely. Although over 75s are more than twice as likely (48%) to introduce themselves compared to under 35-year-olds (20%).
Top neighbour disputes
|2||Rudeness or abuse||22%|
|7 =||Boundary disputes||12%|
|7 =||Gossipy neighbours||12%|
|8||Messy gardens which blight the community||11%|
|10||Not keeping shared facilities maintained||6%|