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1 in 4 have had their property damaged by a neighbour

Date online: 04/09/2014

More than a quarter (26%) of Brits have had their homes damaged by neighbours, running up a collective repair bill of over £5 billion, reveals new research from Direct Line Home Insurance.  According to the study, damage to shared walls or fencing was the most common issue, affecting over a third (34%) of all those who have suffered damage to their home. Accidental damage caused by their neighbours,  their children or guests (27%), damage by un-kempt gardens (25%) and neighbours’ pest or vermin problems (24%) were also common issues.

The average repair bill for each of these incidents amounts to £384, however neighbours have been less than forthcoming when it comes to picking up the tab. Only 57%of neighbours who caused the damage admitted to doing so, and even fewer (29%) stumped up the cash to cover the costs.

Unsurprisingly, these accidental damages have also been the cause of many disputes between neighbours, with more than a third (34 per cent) of those who have had their home damaged by a neighbour falling out with them as a result.

Damage to shared walls or fencing - 34%

Accidental damage caused by neighbours / their children / their guests - 27%

Damage by un-kempt gardens in neighbouring property - 25%

Neighbours’ pest or vermin problems - 24%

Water damage caused by my neighbour - 19%

Katie Lomas, head of Direct Line home insurance, commented: 

“It is not uncommon for homeowners to suffer damage to their property as a result of the actions of their neighbours. More often than not it’s accidental or unintended, but there can still be significant costs incurred and repair work required.

Every eventuality is unlikely to be covered by a home insurance policy and asking a neighbour to foot the bill can often be awkward, so prevention is always better than cure. We would urge anyone who notices early signs of damage that may be caused by a neighbour to speak to them about it straight away and hopefully avoid a costly repair bill altogether.”

The issue of neighbours causing damage appears to be significantly worse in London and the South East, where over a third (36%) have suffered damage to their property as a result of their neighbour’s actions. In the South East, the average cost of repairs amounts to £516, and in London, the equivalent figure is £434.

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