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Almost 1 in 5 homeowners have made a noise complaint about their neighbours, data reveals

ByVanessa Lima

Dec 23, 2022
Noisy_Neighbours_New_Africa_Shutterstock.com-e422ac49

Almost 1 in 5 (18%) homeowners have made a noise complaint about their neighbours, with 14% having made one in the last year.

That’s according to the latest study by Confused.com (Q4 2022), who investigated the relationships between neighbours. To do this, the experts surveyed 2,000 homeowners and renters to uncover the frequency of noise complaints. According to the research, almost half of noise complaints (47%) made are about neighbours talking loudly – 7% percentage points more than late night parties (40%).

The results

Reason for complaint Total
Household and people noise ( people talking loudly) 47%
Loud music/TV 40%
Late night party 39%
Noisy animals 27%
DIY at unreasonable times 27%
Intruder and vehicle noise 20%
Car maintenance/repairs 23%

Almost half (47%) of complaints are due to noise from households and people

Household and people noise is the most common reason neighbours raise a noise complaint, with almost half (47%) of residents complaining for this reason. 80% more households with 4 children complained for this reason (68%), than those without children (38%).

Loud music and TV (40%) and late night parties (39%) come in second and third place. Over half (53%) of those living in rented properties have complained about late night parties, compared to just over a third (35%) of those with a mortgage. Almost two thirds (64%) of homeowners with mortgages consider themselves to be “fairly friendly” with their neighbours, in comparison to 46% of tenants. This could suggest why 51% more tenants complained about noise compared to homeowners.

18-24 year olds are more likely to raise a noise complaint than over 25s

More than a third (36%) of 18-24 year olds surveyed admitted to complaining about noise from their neighbours’ homes. Over a quarter (27%) have made a complaint in the last year, compared to just 6% of those aged 35-44.

Social housing residents also account for 17% of noise complaints. This is amid news that the Housing Ombudsman has released its report(2) calling for social landlords to develop a stronger strategy for: ‘handling noise seriously’.

In comparison, those aged between 45-64 are least likely to make noise complaints, with over two-thirds (67%) reporting they’ve never done so. However, the survey shows that noise complaints have become less frequent in the past year, with just 14% raising a complaint. This is compared to 22% in previous years, an increase of 8 percentage points. This could be due to noise complaints increasing by 50% during lockdowns in 2020 and 2021(4).

83% of residents consider themselves to be friendly with their neighbours

Over four-fifths (83%) of homeowners and renters reported being friendly with their neighbours. But, over half (56%) of residents surveyed have had to claim for large damage on their home insurance after their property was damaged by their neighbours. Examples of large damage include footballs coming through windows, or water leaks coming from upstairs neighbours.  Almost all respondents (98%) had to pay an additional sum themselves when making a claim, paying an average of £1,881.46. 

Jessica Willock, home insurance expert at Confused.com, comments:

“Living with noisy neighbours can be difficult to handle without creating tension. More often than not, a friendly conversation goes a long way. But when that fails, where to turn to next can be confusing.

“We’ve created a guide to understanding basic neighbour etiquette, including how best to handle noisy situations. Calling the police should only be used as a last resort, but you should also consider getting in touch with your local council.

“Accidental property damage can also be the cause of neighbour disputes. If your neighbour refuses to accept fault or pay for the damage, you might end up having to make a claim on your home insurance policy. You may have to pay the excess for the claim, even if you aren’t at fault, so resolving informally might be the best course of action.”

Methodology:

  1. Confused.com sought to identify the frequency and reasoning behind noise and neighbour damage complaints made by homeowners and tenants in the UK.
  2. 2,000 UK adults who own their home or live in a rented property were surveyed and asked 20 questions about noise and neighbour property damage. All questions were multiple choice, with participants selecting from a variety of options. (3)
  3. Data regarding gender, age demographic, nearest city, number of children, relationship status, housing, region and work industry were also collected as additional data for the survey.
  4. Once all responses were collected, answers were aggregated and sorted to identify the volume of noise complaints and the reasons for them. Data was also collected to identify the frequency of property damage caused by neighbours.
  5. Data was collected in November 2022 and is accurate as of then. (Photo credit: New Africa, Shutterstock.com)