Do your neighbours try to intimidate you? Deliberately make noise late at night or act inappropriately in front of your children?
But, what happens when your neighbour costs you cash? From stealing your post, using your Wi-Fi connection or stealing your gas or electricity, it could end up costing you hundreds over time.
Love them or barely tolerate them, we all have them, unless we chose to live remotely in the UK or are fortunate to own a secluded estate.
However, the lines do become blurred for some neighbours about what is acceptable and what isn’t, yet some are downright blatant when it comes to misappropriating what isn’t theirs or deliberate anti-social behaviour.
Many respectful people are not problem neighbours at all and they wouldn’t dream of helping themselves to your property, but there are the neighbours from the ‘dark side’ who can try hard to cause you unnecessary costs.
I will discuss your rights and the action you can take to save you some cash. Some home insurance policies cover legal advice so check and make sure yours covers you.
Stealing your mail
What happens when you discover that your mail continues to go missing? You think you may be imagining it until several letters go astray. I experienced this myself with a cheque and some official post, but I took immediate action, as it is a criminal offence.
Your stolen mail could be a fundamental problem in the case of identity theft. If you suspect your mail is going astray courtesy of your neighbours, then you need to take action.
If items that could be used in identity theft go missing, such as credit or debit cards, a passport or driving licences report it to your sender immediately.
You can report it to your local police, keep a note of when and what date your post went missing. Another avenue is to report it to the Royal Mail on 0845 7740 740. You have the option of obtaining a private mail box too.
Some neighbours may piggy- back on your Wi-Fi connection. Make sure your Wi-Fi is secure as they could cause you all sorts of connection problems, it could slow down your broadband speed, but a serious issue is that they can steal files from your computers, try to check your personal information or infect your network with viruses. It’s rude, illegal, and potentially they could be prosecuted.
If you suspect a Wi-Fi thief is getting a free ride, then check your wireless network log. This may vary depending on your computer, but if you look at your network and see more devices connected to it than there should be, your neighbour could be stealing from you.
To stop thieves, turn on your WEP or WPA encryption. Several broadband suppliers do this immediately and give you the ‘key’ or password when you set up broadband with them, but if yours is optional, make sure it’s activated. If it doesn’t come with that option you could choose to switch your broadband supplier.
If you find that your fuel bills are unusually high suddenly then it may be that your neighbour is stealing your fuel. It’s a crime and can be potentially extremely dangerous.
There thousands of instances of this type of theft every year in the UK, costing the public more than £100m. It is common for people to interfere with meters when they are involved in illegal drug cultivation.
If you think your gas or electricity meters has been tampered with, then contact the UK Revenue Protection Association (UKPRA) and report them straight away. If you think your neighbours have interfered with your internal wiring, report them to the police and take legal advice.
Old adages such as bullies are cowards and thieves never prosper can be appropriate clichés to keep in mind for hellish neighbours. It is worth reporting any inappropriate, illegal or disrespectful behaviour, as we all have a right to enjoy our homes in peace.
Written by :
|Amanda is the editor for Compareandsave.com.She worked as a journalist at the FT business publication, ‘Financial Adviser’. She also worked for the nationals including The Guardian, The Independent, The Mail on Sunday and Daily Mirror. Alongside working for major UK personal finance sites, she now investigates and reports on new, novel ways to help our readers save money.For press enquiries, please visit our Media Centre page.|