We all read about neighbours from hell, and see countless television programmes that make us cringe, laugh or watch from behind our hands.
Nobody thinks that they are ever guilty of being a bad neighbour themselves, but it’s time to find out whether you qualify for your own TV show – or whether you are the kind of neighbour that we all aspire to have and be.
1.It’s Bonfire Night in Two Weeks’ Time. What’s Your Approach to the Thorny Issue of Fireworks?
A. I love to share the fun, and I’ll be having a few fireworks and a party in the back garden. The kids have already started letting some off, but they’re just having a laugh.
B. I’m going to ask the neighbours around to see if they’d like to come to my party. I’ll warn everyone just in case they have animals, babies or are elderly.
C. I’m going out to a fireworks display but won’t be having any at home.
If you answered A, your neighbours are probably dreading 5th November. Although they have probably had enough of the noise already. You should consider either option B or C – there’s nothing wrong with having fun but just be aware that animals hate bonfire night, and some people are frightened of loud fireworks.
It’s perfectly legal to have a bonfire on your property at any time of the day, although it’s advisable to warn the neighbours out of courtesy. You don’t want to Become A Nuisance and do have to make sure that it complies with the law – the Environmental Protection Act states that you shouldn’t burn anything that could produce excessive or pungent smoke, for example.
2. You’ve Got a New Sofa – But Now You Have Nowhere to Put the Old One. What’s the Solution?
A. I’ll just leave the old one outside the back of the neighbours house. It’s not dangerous, and I’ll deal with it when I get around to it.
B. I’ll get the council/a charity shop to come and pick it up, but will have to leave it outside for now.
C. I’ll take it to the tip.
Ideally, you should try to remove the sofa as soon as possible. It could cause problems, and block your neighbours’ access to their own property. It’s also not nice to have a smelly old sofa in the street or in full view in the front garden. Realistically, we can’t all manage that, so if you opt for option B, just be aware that while you’re waiting for it to be taken away, you could be unpopular with some of your neighbours. Make sure that you don’t block any access to people’s property, and that you’re not inconveniencing anybody.
3. You Have Teenage Children, and They Like to Play Their Music Loudly and Invite Friends Over. Do You:
A. Let them stay up with their friends until all hours – they are only young once after all. You secretly quite like rap music, and it’s not as if it’s every night.
B. Allow them to have friends over as long as they keep the music reasonably low, and insist they don’t make too much noise, especially after about 10pm. You have taught them to think of the neighbours, even if they forget at times.
C. Don’t let the friends come over unless it’s a weekend, and insist that any music is kept down.
If you let the kids run riot, you could end up being labelled an Anti-Social Behaviour Neighbour or, even worse, have a visit from your local anti-social behaviour coordinator. Kids do make noise, and most neighbours are willing to tolerate a little music or the occasional party, but if you’re accepting that as the norm, you need to rethink whether your actions are causing your neighbours discomfort and stress.Most people would be happy with options B or C. It’s reasonable to expect teenagers to want to be sociable and have fun – just not every night and until the early hours!