Neighbours in overdrive

Article date: 26 June 2002

Britons have gone into overdrive when it comes to falling outwith their neighbours – that’s if they get to knowthem.

New research shows that selfish car parking is currently thebiggest ‘hot potato’ in neighbourly living –causing more than three million households to do battle with thepeople next door.

But nearly a quarter of people wouldn’t know who tocomplain to, admitting that they just don’t know who livesthere.

Research from Norwich Union Insurance gives an insight intoBritain’s rowing neighbours and shows that parking is agreater cause for concern than blaring music and late nightparties.

And the study also shows that a fifth of residents have tocontend with Dot Cotton-type busy bodies ‘twitching their netcurtains’ to find out what is going on next door.

More than half say they have to put up with eager-to-pleaseneighbours, such as Tom and Barbara from the ‘GoodLife’ - while 25 per cent say they enjoy the friendly andopen neighbourly relationship shared by the gang on American sitcom‘Friends’.

Norwich Union’s ‘Getting Neighbourly’ studyalso shows:

  • Almost half of people count themselves lucky to live next tofriendly and well meaning neighbours
  • Although a quarter (24 per cent) of people say selfish carparking makes their blood boil, only 12 per cent have the courageto say anything
  • Loud music only upsets seven per cent of the population whilenoisy lovemaking has caused one per cent of Britons to fall outwith the people next door.

Jill Willis, household market development manager at NorwichUnion Insurance, said: “It is surprising that car parkingtops our list of disputes, but it reflects that a significantnumber of homes now have more than one car.

“Noise is still a sore point for many – includingthe sound of neighbours getting fruity, which, according to ourresearch, is more upsetting than neighbours being too nosy.

“Like any relationship, communication is key andwe’d always suggest that if people have a problem or issuewith their neighbours, they talk it through rather than letting itfester and then explode into an argument or even a legaldispute.”

The Norwich Union top ten reasons in this latest survey forneighbourhood disputes are:

  1. Selfish car parking
  2. Loud pets
  3. Loud children
  4. Loud music/TV
  5. Overhanging trees
  6. Indiscreet arguments
  7. Late night parties
  8. Noisy lovemaking
  9. Nosy neighbours

Legal expenses insurance and legal advice is available withNorwich Union home insurance policies to cover a wide range ofdisputes, although cover is not given for pre-existing disputes.For more information speak to your usual insurance adviser orNorwich Union contact.

Visit for moreinformation and advice on a range of issues affecting yourhome.

Press contact:
Jane Wheeler/Matt Buchanan at QBO on 020 7379 0304 or Liz Kennett(mobile – 07801 901 666) / Jenny Chapman (mobile - 0777 5822642) at Norwich Union on 08703 66 68 65

Notes to editors:

  • Norwich Union commissioned Taylor Nelson Sofres to interview1,000 households across Britain in June 2002.
  • Norwich Union is the UK’s largest insurer. In generalinsurance it is more than 1.5 times the size of its nearestcompetitor, and has a 19 per cent share of the market.
  • It has a focus on insurance for individuals and smallbusinesses. It insures:
    • one in five households
    • one in five motor vehicles
    • more than 700,000 businesses
  • Norwich Union products are available through a variety ofdistribution channels including brokers, corporate partners suchas banks and building societies, and Norwich Union Direct.

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