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Reports of nasty neighbours rising

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The amount of problems with 'nightmare neighbours' has increased in the past two years, a report claims, reversing 10 years of improved relations.

Excessive noise, rude or intimidating behaviour and disregard for legal boundaries with building work are increasingly common problems, with one in five homeowners suffering "serious problems" with their neighbours, Halifax Home Insurance found.

Homeowners have complained that their health was being affected by the problems, and more than half reported stress, family arguments and sleeplessness.

The stress and misery has even forced some homeowners to move, and many refuse to tell potential buyers of the problems.

Martyn Foulds, senior claims manager at Halifax Home Insurance, said: "It's clear that neighbour nuisance is a real and growing problem that affects thousands of Britons.

"If the problem gets out of control, homeowners can resort to legal action but there are also many things you can do to try and improve relations without opting for this last resort."

The report was based on a study of a British Household Panel Survey of neighbour disturbances over the past decade.

© Press Association 2009