Choosing the right property & moving

Moving House Tips: Spot the potential Neighbour From Hell

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- Are you thinking of moving?

Read on for important NFHiB Tips before you move, to try and avoid the possible Neighbour From Hell in your street.

Important: This list has been prepared from several different NFHiB forum members experiences and is a culmination of ideas and information.

Therefore, it reflects many of the possible problems that can face a home mover. NFHiB isn't stereotyping any particular group, person or area within this list, but is simply pointing out the potential problems that could be experienced.

(NFHiB isn't responsible for the content of external websites)

I'm thinking of moving house, what do I need to look for then?

At Neighbours From Hell in Britain, the forum, we've had many suggestions and tips for those people wishing to move, sell up or rent a new property in a different idea.

Due to popular demand, we've decided to bring all these ideas together suggested by many forum members, to help anyone who is planning to move in the near future and would like a little help to try and avoid the Neighbour From Hell amongst us.

We'll update this list regularly as new ideas and tips are suggested, you are welcome to add to these by giving us your feedback.

On the NFHiB forum the majority of Neighbour From Hell problems mostly are:

It’s worth making a checklist of these when house-hunting so you don’t forget to check for them.

CHECKING OUT THE AREA

If you are moving to a new area, start your research using the internet. Check out the council website in your proposed area to get a feel for the community and what is important to the council.

Up My Street has lots of information on everything from schools to shops, and even crime rates.

Check local school league tables. These can be particularly relevant and may indicate if an area has children or young people out on the street or indoors.

Buy local newspapers. Do a lot of the burglaries and car crimes seem to happen in just one or two areas?

Once you’ve done the preliminaries, it’s time to check out the area in person.

  • Check the area at different times during the day and night.

  • Areas that seem quiet during the day could be very different in the evenings and at weekends. Are there pubs, clubs nearby? They may be noisy at closing time.

  • A road that seems quiet during the day could become a hotspot for car racers at night.

  • Roads near schools can become clogged at ‘school run’ times.

  • Ask the locals! The local residents will have the best knowledge of the area. Pop into the local pub or café and get chatting.

  • Look at local shops - are there gangs of children/young people or adults congregating outside the local shops? (Especially at weekends and school holidays). If this is the case, it may be quite intimidating.

  • Are there any communal playground areas, public seating, parks or designated 'activity' areas? These could cause you nuisance, noise or other troublesome activities if near your potential home.

CHECKING OUT YOUR STREET

Weekends, especially if the weather is good, is the best time to check for general noise in the street.

  • Are there stereos blaring?

Check the houses/properties at the back, sides or front of the property you’re interested in, as well as your immediate neighbours; there could be problem issues with any of these neighbours.

  • Are there nearby houses with lots of cars parked outside?

This could mean lots of tinkering and revving, plus radios on at evenings and weekends.

  • What’s the general appearance of the street?

Yes, it’s a cliché, but are the nets clean, are the gardens tidy, do they look like the residents care about the street?
Is there lots of litter about? Littered, dark alleyways may mean that’s where the local youths may congregate and could be a noise problem or where crimes could occur and even used as an 'escape route' for perpetrators of crime.

Also watch out for:

  • Neighbours who spend a lot of time on porches, garages, and out in driveways.

It may be benign, but it could also mean that you can expect lots of late night talking, yelling, music, and unsupervised children, and the feeling that someone is watching you whenever you are outside.

  • Neighbours who leave out footballs, toys, bicycles, and electric scooters and toy cars.

This indicates potential dangers due to unsupervised children, especially when combined with the above.

  • Neighbours who preferentially park cars on the street. Is it a Cul-de-sac and could this cause access or other problems?

This can create hazards and makes the neighbourhood look 'trashy'.

  • Neighbours who listen to car stereos, radios, or play musical instruments outside or in garages.

Be especially wary of garage bands and cars with heavy-bass stereo systems and/or loud exhausts.

  • Neighbours who have many different visitors at odd hours.

  • Neighbours who never hear their own dogs barking.

  • Neighbours who hang out in small cliques, while those on the street as a whole keep to themselves.

  • Frequent moving and high number of rental properties. Are your neighbouring properties being rented out? If so, this could mean frequent changes of neighbours that may result in nuisance neighbour activity.

  • Be wary of nearby non-residential use, including churches, businesses/factories, schools, pubs/clubs, and day-care centres.

  • Be wary of nearby vacant land that could become the above.

  • If the neighbourhood is new, beware of neighbours that seem nice at first but change as the novelty wears off and others move in. Cliques and turf boundaries can form quickly. Don't assume that everyone being new is somehow an advantage.

  • Check out any Garages - where a garage is not adjoined to your property, it may be at a higher risk of break-ins, etc.

  • Look out for takeaways (especially those operating till late at night). These are often used by people on the way home from pubs, which can lead to increased traffic and noise. This might be perfect if you fancy a takeaway at 11pm on a Tuesday night, but can get you down if you have to put up with it 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week.

Some neighbourhoods are only a bad apple or two from being great. One family moving in or out can tip the scales, so there is only so much that can be done to avoid problems.

Don't assume that price ranges or demographics will assure that a neighbourhood will be good or bad. Much of it is pot luck as to what particular individuals are your neighbours. On top of that, turnover may change everything in 6 months time, for the better or worse.

  • Watch out for areas that have the majority of one age-group.

An area where there are mainly elderly residents sounds as though it would be quiet, but they may be very ‘set in their ways’ and object to your children playing in their own gardens.

Try to remember that you are buying/renting the location not just the house.

VIEWING THE HOUSE

  • Ask lots of questions! Don't be shy, buying or renting a new property is a big commitment.

  • Why are the sellers moving?

  • What are the neighbours like?

  • Particularly, ask if they know of any neighbour disputes, including anyone who lived in the house before them.

  • In the garden, if possible, have a peek into next-door’s garden. Is there a lot of burnt rubbish/garden materials from bonfires?

  • Are there swings, slides, etc in gardens/outside areas? Especially if they’re very near to your property, could there be noise from children?

  • Can you see into the next door’s house? If so, they will probably be able to see you when you’re in the garden.

  • Ask whose responsibility it is to maintain fences, trim hedges etc. Do they look in good repair? If not, it could be that the neighbours will end up leaving it all to you. It is also important to ask if there are any rights of access through the garden/land. It may influence your decision to buy/rent the house, even though your solicitor will check for these later.

  • Go back several times. Is the property sellers TV on? They might be trying to hide the noise of their next-door neighbours blaring TV or stereo. Ask the sellers to switch off their T.V. if necessary.

  • Do read through the Sellers Property Information Form ('SPIF' - Presented in PDF Format, get free viewer).

  • Listen for any sounds from next door. Put your ear to the wall if necessary, knock on/along the walls, if someone knocks back loudly you know they can hear you and are most likely liable to react to noise.

  • Ask the seller/landlord if they have ever had any problems with crime or gangs in the local area.

  • When viewing a property, if you see something that appears to be a joint responsibility with a neighbour or where you may need access, knock on their door to talk about it.

  • Don't rush into buying/renting your new house. DO take the time to check it out. It is natural to want to get away from your own NFH as quickly as possible, but you don't want to end up with a different set of NFH.

FLATS

Soundproofing does vary considerably in flats and can be very expensive to install, so it's especially important to ask what soundproofing has been put in (if any) and to check the place out at the evening or weekend for possible noise from other flats in the same building.

PARKING

Shared parking and disputes over parking places cause a great deal of hassle for our forum members so be particularly attentive when checking this.

If the seller assures you that they have no problems with shared driveways, go back again on an evening or weekend and make sure one party hasn’t parked slap bang in the middle. You could have problems!

And finally:

INTUITION

It can’t easily be described, but don’t ignore it. If a place that seems ‘just right’ sets your inner alarm bells ringing, then go back and check out the place again.

Compiled using advice given by NFHiB Forum members - © Copyright 2004. This article or any portions of it may not be reproduced in any format or medium without permission from NFHiB.

This article last revised: 20th January 2004

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