The Christmas behaviours that most annoy neighbours and how to avoid them
With one in five Brits complaining about their neighbours, especially around Christmas time, what are the top Christmas behaviours which particularly annoy neighbours?
Below, lifestyle brand Housetastic outline the top causes of neighbourhood disputes and advise how to avoid being that neighbour and what to do if you find yourself with problem neighbours.
The resident illuminations
Every year, much of the UK takes a little more inspiration from the US and implements elaborate festive decorations within their home. Often, the decorations that are executed inside spill over to the outside of the home as residents add festive lights to the exterior. Houses that implement a lot of lights, especially ones that flash, can annoy neighbours. According to Google Trend data, the search term “my neighbours Christmas lights” has seen a 9.900% uplift in searches within the last month alone. Such an increase in searches suggest that residents are growing annoyed by their neighbours’ lights as they serve as light pollution within their own home.
There is no law stating that you cannot add festive lights to the exterior of your home however, if they are a genuine annoyance then you can run into the violation of a statutory nuisance under the 1990 environmental act. The act seeks to protect anyone from experiencing acts that are so unreasonable it interferes with them enjoying their home and/or impacts their health. Local boroughs can act if they assess artificial lights and conclude that it’s a nuisance.
The Noisy Neighbours
Google trend data states that the term “noisy neighbours” have seen a 290% uplift in searches. It’s no surprise that noise from neighbours is one of top behaviours that annoys residents. It’s important to be reasonable and determine if festive noise from neighbours are temporary celebrations that do not impact you for a substantial amount of time. If so, simple sound proofing measures such as rearranging furniture or adding rugs to a room can work to reduce incoming noise.
If, however, noise is excessive and consistent then try speaking with your neighbours and reasoning with them. More often than not, they may not be aware they can be heard from next door, so will take measures to lower their volume. If, however, you don’t feel comfortable speaking with your neighbours, instead contact your local council who will investigate and determine whether there is a case.
The Host with The Most
Similarly, if you find your neighbours are having more parties and hosting more people than normal, determine whether this is temporary for the festive season, as you may find that once January comes, the parties will stop. With hosting, however, comes louder nights and evenings, which can be a nuisance. It is not illegal to host a party and play music loudly late at night, unless it is a regular occurrence which then counts as anti-social behaviour which can be reported to the council.
If you are hosting, the best thing to do is speak with your neighbours prior to the party and let them know in advance. You can even take steps to help soundproof your home, which is a popular solution for one off parties, as searches for “soundproof home” has seen a 137.5% increase in searches. Suitable DIY methods which can be done easily and, on a budget, include placing wall coverings or even thick blankets on walls shared with neighbours. Even placing tall furniture, such as bookshelves, against walls can help in preventing noise escaping.
The Parking Warden
75% of drivers admit that they have conflict with neighbours over where they park. As people tend to welcome more guests over the festive period, roads will be busier and as a result, unclaimed parking spots will be snapped up. As annoying as this can be, unless you have clearly marked parking spaces or a marked disabled spot, then you do not have a right to that space.
However, if your neighbour blocks the entrance to your property or driveway, thus restricting your entry and exit, then this is against the Highway code. In this instance, simply speaking with your neighbour is the best way to deal with this as hopefully they will understand they are in the wrong. In certain circumstances, where neighbours aren’t cooperative or perhaps you don’t know who the vehicle belongs to, then contact your local council as they will be able to find out who the car belongs to and move it if necessary.
The Fly Tipper
Christmas produces a lot of waste and an estimated 1.13 million of fly-tipping incidents have been reported for 2021, which is a 16% increase on last year. Fly-tipping is any disposal of household waste on a land not licensed for waste disposal and is illegal, whether it is in a wood or in someone else’s back garden. The best thing to do if your neighbours are fly tipping, especially if it’s on your property, is to report them to your local council. By reporting fly tipping to your council, they will organise the removal of the litter and fine the culprits, if they can be traced.
Google searches for “neighbours arguing” have seen a 9900% increase in searches in the last month, with many blaming the pressures of the festive season as causing extra stress on relationships. However, what happens when arguing becomes the norm once the tree is down? If your neighbours argue constantly and you have a serious cause for concern, for example you worry for the wellbeing of anyone in the household, then you must report this to the police.
However, with arguments which are more of a noise issue rather than a genuine domestic concern, then try talking to your neighbour – as long as you feel safe and comfortable doing so. Mediation services can also be used if disputes continue, as they are an impartial person who acts as a referee in disputes. Although mediation services aren’t free, they are cheaper than taking legal action and can really help solve disputes.
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