One in three Brits don’t get on with their neighbours, research has revealed. A detailed study into the state of the nation’s community spirit found millions of us have an uneasy truce with those who live nearest.
In fact, as many as one in four homeowners admit they have had a full-blown argument with the people next door.
The most common reasons to complain to a neighbour revolve around noise levels and parking, with other potential flashpoints including overgrown garden hedges, pets and balls being kicked over the fence.
The research also found millions of people describe their relationship with their neighbours as nothing more than an exchange a few niceties from time to time.
The figures emerged in a study carried out by Yale, whose spokesman commented:
”A long time ago, many people would live in a neighbourhood where they knew everyone and would consider all of their neighbours as good friends.
”Now, because of the nature of people’s jobs, attending university and an unpredictable housing market, people have to move a lot and the neighbourhood feel has started to disappear.
”It’s great to know that generally, most of our respondents are happy to leave a key with a neighbour and don’t feel uncomfortable about approaching them.”
It also emerged only one in four parents would let a neighbour babysit their child.
Additionally, the average person has two people who live nearby that they struggle to trust, results showed.
One fifth have even had to deliver subtle hints to their neighbours to prevent an all-out domestic dispute.
That has led one in seven to go as far as to write a letter of complaint to the people next door.
Playing music loudly, disputes over the bins and noisy kids in the garden were also high on the list.
With overgrown hedges also featuring, one in five cheeky respondents admitted that they’ve actually trimmed their neighbours hedge or tree without having permission.
One in ten describe the people next door as ‘complete strangers’, and over a third of people haven’t spoken to a neighbour in more than a month.
Perhaps it’s no surprise then that a similar number would like to change their neighbours if given the chance.
A fifth of suspicious people actually believe a neighbour has received a parcel of theirs and kept quiet after something they ordered didn’t turn up.
A sixth of people hides a key somewhere outside of their home – but only trust one neighbour with knowing the hiding spot.
The only positives to emerge amid the report were that around 40% of the 2,000 people studied would allow a neighbour to enter their home and feed their pet while away, and eight in ten would report someone who was acting suspiciously around their neighbour’s property.
The Yale spokesman continued:
”Despite many of us having content relationships with our neighbours, there are occasions when neighbours don’t get along and sometimes they might not feel that it would be any of their business to report suspicious behaviour.
”Being part of a community and having neighbours you can trust can truly enhance your life and it’s nice to have people to rely on if needs be, so it’s important not to lose that.
”Feeling happy in your home should also be a top priority, so taking action towards keeping your property secure should be simple and greatly add to that peace of mind.”
TOP 10 NEIGHBOUR COMPLAINTS
1 Noise Levels
5 Kids in the garden
6 Overgrown garden hedges
8 Dog mess
9 Door slamming
10 Balls kicked over in to the garden