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The latest research from Privilege Home Insurance reveals 92% of estate agents in the UK claim that having a bad neighbour has a serious and harmful impact on the value of the properties nearby and the amount buyers are prepared to pay.

Causes including unkempt front gardens, poor maintenance and items discarded outside the property, are just some of the reasons estate agents have calculated decreases in the value of the house next door by 8.2%, or £17,321 on the price of a typical UK house.

The variance between having a good neighbour and a bad neighbour is worth £37,177 to the typical British house owner. In London, where the average house costs £472,163, having a nightmare neighbour instead of a good one could affect sellers for the price of just over £83,100. Broken or boarded up windows are the most unappealing feature a neighbouring house can have – thought to wipe nearly £23,000 off the average house at current market value. This is the list of the ten top things that contribute most to lowering property value:

  • Broken or boarded up windows
  • Unsightly or imposing extensions and DIY
  • Rubbish or Junk in the driveway/front garden
  • Run down vehicles in the front drive
  • Garish/unsightly coloured external buildings/fixtures
  • Building work
  • Overgrown Garden
  • Rotting or chipped window or door frames
  • Overflowing gutters
  • Dirty brickwork or property frontage

Further, the report findings determined that the worst neighbours are in all probability a family living in London, where the parents are unemployed and in their 40s.

The best neighbours live in Plymouth, and are retired 60 plus singletons.

Is there anything you can do legally?

From a legal perspective whilst how a neighbour maintains their property can have an impact on the value of a property there is very little that can be done legally to force a neighbour to maintain their property to the standard you might expect them to if the problem is simply aesthetic.  However, in some circumstances, for example, if the problem is causing specific issues to your property e.g overflowing gutters causing damp to your property, or environmental health issues as a result of rubbish / junk in the garden then the Council can assist and force the neighbour to take action.  Alternatively, your title deeds may also be able to assist where certain aspects of the properties are shared and the upkeep of these is expressly referred to.  In this case a solicitor will be able to advise you on your rights.

Where possible try and speak with your neighbour if you are able to and understand their position.  It may be the case that they are elderly and are simply unable to have the work carried out from an emotional and / or physical perspective.  However, if you are trying to sell your property you should be mindful not to let the issue escalate if possible as neighbour disputes must be declared when people are buying your home so this could also have a negative impact on the prospects of selling the property.