Do try not to upset the neighbours

Over half of Londoners have bad neighbours and they can seriously devalue your home, according to a survey of 92 per cent of UK estate agents.  In fact, bad neighbours can cost more than broken or boarded up windows.

Take heart if you have good neighbours – the experts questioned by Privilege Home Insurance suggested that a good neighbour can have a positive effect on property value, enhancing its value by 9.4 per cent and adding £19,856 to the average property in the UK.  Astonishingly, the difference between having good and bad neighbours is worth £37,000 to the average UK householder or, in London, just over £83,000.

The research reveals the top ten list of problems that can devalue the average home.  While you might think these are things under your control, the value of your home is affected by your neighbours having these problems, too:

Maintenance Issue % Effect £ Effect
Broken or boarded up windows 10.7% -£22,602
Unsightly or imposing extensions and DIY 7.0% -£14,786
Rubbish or junk in the driveway/front garden 6.1% -£12,885
Run down vehicles in the front drive 5.4% -£11,406
Garish/unsightly coloured external buildings/fixtures 4.8% -£10,139
Building work 4.7% -£9,928
Overgrown garden 4.4% -£9,294
Rotting or chipped window or door frames 4.2% -£8,872
Overflowing gutters 3.6% -£7,604
Dirty brickwork or property frontage 3.5% -£7,393

It seems that the worst neighbours in the UK are London families with unemployed parents in their 40s, who own a dog and drive a Volkswagen.  The best neighbours are 60‑plus Plymouth residents, who drive a Nissan, don’t own a pet and are single.

Bad Neighbourly Behaviour Percentage
They’re noisy 23.7%
They’re unfriendly 18.9%
They have an untidy/overgrown garden 17.3%
They’re rude 17.2%
They have a loud dog 15.4%
They park across my drive 15.2%
They keep me awake at night 15.1%
They have loud arguments 14.1%
They hold loud parties 13.7%
They do DIY or housework at anti-social hours 13.6%

According to the survey, 31 per cent of people with bad neighbours also experienced sleeplessness, with a loss of an average of two and a quarter hours’ sleep each night.

Eighteen per cent of Londoners with bad neighbours are most likely to want to move, followed by 16 per cent of those in the West Midlands and 14 per cent of those in Yorkshire and Humber.

Privilege’s Dan Simson said: “Our increasingly hectic lives can mean that household maintenance falls to the bottom of the priorities list – especially for busy families.  Yet this study shows that a poorly kept home can affect not just the value of your own property, but the value of those around you too.

“Sometimes fixing something like a broken window can seem like a burden both on time and finances, but it can also have a negative impact on the area as a whole.  Most home insurance policies cover you for accidental damage, so people should check their documents – it might be an easier job than they think.”

Bad Neighbours by City % with bad neighbours
London, Newcastle, Birmingham 50-54%
Cardiff, Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool, Edinburgh 45-49%
Belfast, Sheffield 40-44%
Southampton, Norwich 35-39%
Nottingham, Leeds, Brighton, Bristol 30-34%
Plymouth 28%

UK estate agents have estimated that next door’s overgrown front gardens, poor maintenance and items left on the lawn can devalue the average property by 8.2 per cent, or £17,321.  Also featuring as potential hindrances were garish or unsightly coloured external buildings and fixtures (such as stone cladding or faux tudor-style beams) and unattractive curtains, garden gnomes or water features.  If your buyer can see any of these next door, your home could be affected by an average -4.8 per cent.


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