Chiswick Guide to Spotting a Neighbour From Hell

Doing your homework is vital if you want to preserve your sanity and protect your privacy

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Whether you're targeting property in Gunnersbury, Stamford Brook, Bedford Park and borders, Turnham Green, Grove Park, Acton Green, Chiswick Park, Brackenbury Village or Strand-on-the-Green, doing your homework is vital if you want to preserve your sanity and protect your privacy.

Buyers are warned of the importance of doing a recce of prospective flats and houses for sale in W4, or whatever area they are targeting. A difficult next door neighbour could take thousands off the value of a property says Jonathan Haward, founder of Home finding company County Homesearch: “Your prospective neighbours may cause misery later on, or at worst, could reduce the value of your home or even make it unsalable.”

According to the firms’ archive, the main causes of disputes are as follows:

• Hedges and trees – leylandii are a particular cause for disagreement as are overhanging trees and bushes
• Shared access drives can lead to disputes over who is responsible for maintenance
• Noise – an increasing problem as modern day sound systems and televisions are so powerful
• Parking spaces – driveways obstructed or selfish parking in shared drives
• Party walls – disputes arise over who is responsible for maintenance
• Noisy pets – barking dogs left unattended are a frequent cause of disputes
• Smells – blocked drains or broken septic tanks

Homesearch advises buyers to make a point of visiting a house at different times of day and to listen out for periodic noises from machinery, transportation, construction and such like. Pay attention to any shared access areas and toys or bikes in the garden. Evidence of children could set alarm bells ringing for a retired couple but may be an advantage to a growing family looking to integrate into a lively community. Either way, in law, noisy children do not constitute a nuisance.


Are you a neighbour from hell?

Although sellers are duty bound to reveal if they have had a problem with a neighbour, this is only if the neighbour has been reported to the police or the local authority. Try to find out what you can through informal enquiries and observation and visit a property at different times. It’s amazing what you can discover, including a property situated on a rat run to a school, motorway, or shortcut.

Being a good neighbour is all about behaving as you would wish others to behave, but here are the 10 of the top tips:
1. Make sure a keyholder can be contacted if your burglar alarm goes off while you are on holiday
2. Keep the volume of sound systems, radios and televisions as low as possible, especially at night
3. Position fridges, freezers and loud speakers well away from party walls
4. Use washing machines, vacuum cleaners and other noisy equipment during the day
5. Try to ensure that your dog does not bark or whine for long periods of time
6. Do noisier DIY jobs during the day
7. Inform your neighbours if you're having a party and try to keep noise to a minimum
8. Try to buy/hire domestic appliances or DIY equipment which is the quietest available
9. If you play a musical instrument, do not practice early in the morning or late at night.
10. Try to carry out unavoidable noisy activities during the hours of: 8.00am - 7.00pm - Weekdays/Saturdays, 10.00am - 5.00pm - Sundays.

For useful advice and resources on dealing with noisy or inconsiderate neighbours visit:

October 18, 2010