UKC

Would you buy a house with a bad neighbour?

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 Kemics 01 Apr 2021

Sadly in just about every other aspect the house is amazing. But the neighbour may become problematic. There isn't going to be issues with loud drum and bass or noise. However, it has been suggested they frequently call the police out for issues like "someone's dog looked threatening at their cat" etc. They live in a very nice area so it's not sofas and abandoned cars in the front garden. Think more like long strings of solicitors letters. I've met them and actually found it very reassuring, for a 10 minute conversation I didn't get any immediate red-flags but living next door to someone for 10 years is an entirely different thing! 

Can you just keep it super civil and hope you never fall foul of them or is that kind of bad juju going to detract from an otherwise nice place to live? I've never really had "nightmare neighbours" so have no experience to draw on. Is a difficult neighbour deal breaker? Or is it worth trying to manage? 

1
 jkarran 01 Apr 2021
In reply to Kemics:

By whom has it been suggested?

jk

 Phil79 01 Apr 2021
In reply to Kemics:

That sounds a lot less hassle than the anti-social, kids bricking your windows, drug dealing type of neighbour. 

If its just someone who is essentially wasting time over minor nonsense and curtain twitching, I could live with that. 

I've had the former type when we lived in a rented flat, we moved eventually. Felt very sorry for the woman in other flat who owned it, as she couldn't up sticks as easily.   

Post edited at 14:58
 Timmd 01 Apr 2021
In reply to Kemics:

When buying a house, I think any hint of a bad neighbour might make me draw a line under it and looks somewhere else, though it's a good point about by whom has it been suggested.

I came across some house buying advice a few years along the lines of not getting too fixated after finding 'the perfect home', I lived in a flat with kinda noisy neighbours on more than one side so I could never quite chill when I first left home, I guess feeling like anything I did could be complained about would probably leave me similarly on edge, which isn't how I feel in my first home which is mine and paid for (thanks, family), I have a sense of peace when I get back in the dark from a cycle, and my porch is lit by my headtorch as I enter and faff about. 

It's probably worth the hunt for somewhere, which gives that sense of peace.

Post edited at 15:07
 Timmd 01 Apr 2021
In reply to Kemics:

I might be wanting to read through the solicitor's letters to get a picture of things, if they've been thrown out I might be pondering the amount of money and commitment involved and wondering if it's worth the gamble.

Post edited at 15:28
 snoop6060 01 Apr 2021
In reply to Kemics:

To be honest it's probably just make me laugh if my nutty neighbour wasted all their cash sending me pointless solicitors letters. But I've actually moved house due to a neighbour who was the worst sort of bully imaginable. It was horrendous and I honestly hope the guy is dead. 

It would be a shame not to get on with your neighbours tho even if it was all a bit silly. I'd probably think twice if I was planning on staying there for some time. 

Post edited at 15:12
In reply to Kemics:

I doubt it. I friend of mine had a female neighbour who made his life hell for 5 years. It got into the realms of stalking, spreading terrible rumours about him and installing a tracking device in his car bumper so that when he went away she could find where he was and carry on the intimidation. It drove him away from the house - which he is struggling to sell because the neighbour puts off every single person who comes to view the house. It's slowly killing him.

I'm sure it is lovely, but it's not worth the potential stress and harm it will cause.

 wintertree 01 Apr 2021
In reply to Kemics:

Not again, no.

 Eric9Points 01 Apr 2021
In reply to Kemics:

Is it possible to arrange your life so as you have nothing to do with them other than the polite "hello" when passing them in the street?

A 2m hedge can also help.

Post edited at 16:00
2
 koolkat 01 Apr 2021
In reply to Kemics:

no end of 

In reply to Kemics:

Not being glib, but if you are asking on here, then I think you already know the answer! 

1
 LastBoyScout 01 Apr 2021
In reply to Kemics:

I've had one neighbour before who just seemed to be a slightly odd chap with nothing better to do than get upset about people parking outside his house, even though it was a public road. He tried to threaten me, not that scary as 1/2 my height and twice as old, but pretty solid, and also threatened to vandalise my car if I ever parked it in front of his house. Probably likely, as I'd seen him threatening other people - he was known to park his own car outside, just to stop other people doing it and, on one occasion, he deliberately parked to block someone else in. Anyway, had a chat with the police a few times to get it on record, especially after he'd terrified my God-daughter when her Mum parked there.

Overall, wasn't really a problem, as he was over the road and didn't prevent me selling when I eventually moved on, but I'd be very wary about someone right next door, especially if they own it - if rented, you've got recourse to the landlord if they are a problem.

 jon 01 Apr 2021
In reply to Kemics:

Don't do it, it's just not worth the years of aggravation.

 Jenny C 01 Apr 2021
In reply to koolkat:

An Englishmans home is his castle, but a bad neighbour can quickly turn it into a prison.

Those who think that verbal complaints are a minor thing I would guess have not found themselves checking their neighbours car to see if it's "safe" to use their own garden for a few hours.

 Trangia 01 Apr 2021
In reply to Kemics:

I'd be very cautious about buying a property with knowledge of a possible neighbour dispute. Of course there could be all sorts of explanations, and one is that it might be your vendor's behaviour which has upset the neighbour, rather than the other way round! Also I think the poster who asked who told you about the dispute made a sound observation as that person may have an axe to grind.

A few years ago my son and his family rented a house in south London. On the day they went to view it, the agent met us there, and we had only been there a few minutes when the door bell rang. It turned out to be the neighbour. She seemed very friendly and willing o tell us all bout the neighbourhood and amenities. She seemed very friendly and helpful.

Alarm bells started ringing in my head because she had come around so quickly on seeing us arrive. Anyway my son and his wife took the lease on the house because it ticked so many boxes for them.

It turned out to be a BIG mistake! The woman was nutty and it soon transpired that living next door to her was awful. She constantly complained that the kids were too noisy, she complained when their friends called and dropped off or picked up the children's friends and pulled up very temporarily (not parked) across her driveway even though she wasn't actually going out.  Things really came to a head when my son first mowed his front lawn which was open plan and butted up against her drive - no boundary fence, because when turning the mower around he had to step onto her drive to do it! She sent him a raging letter letter demanding that he shouldn't trespass!!

She started to have bonfires whenever they had guests and were enjoying their garden.

On talking to other neighbours they learnt that she had fallen out with everyone else in the close over petty matters. 

When it came to the lease renewal my son said no and moved. It turned out there was a history of problems with her from previous tenants, and the Landlord asked them to put their reasons for nor renewing in writing because he wanted to take action against her. Fortunately as tenants they could move away, but if they had bought it (the Landlord had hinted that this was an option) they would have been stuck with an unsaleable house, because they would have had to disclose the dispute to any buyer.

Post edited at 16:17
In reply to Kemics:

A nosey curtain twitching neighbour is probably second only to a big vicious dog in terms of burglar alarm. 

 Bob Kemp 01 Apr 2021
In reply to summo:

Ah, but big vicious dogs don't send you solicitors' letters. Not as far as I know anyway...

Post edited at 16:32
 freeflyer 01 Apr 2021
In reply to Kemics:

It utterly depends on you and yours.

If you are able and willing to take on the neighbours' fragilities and address them directly and sympathetically, which it sounds like you are, it will most likely work out. It may be worth having a word and just saying if you have any neighbour-style problems please come around straight away and we'll sort them out.

I wouldn't let it put me off my ten-year house, that's for sure, unless there was clear evidence of nuttery.

ff

 Timmd 01 Apr 2021
In reply to freeflyer:

An absence of evidence isn't always evidence of absence.

You make a good point, though, it's taken a small bit of 'bedding in' for me and a neighbour to get accustomed to one another.

Post edited at 16:48
 SAF 01 Apr 2021
In reply to Kemics:

At my last house I had an older neighbour who was clearly lonely and bored and had a sense of entitlement at having been in the house so long. I had a few "parking wars" issues with her, and had to put her firmly in her place on one occasion, something I would normally struggle with but came extremely naturally having been disturbed a few hours into sleeping after a night shift, and due back in the next night.

But the hardest thing living next to her was the loss of my privacy. She monitored my shift patterns and commented on it and I found this very intrusive. I also couldn't use my garden even for the time it took to hang out washing without being "talked at", it made me give up on my garden completely (one of my passions) and now in my new house I'm a bit obsessed with creating privacy in the garden, much to the amusement of my husband, and totally unnecessary as neighbours are fine and our daughter and their son love to chat and play either side of the fence. 

Obviously none of this is anything on the scale of what you are considering buying into, and yet 6 years on and it still influences the way I think of my home and garden space. 

I would never knowingly buy into a situation with a problem neighbour.

 arch 01 Apr 2021
In reply to Kemics:

We live next door to a older couple who we get on really well with, either of us joining each other for boozy BBQs and spending Christmas day together, on the other side of us is a Cemetery, and  they are dead nice as well............

 elsewhere 01 Apr 2021
In reply to summo:

> A nosey curtain twitching neighbour is probably second only to a big vicious dog in terms of burglar alarm. 

My elderly uncle has one in Pallion (you're a Mackem?). The neighbour is built like brick sh#tehouse and very intimidating until I was introduced to him by my uncle. Great bloke, lovely family and great to know somebody is looking out for my uncle.

 SteveX 01 Apr 2021
In reply to Kemics:

It could be that the person you are buying off is the bad neighbour, it takes two to Tango.

 Andy Chubb 01 Apr 2021
In reply to Kemics:

Maybe talk to the neighbours on the other side of the potentially problem neighbour, and those opposite. If you get the idea that they go looking for problems that aren't really there then it could be an issue.

In reply to elsewhere:

No born up Weardale, but did drift down stream and did my A levels at Monkwearmouth college in late 80s, interesting place for someone born in the sticks! So I certainly know the area. 

 gravy 01 Apr 2021
In reply to Eric9Points:

A 2m hedge can also be the source of much strife...

 Bilberry 01 Apr 2021
In reply to Kemics:

I never have, but the people next door may have done so.

1
 Flinticus 01 Apr 2021
In reply to SteveX:

> It takes two to Tango.

That's a totally shit saying. Just really think about it.

3
 Snyggapa 01 Apr 2021
In reply to Kemics:

> Would you buy a house with a bad neighbour?

No, but I sold one once...

In reply to Kemics:

Nothing that a bit of naked sunbathing, prolonged eye contact and silently whispered "come hither" couldn't sort out. 

If you are the sort that enjoys dishing out low level antagonism or there is a realistic chance their life expectancy in that home is less then 10 years then jump right in. If not, give it a miss.

In reply to Kemics:

No.  It might be fine, but if it isn't then it is utterly horrible for you and your family 24/7.  The fact that this has come up already is a huge red warning flag.  Not worth the risk.

 Kemics 02 Apr 2021
In reply to Timmd:

Ive read through the solicitors letters and in fairness my impression was that vendors were largely to blame. So i wasnt too concerned as i hoped we could build a new relationship. Just heard today that (3rd hand local gossip) that the neighbour was yelling at someone in the street and the police were involved...so now im much more worried! 

1
 Kemics 02 Apr 2021
In reply to Trangia:

I think this sounds like an incredibly similiar situation. It's not for certain by i can see us ending up in a similiar position. There are some warning signs.... it's a bit frustrating to only find it out after for forking out for solicitors and surveys...but small change compared to the cost of the whole house! 

 Kemics 02 Apr 2021
In reply to Jenny C:

Yeah even if there's not actually conflict, i dont want to feel like im treading on eggshells the avoid a confrontation over nothing. 

 Flinticus 02 Apr 2021
In reply to Kemics:

No. Not having lived in rented flat beneath one.

However, as we've found out, good neighbours move out! Worse if you're in flats as you can have shared walls and neighbours above and below, not just either side.

 Yanis Nayu 02 Apr 2021
In reply to Kemics:

I wouldn’t buy the house. 

 SouthernSteve 02 Apr 2021
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

A bad neighbour of any sort is definitely a red flag - I wouldn't if I had the choice. There are lots of people that don't have any choice of course!

 Pbob 02 Apr 2021
In reply to Kemics:

Our garden backs onto some people who aren't very pleasant. They did start giving us strife - complaining that our pets/children/elderly father in law were too noisy - but when we stood up to them, they did what all bullies do in that circumstance and shut up. But recently I've considered the physical aspects of it. Our house is an ex-1940s council house in a rural setting. Nice sized back garden. What it backs onto is a 1990's housing development with postage stamp gardens - just backyards really. The house in question is a corner plot which shares its front drive with next door. Anyway you look at it they are totally hemmed in. Anything we do at the end of our garden is pretty much right under their bedroom windows. As I say, they aren't nice people and have fallen out badly with all of their neighbours, but I think that you'd have to be a serious recluse to be happy in that house.

Point is - have a think about the real root cause of the fall out. Is there something intrinsic to the house that contributes to the problem? If so, I'd think twice about it. If not, give it a shot. See if you can be the ones to break the cycle and befriend?  

 freeflyer 02 Apr 2021
In reply to Kemics:

> I think this sounds like an incredibly similiar situation. It's not for certain by i can see us ending up in a similiar position. There are some warning signs.... it's a bit frustrating to only find it out after for forking out for solicitors and surveys...but small change compared to the cost of the whole house! 

It does sound like a pain in the neck that you don't need at this stage! Moving house is bad enough as it is. I guess I would try to have another interview with the neighbour, and say something like "I'm thinking about moving next door, have you had any problems with neighbours?" and see if any gems come out that might add to the mix.

 deepsoup 02 Apr 2021
In reply to Kalna_kaza:

> If you are the sort that enjoys dishing out low level antagonism ..

Then you're probably the sort who enjoys the buzz of the gamble that the person you're antagonising isn't the kind of nutter who will immediately escalate things way beyond the point that you're still enjoying yourself. 

Never been much of a gambler myself, but I can see how it's all good clean healthy fun as long as you can afford to lose once in a while.

1
 Timmd 02 Apr 2021
In reply to Kemics:

There's probably other homes you'll be happy to live in, without dodgy neighbour potential.

In reply to Kemics:

> Just heard today that (3rd hand local gossip) that the neighbour was yelling at someone in the street and the police were involved...so now im much more worried! 

Defo sack it off then. 

 MonkeyPuzzle 02 Apr 2021
In reply to Kemics:

How hard-looking are you?

 Bilberry 02 Apr 2021
In reply to Kemics:

No.

Why on earth would you?  There's loads of nice houses.

In reply to Kemics:

Not an answer to your issue but just a side comment. 
There are a lot of reasons that I haven't moved house from my first house (coming up on 17 years living here) and one of them is that I have NEVER had neighbour issues. 
Sometimes I reflect and wonder whether I am "trapping" myself in the house due to the worry of moving into a potential neighbour-nightmare situation, but this thread (again, not your situation but comments from others) has made me turn this around and think "far better to be trapped by perfect neighbours than to be trapped by bad neighbours". 

1
 Kemics 02 Apr 2021
In reply to Blue Straggler:

It's so tricky because it's such a complete gamble. You only really know how good or bad your neighbours are until too late! 

 David Myatt 02 Apr 2021
In reply to Kemics:

No, not again. 40 years ago we bought the bottom half of a Methodist Sunday School that had been converted by the folk who then moved upstairs. Six months later he set fire to the place for the insurance money. It was a year before we could move back in. It was a learning experience, albeit one we could have done without.

 hang_about 02 Apr 2021
In reply to Kemics:

I wouldn't do it. We missed out on a house because the owner fell ill and didn't want to move. Turns out the neighbour used to stand and stare/swear at anybody in the garden for hours. A mate, who is one of the nicest guys on the planet, has had no end of hassle and huge expense with court cases brought by a neighbour. The neighbour's in the wrong but wealthy, so is wearing them down financially with solicitors letters, court cases, appeals etc.

 Flinticus 02 Apr 2021
In reply to Pbob:

> Our garden backs onto some people who aren't very pleasant. They did start giving us strife - complaining that our pets/children/elderly father in law were too noisy - but when we stood up to them, they did what all bullies do in that circumstance and shut up. But recently I've considered the physical aspects of it. Our house is an ex-1940s council house in a rural setting. Nice sized back garden. What it backs onto is a 1990's housing development with postage stamp gardens - just backyards really. The house in question is a corner plot which shares its front drive with next door. Anyway you look at it they are totally hemmed in. Anything we do at the end of our garden is pretty much right under their bedroom windows. As I say, they aren't nice people and have fallen out badly with all of their neighbours, but I think that you'd have to be a serious recluse to be happy in that house.

> Point is - have a think about the real root cause of the fall out. Is there something intrinsic to the house that contributes to the problem? If so, I'd think twice about it. If not, give it a shot. See if you can be the ones to break the cycle and befriend?  

What makes them unpleasant? Their complaining about noise? Is there noise? Isn't half the fear of bad neighbours having noisy ones? We had some who considered it OK to play loud happy hardcore music, after work, in the evening, late into the night. We complained. Is that bullying? They stood up to us. By threatening my wife. 

Post edited at 22:47
 Jenny C 02 Apr 2021
In reply to Flinticus:

Playing music in the garden really pisses me off, either use headphones or go in the house. I have no issues with kids playing or lawnmowers etc (during sensible hours).

The point about small gardens is interesting. My parents have a very long garden and at the top you are significantly closer to the house behind than you are to theito.

1
 Pbob 02 Apr 2021
In reply to Flinticus:

Their method of communication is to throw very bad language over the shared fence at us and our next door neighbours.

She is (was?) a police officer. The only time that they have used any other method of communication she turned up at my door one morning in full uniform threatening me with 'further action' from 'the authorities' if we didn't get rid of our pets. We stood up to her by calling the local council to ask them if she had any grounds for complaint. When they confirmed that we were not being unreasonable we wrote a civilly worded letter suggesting we would comply with any instructions from the appropriate authorities. I resisted the temptation to report her to her force for abusing her uniform.

Our pets at the time were 3 chickens (no cockerel) and very quiet. We live in a rural village with farms all around and lots of neighbours keep chickens. Our pets are now a dog and a cat. They shout at the dog over the fence for being noisy and it barks back. It's a very quiet dog and very rarely barks at anything. They also keep a dog.

They shout and swear at my 85 year old father in law if he makes any noise while gardening. He's a very quiet man. 

When their two boys were toddlers they accused us of waking their boys and thereby waking them early in the morning. 

Like I said in my post, their bedroom windows are about 1m from our garden. It isn't unreasonable for us to use our garden during the daytime and we don't go out of our way to be noisy. If they didn't want to be able to hear anything during the daytime, they bought the wrong house. If they knocked on our door and gave an explanation and asked nicely to reduce our noise I'm sure we'd do what we could. But they don't. They just swear at us and our kids over the fence. So we ignore them. 

Our next door neighbours occasionally play music in the garden at night (at a reasonable volume) so they get the brunt of it at the moment. Their adjoining neighbours never stay for more than a couple of years.

Incidentally I work in environmental noise management so I have a very good idea of what constitutes unreasonably noisy. 

 Forest Dump 03 Apr 2021
In reply to Pbob:

're the last paragraph, are there guidelines around duration, volume, frequency, 'reasonableness' etc?

Across two properties i've lived next to slightly deaf, aging, motorbike enthusiasts for the last decade or so. They mess about with their bikes and the ear splitting engines seemingly at random

I play LOUD music a few times a week, mostly because I like to.

Not complaints on either side so it's an arrangement that seems to work!

1
In reply to Kemics:

I’d really really have to like the house. In reality I’d write off the cost of finding out as a near miss and walk away. 
My mum had issues with her neighbours initially over parking. I assumed it was just pettiness on both sides until I was confronted by the neighbours one day when visiting her. 
It just sours your day to day if you know you have to look out for someone or be mindful of what presses their buttons. 

 freeheel47 05 Apr 2021
In reply to Kemics:

Very tricky. as others have suggested this depends quite a lot on your resilience.  We have been very lucky to have fantastic neighbours. They have possibly been the best part of our home! Humans are social beings and it is the quality of our relationships with others that makes it worthwhile. 

 Roadrunner6 05 Apr 2021
In reply to Kemics:

No, just too much stress and no escape. Not unless we had a lot of land between us.

I had a bad neighbor in Wales. She was awful. She'd extended her house but wanted to block our extension and insisted on a 3 inch gap (which would cause damp issues). She did everything possible to block any project, reported us to the council for issues with gas tanks (all would get checked and be fine). It was awful and just an additional stress. She was also a second home owner so I don't get why she was so antagonistic to people who lived there. 

Post edited at 18:56
 Siward 06 Apr 2021
In reply to Kemics:

As Count Arthur Strong has been heard to say, what's a strongly worded solicitor's letter between friends?  

 Andy Gamisou 08 Apr 2021
In reply to arch:

> .... on the other side of us is a Cemetery, and  they are dead nice as well............

Our worst neighbour was a cemetery - not so much the dead (who were also dead nice) but the church that was attached to it.  The church clock struck every 15 min: a single ding for the quarter, half past, and three quarters, and how ever many dings necessary for the hour.  I blame it for the insomnia I have now (note my posting time).

 Andy Gamisou 08 Apr 2021
In reply to freeheel47:

> Humans are social beings

Not all of us!

> and it is the quality of our relationships with others that makes it worthwhile. 

Meh. 

 john arran 08 Apr 2021
In reply to Andy Gamisou:

"send not to know

For whom the bell tolls,

It tolls for thee."

Sleep well!

In reply to Kemics:

We had a neighbour in a house we still have but rent out (he has now thankfully moved) who was just unpleasant to live next to. I remember my 18 month daughter screaming when she got stung by a bee in the garden and him yelling at her over the wall to shut up. He also complained about piano playing but always watched his TV at full volume and would come straight round of any of our visitors parked on the public road outside his house but was happy for his visitors to do the same to us (which we didn't mind). He also objected to pretty much every planning application in a 2 mile radius of his house. Now good neighbours are the most important thing to us.

 arch 08 Apr 2021
In reply to Andy Gamisou:

No Church, just a Cemetery, and the last burial was 40 odd years ago. It's a little overgrown and only a couple of the graves are tended now, but It gives some space between us and the massive expansion of the village with 3500 new houses. We like it.  

Wish our road was as quiet though.

 Babika 08 Apr 2021
In reply to Andy Gamisou:

15 years ago I also lived in a house next to the village church and graveyard. Loved it. The removal men commented "not far to carry you if you cop it!"

The bell was only rung on Sunday mornings briefly but a couple who bought the house on the other side complained bitterly about the noise. 

A month later a large tree blew down from the graveyard and damaged their house....

The rest of the village tried not to smirk

 Timmd 08 Apr 2021
In reply to Babika:

Ha ha.

In reply to Babika:

I can only imagine they were thinking along the lines of...

Hmm, what's this next to the house we're thinking of buying. Oh it's a church, nobody goes to church nowadays, it'll be nice and quiet.

Sunday morning arrives: The bells, the bells, we forgot about the damned bells, doh!

 robate 08 Apr 2021

No, not ever, not at any price, from bitter experience..


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