Home renovations cost neighbours more than £1.5 billion

6th February 2015

  • 3.7 million people have suffered property damage due to neighbour renovations in the last five years
  • Only a third of neighbours accepted responsibility for damages
  • A fifth of neighbours paid nothing towards damages caused by their home makeovers

New research from Direct Line’s SELECT Premier Insurance reveals that around 3.7 million people have suffered property damage as a result of neighbours making renovations to their homes in the last five years1. In the same period, the average repair bill for damages across the country totalled more than £1.5 billion2.

Only a third (33 per cent) of neighbours accepted responsibility for damage and a similar number (30 per cent) blamed someone else.

Almost one in six people (17 per cent) did not directly confront neighbours about damage to their property, surprising given that the average cost to repair damages was £533. For one in 12 respondents (eight per cent) more than £1,000 was required to repair the damage.

According to those whose damaged property incurred a cost to repair, the majority of their neighbours (53 per cent) shared at least half of the cost of repairs and more than one in seven (14 per cent) paid over 80 per cent of the costs. However, a fifth (19 per cent) of neighbours paid nothing towards damages caused by their home makeovers.

Nick Brabham, head of SELECT Premier Insurance, says: “In the UK we take pride in our homes with many seeing extending and renovating their homes as a way to improve their living standards. As such it is not surprising that in the 12 months to September last year we saw more than 55,000 residential planning applications made in England with more than three quarters of them accepted3.

“If you or your neighbours are thinking about starting a home makeover project it is worth assessing and discussing the risk of damage to adjacent properties with neighbours. It is also crucial to check whether your home insurance policy covers damage caused by neighbour renovations, otherwise you could be left with a hefty repair bill.”

Damage to fencing was the most common ailment for victims of over exuberant home transformation projects, with two in five people (43 per cent) suffering damage. A quarter of people (25 per cent) highlighted damage to windows and damage to garden features (e.g. fountains and sheds) making these the next most common casualties of neighbour renovations.

Top 10 most common types of property damage
Damage to fencing 43 per cent
Damage to windows 25 per cent
Damage to garden features/ornaments 25 per cent
Damage to gates 24 per cent
Damage to roofs 22 per cent
Damage to plumbing (incl. leaks/flooding/moisture damage) 22 per cent
Damage to contents 21 per cent
Damage to plants 20 per cent
Damage to exterior walls 19 per cent
Damage to driveway 17 per cent

Source: Direct Line (figures come to more than 100% due to multiple damages and damage affecting multiple areas of the property)

Home renovations have also caused other annoyances to neighbours with more than a quarter of UK adults (26 per cent) enduring noise disturbances and one in seven (14 per cent) experiencing reduced parking. This was a major issue in already congested London where more than a quarter (26 per cent) went through reduced parking whilst their neighbours renovated their properties.

Notes to editors

1 Opinium Research conducted an online survey from the 16th to 19th January 2015, amongst 2,001 UK adults aged 18+. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria. 3.7 million people based on the ONS UK adult population projection for 2013 of 50,371,000*7% of all UK adults who say their property was damaged as a result of neighbour renovations in the last 5 years = 3,650,072 UK adults

2 1.5 billion figure based on 3,650,072 people who experienced damage to their property, 75% of which estimated a cost of repair * £533 estimated mean cost of repair = £1,461,136,594. Estimated median cost of repair = £89 / £243,810,456.

3 55,248 residential planning applications made in England between October 1st 2013 and September 2014. ONS, Planning applications in England: July to September 2014, Table P136: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/planning-applications-in-england-july-to-september-2014

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About SELECT Premier Insurance

Direct Line offers SELECT Premier Insurance to cover homes, cars and valuables of high worth, as well as breakdown cover, pet and travel insurance, all covered under just one policy. When taking out SELECT Premier Insurance, Direct Line will even pay your cancellation charges from your previous policy, making it even easier and affordable to have all your policies under one roof, with one payment plan and one renewal date.

At SELECT Premier Insurance we help you stay in control by offering you a truly personal service. To begin with, one of our accredited insurance advisors will carry out a complimentary individual telephone review with you. Then they’ll give you tailored advice, based on your unique needs, for example, specialist cover for valuables such as fine art and jewellery (without needing to list individual items worth less than £10,000) or for your property portfolio, to ensure you get exactly the right level of cover.

To find out more about what Direct Line SELECT Premier can offer, go to www.directline.com/select-premier or go straight through to an expert, not a machine, on 0800 206 2849.

About Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc. Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0845 246 3761 or visiting www.directline.com

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