Home renovations cost neighbours more than £1.5 billion

8 Feb, 2015

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 years. In the same period, the repair bill for damages across the country totalled more than £1.5 billion.

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.

A spokesman for Direct Line said: “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.