Bad neighbours can cost you £83,000


We've all got good reasons for failing to love our neighbours. Whether they have noisy children, horrible curtains, or an aversion to gardening, familiarity with their flaws can easily breed contempt. So it comes as no comfort at all to learn that they aren't just a daily annoyance while we're forced to live next door to them, they're also set to cost you anything from £37,000 to £83,000 when you come to sell.

A survey by Prestige Insurance found that overall bad neighbours can knock £37,000 off the average asking price of £211,230,

Noisy neighbours can do the most harm. In fact having a noisy neighbour can scupper a sale entirely if anyone coming for a viewing is immediately put off by the sound of music thudding through the walls.

Untidy and overgrown gardens are also another major turn off. Some people think it speaks volumes about the kind of person who will be living next door, and they don't like the idea of living close to someone who has no pride in their home, or is too lazy to get the lawn mower out every couple of weeks. The study put the cost of a messy garden next door at £17,321 - or 8.2% of your asking price.

Having a neighbour with anti-social DIY habits can also be expensive. Botched DIY worries potential buyers about the risk of the house next door falling into disrepair. Meanwhile, over-enthusiastic building projects, and sprawling extensions can have a similarly significant impact. These knock around 7% or £14,000 off the value of your home.

Finally, having a neighbour with bad taste can knock £10,000 off the value of your house. It's hardly surprising, especially if they have chosen to express this taste through cladding, unusual paint choices, or an array of garden ornaments. This will knock an average of 4.8% off the asking price.

Of course, the more expensive your house is, the more financial damage a bad neighbour can do, and the study found Londoners can lose up to £83,000 of value because of the people living nearby. It therefore makes it particularly unwelcome news that Londoners have the worst neighbours - with almost one in five wishing they could move house in order to escape them.

But what do you think? Would you be put off by neighbours with stone cladding, an overgrown lawn, a barking dog or a huge extension? Or would you see it as your chance to snap up a bargain? Let us know in the comments.

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Nightmare neighbours
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Nightmare neighbours

Gerard and Christina White from Moseley in Birmingham hit the headlines in September last year, when their neighbour ignored his planning permission, and built so close to their house that they said it effectively turned their detached property into a semi-detached one.

Despite the fact it left them unable to maintain the side of their property, the council washed their hands of the case, and said the couple would have to take private legal action if they wanted the extension to be pulled down.

Helen Coughlan, a 52-year-old carer from Woodford Bridge in north east London, was stunned when her neighbours built an extension just 24 inches from her window - completely obscuring her view.

Despite the fact she says it took £100,000 off the value of the home, and rendered it unsellable, the council said it could do nothing to force the demolition of the new extension.

In 2013, a row that had been rumbling for 17 years finally came to court. One of the neighbours had planted eight conifer trees in his front garden, and ignored repeated requests to cut them back to allow natural light into his neighbour’s home.

He was eventually forced to by a court - after the trees had caused a crack to appear in his neighbour’s wall.

Wendy and Paul Collins from Brownhills in the West Midlands watched in horror as their neighbours erected a six foot fence at the bottom of their front garden, blocking their front gate and leaving their car stranded on their front lawn.

Their home faces onto a car park serving a block of flats, and the owners of the flats erected the fence to stop the couple driving through the car park in order to park on their front lawn. The couple can still access their house through the back - and have a drive round the other side of the house - unfortunately their car is stuck on the lawn.

A Michigan man who had been through a bitter divorce, decided to get his revenge on his ex-wife by moving in next door.

As soon as he had moved in, he erected a 12 foot statue in the front garden, of a hand giving the finger. The statue is even lit up at night.

In May last year, Steven and Fiona Young from Blawith were ordered to pay their neighbours, Peter and Lesley Raymond, £600,000, after a campaign of harassment.

The Youngs had lived in a large farmhouse, but decades earlier sold up and moved to a smaller property next door. The Raymonds moved into the farmhouse and the Youngs became nightmare neighbours.

They piled rubbish in the garden, damaged fences, let animals foul their garden, and rode quad bikes over the grounds. When the Raymonds installed CCTV, Mr Young mooned them, and then painted over them.

The Raymonds sued for harassment, trespass, nuisance, assault and slander - and were awarded £200,000. The Youngs also had to pay £400,000 costs.


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