On trend: Top ten neighbours

We’ve all heard stories about neighbours from hell making people’s lives miserable: according to a recent survey by Halifax Home Insurance, more than 360,000 Brits moved home last year because of problem neighbours.

To help you avoid becoming one of these statistics, David Nicholson suggests who to look for in the place next door.

1. Pensioners

Elderly_neighbour_opening_doorOlder people have plenty of spare time and are typically happy to help out. Buying agent Tracy Kellett of BDI Home Finders says: “Older, retired people, who are at home all day, are the very best neighbours you can have. They can take in parcels for you and twitch the curtains for your security. They’re much more likely to be around to feed your cat when you go on holiday than younger neighbours.”

Potential downside: if they start losing their hearing, older people sometimes turn the TV up very loud.


2. Policemen and women

Having a PC as a neighbour brings inbuilt peace of mind, especially if they park their marked car outside the door. They can keep you up to date with any local community issues and show you how to improve your home security. Even better is to live next door to someone like the secretary of state for Northern Ireland, meaning that they have to have an armed police guard outside the door at all times of day and night.

Potential downside: you have to abide by the law yourself.


3. Lawyers and accountants

People who have something to lose professionally if they misbehave, such as lawyers and accountants, make good neighbours, according to property experts. “Clients prefer lawyers and accountants because they are perceived to be honest, respectable and prosperous but quiet,” says Karelia Scott-Daniels at Manse & Garret Property Search in London.

Potential downside: they might try to sue you if they object to something you’ve done.


4. Vicars and priests

Church_on_church_laneContrary to some reports, vicars rarely hold tea parties, so you’re unlikely to be bothered by constant streams of noisy guests in florid hats. Vicars are generally a force for community cohesion: it’s part of their job to be neighbourly, so you should jump at the chance of living next to one.

Potential downside: if you’re next to a church, you may be woken by bells early on a Sunday morning.


5. Families with children

Families are generally more of a good thing if you have one yourself. Otherwise you may end up irritated by the sound of screaming at bath time. Most positive is the neighbourly warmth that families radiate, quite literally if you share a common wall. They’re likely to spend time and money on their property as they feather their nest.

Potential downside: when the kids reach adolescence they may turn to antisocial activities such as shooting your cat with an airgun or water-bombing your mother-in-law.


6. Ambassadors

Living next to an embassy has unmistakeable cachet. The security will be excellent, the upkeep is impeccable (most good embassies redecorate from top to bottom every year) and the quality of guest very high.

Potential downside: the occupants will change every couple of years, so you’ll have little chance to make long term friendships. There’s an outside chance that the SAS will storm the building and shoot everyone.


7. Builders

Smiling_builderKnowing someone in the building trade is a route to happiness for many home owners. Where you or I may be quoted £100,000 to put up an extension, a builder will get it done for £20,000. This can be the difference between swinging or not swinging a cat. They will probably keep their own home in great nick and be able to put you in touch with bargain plumbers and electricians.

Potential downside: you might have to put up with a transit van in the road outside your house.


8. Self employed home workers

There are multiple advantages in having someone next door who is almost always there. Security is better, you can call on them if you have a problem, they will take in packages and they will probably look after their place well.

Potential downside: when work is scarce they may enter into a suicidal trough and growl at you when you see them in the street.


9. Politicians

Not the most popular people in the world these days, but politicians will do almost anything for your vote, so if you nurture them they can be fantastic neighbours, helping you to get planning permission for your extension, making sure your old mum is being properly treated in her nursing home and keeping your children’s teachers on their toes.

Potential downside: there may be a stream of irate visitors blaming them for the ills of the world.


10. Nobody

House_in_isolated_locationBlissful isolation is the perfect solution to any neighbourhood issues. The wide open fields will never complain about your noise, put up shrubs to block your view, or keep you up all night with their drug-fuelled parties.

Potential downside: you may like the idea of living next to an unoccupied property for the above reasons, but be prepared to see your own property take a valuation hit if the next door place becomes progressively more run down and derelict.

    • By David Nicholson
      7 May 2010
    Not the most popular people in the world these days, but politicians will do almost anything for your vote, so if you nurture them they can be fantastic neighbours...