18 November 2019

  • Fifth of homeowners and renters don’t know all their neighbours
  • Parking revealed as the top neighbour irritant, followed by dogs barking, and noise
  • Taking parcels in, being quiet, and keeping an eye on a neighbour’s property top the list as most neighbourly traits


Nine out of ten homeowners and renters (87%) believe that they are good neighbours, yet less than a fifth (18%) say they know all of them, according to a new study from Co-op Insurance and Neighbourhood Watch¹.

The annual study reveals the nation’s thoughts on what makes a good neighbour and explores the relationships people have with those close by, for the second year running.

Just a fifth (18%) of UK homeowners and renters said they get along with their neighbours more now than they did five years ago. Whereas last year, almost a third (30%) said they had a better relationship with their neighbours than they had five years previous.²

The study also reveals a shift away from neighbours becoming friends as just a fifth (22%) said they’d love to be friendlier with their neighbours. Previously, almost a third (31%) of homeowners and renters wanted this to be a reality.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom, as the year-on-year research shows that as a nation, we are becoming more polite and aware of our neighbours. Three fifths (61%) of people claim to be quiet and courteous towards their neighbours compared to half (51%) that said the same last year.

Furthermore, the research shows what we believe to be the most important traits of a good neighbour. Taking parcels in on behalf of another tops the list, with three quarters (74%) saying this is something they think makes them good neighbours.

Being quiet and courteous is something that three fifths (61%) say they do to help their neighbours out, whilst over half (57%) keep an eye on their neighbour’s property when they’re not in.

Also high on reasons UK homeowners and renters believe they are good neighbours is the fact that they’re not nosey (43%), they’re courteous about where they park their car (42%) and they take their neighbours’ bins in and out (37%).

Top 10 traits UK homeowners and renters think make a good neighbour

top 10 neighbour traits

On the flip side, people were asked what irritates them most about their neighbours, for which, where they park their car tops the list, followed by barking dogs and being noisy.

Top 10 traits UK homeowners and renters think make a bad neighbour

top 10 neighbour irritants

This comes as Co-op Insurance and Neighbourhood Watch announce the best neighbours in the UK. In creating the awards, they hope to highlight the importance of being a good neighbour in fostering safe and happy communities. Co-op’s members created the criteria for what makes a good neighbour in today’s society, resulting in four traits which entries for Neighbour of the Year were judged on.

Traits of a good neighbour, according to Co-op’s members

  • Good neighbours look out for each other, for example keeping an eye on the house
  • Good neighbours are sociable and friendly - happy for a chat or a party invitation
  • They’re practically helpful - from taking in parcels to offering help with the plumbing
  • They’re kind, caring and respectful - more specifically thinking about the impact they have on neighbours

Nilesh Chohan from Headingley, Leeds has been crowned this year’s Neighbour of the Year, thanks to his dedication in bringing his neighbours together. He organised a welcome to all residents’ street event and started a ‘get to know your neighbour campaign’ last year bringing students and families together to create an inclusive community. Furthermore, over the past six years, Nilesh has held eight charity curry nights in aid of various charities, raising over £10K to date.

Nilesh Chohan and Ruth (Co-op's Neighbour of the Year, Nilesh Chohan, and his neighbour Ruth)

Following the success of last year’s inaugural Neighbour of the Year awards, an additional category was introduced for 2019 to crown an individual as a ‘Community Spaces Champion’. The new award recognises the importance of community spaces and celebrates someone who has shown commitment to either save, improve, or use a local space for the good of their neighbours or overall community.

This builds on Co-op’s 2022 community plan, which includes the Endangered Spaces campaign with charity, Locality, to launch an to protect, support and improve 2,000 at-risk community spaces by 2022*.

Kevin Plicio from Sutton, London, has been named as the Community Spaces Champion 2019 and was nominated 17 times for the award for his involvement in setting up YourSpace Sutton. He’s grown the community project from scratch, turning what was a neglected area behind a park into a community hub where all members of the community can come and enjoy the gardens, have tea and cake in the cafe, and bring children for painting workshops.

Kevin Plicio - Community Space Champion
(Co-op's Community Spaces Champion, Kevin Plicio)

Kevin has a team of volunteers that help with the upkeep and the running of YourSpace, and it’s fast becoming a meeting place for coffee amongst mothers and their children, retired people, disabled people, and the whole community.

TV personality, Charlie Dimmock, is backing the awards saying:

“It’s uplifting to see that neighbours like Nilesh exist and are being recognised for the great work they’re doing to create streets where everyone feels safe and part of something.

“With my background, I understand how important utilising space to create something positive for a community can be. The way Kevin has taken what was an unused, neglected space, to create beautiful gardens and a real hub for the community is commendable. It’s great to see people using something such as gardening and landscaping to bring people of all backgrounds together.”

Rebecca Birkbeck, Director of Community and Shared Value at Co-op, and one of the judges of the award said:

“Everything we do links back to our purpose; to be ‘a better way of doing business’ for the members and communities we serve. These awards encapsulate just that.

“When judging the awards, we were very impressed with what so many people are doing daily – both big and small – to create a true sense of community in their area. All our research shows just how important a sense of community wellbeing is, and how spaces play a crucial role in achieving this. These awards show the massive impact of individuals, like our winners, have on helping people come together to create happy and healthy communities.”

John Hayward-Cripps, CEO of Neighbourhood Watch, and one of the judges of the award said:

“In this age of technology, it is easy to forget the value in being a good neighbour. It’s great to see people like Nilesh and Kevin bringing people together to create strong, friendly, active communities which prevents crime.”


Media Contacts

Hannah Charlton hannah.charlton@coop.co.uk / 07713 314 894

Claire Newmarch claire.newmarch@coop.co.uk / 07808 609 944

Notes to Editors

Interviews with our winners available on request.

For more information on the awards, please visit: https://www.co-opinsurance.co.uk/hub/neighbour-of-the-year/

¹Research conducted on behalf of Co-op Insurance by Atomik among 2,007 UK homeowners and renters in August 2019

²Research conducted on behalf of Co-op Insurance by Atomik among 2,000 homeowners and renters in the UK in July 2018

*This is part of Co-op’s overall Co-operate 2022 vision – you can find out more information here: https://www.coop.co.uk/communities