Know thy neighbour?

09 October 2018

  • Half of UK homeowners know most of their neighbours by name (54%)
  • 45% of people have had a disagreement with their neighbours
  • 29% of homeowners trust their neighbour with their key

A new study from Co-op Insurance and Neighbourhood Watch shows that more than half of UK homeowners (54%) know most of their neighbours by name and a quarter (29%) of homeowners would trust their neighbours with a key.*

The joint report, ‘A Neighbourly Nation: Through the Keyhole’ , also reveals that that it’s not all quiet on the home front. Although 98% of people think they’re good neighbours with almost a third (30%) saying they get on better with neighbours now than they did five years ago, two in five Brits (45%) have had a disagreement with their neighbours.

The study shows homeowners and renters approaching neighbourly disputes differently, with homeowners admitting to complaining to their neighbour (16%) twice as much as renters (8%).

More than a quarter of UK homeowners and renters have had a party and played loud music after 11pm (28%), with common causes of neighbourly disputes including noise (10%), parking (9%), music (8%) and barking dogs (8%).
Over one in ten (13%) renters think they’re a bad neighbour because they play loud music, compared to just 3% of homeowners.

Neighbourly behaviours
- 63% have taken in parcels
- 54% have dropped off deliveries
- 51% say they are quiet and courteous
- 49% keep an eye on the property
- 38% think they are not nosey; the same amount are courteous where they park their car
- 31% of UK homeowners and renters would go outside to check all was okay if they heard an alarm
- 26% of people would look out of the window to see which house or car an alarm was coming from

The findings have been revealed as Co-op Insurance and Neighbourhood Watch crown their Neighbour of the Year – Paul Zeun, 53, from Sheffield for his consistent caring and neighbourly behaviour over the past decade.**

While communities are looking out for each other by doing the day-to-day things, the report suggests more can be done to strengthen meaningful relationships that form the foundations of a close-knit community. Only one in seven people (15%) have invited their neighbours over to their home and almost a quarter (24%), think they’re a good neighbour because they keep themselves to themselves.

Neighbours or good friends?

A third of people (31%) want to be friendlier with their neighbours with just one in 10 believing they have a worse relationship with their neighbours than they did five years ago.

Those in Birmingham are most likely to be good friends with those next door (49%), while Cardiff residents were least interested in knowing their neighbour. Overall, 15% of UK homeowners and renters don’t know if they’d recognise their neighbours in a line-up.

To determine what makes a great neighbour in today’s society, the insurer invited Co-op’s members to answer a series of questions to seek out the best qualities and the following four themes were revealed:

Traits of a good neighbour:

  • 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

Caroline Hunter, Head of Home Insurance at Co-op says:

“It’s wonderful to see that so many people are helping their neighbours out on a daily basis and many consider themselves to be friends, but perhaps there is more we could do to really get to know the people living nearby.

“Increasingly we all lead busier lives, and while often we think we are being good neighbours, how well do we really know our neighbours? For those who want to, taking a little extra time to build meaningful relationships with those around us, can help to strengthen our communities and make them safer places to live.”

David Huse, OBE, Chair of the Neighbourhood Watch Network, commented:

“Being a good neighbour has huge benefits and makes your community friendlier and safer too.

“By looking out for your neighbours, watching out for those who are elderly or vulnerable and sharing crime prevention advice you can help keep you and your neighbours safe and your homes secure.”

To help people become more neighbourly, Co-op Insurance has created a Good Neighbour Guide


Media Contacts:

Alex Wilson
PR Manager at Co-op
07540 641368

Hannah Charlton
Press Officer at Co-op
07713 314 894

Lisa Parker
Communications & PR Manager at Neighbourhood Watch Network
0116 402 6111

Notes to editors

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

**Media interviews are available with Paul Zeun

About Co-op Insurance

Co-op Insurance is part of Co-op Group, one of the world’s largest consumer co-ops, owned by millions of members. Alongside Co-op Insurance, we have the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer, the UK’s number one funeral services provider, and a developing legal services business.

As well as having clear financial and operational objectives, the Group is a recognised leader for its social goals and community-led programmes.

About Neighbourhood Watch

2.3 million households in England and Wales now identify as members of Neighbourhood Watch – the largest crime prevention community in Britain.

Neighbours join together to keep a watchful eye on the homes within their watch area and be a good neighbour to their vulnerable and elderly neighbours. Increasingly, with the emergence of cybercrime and fraud, members are becoming the frontline in raising awareness about practical steps to protect themselves and others from a variety of new and emerging crimes.

Since it was first established in the UK from America in the 1980s the movement has expanded and now the distinctive, round yellow signs have become one of the best known brands within the crime prevention sector. The CIO’s staff work in partnership with volunteers, the police, local authorities and other relevant organisations to offer advice, guidance, support and resources.

Households living in active Neighbourhood Watch areas experience 21% fewer burglaries than similar households. © Hunter and Tseloni, 2016.