Living together

Comparis survey: What bothers the Swiss most about their neighbours

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Children and noise are not popular with the neighbours. Source: iStock

Whether the issue is due to noise, unfriendliness or cigarette smoke, around 64 per cent of Swiss people are annoyed by their neighbours. For some, the situation is severe enough to end in court, or with one party moving house. Here is an overview of the representative survey on the topic of disputes between neighbours.

For many Swiss people, their own home is not quite an oasis of calm: almost a third are annoyed by noise caused by their neighbours (28 per cent). The chief sources of irritation include talking, children, footsteps, arguments, loud music and parties. Problems with unfriendly neighbours (16 per cent), cigarette smoke (14 per cent), and conflict about shared laundry facilities (13 per cent) were also cited. Surprisingly, it is mainly young people who complain about their neighbours.

One-third of people have argued with their neighbours

32 per cent of survey respondents had previously had an argument or disagreement with a neighbour. Of these, 12 per cent stated that they argue several times a year – while 67 per cent only rarely had disputes with their neighbours. At 36 per cent, significantly more young people are involved in these disputes than those aged over 55 (28 per cent).

Many do nothing about their annoying neighbours

If residents in Switzerland feel disturbed by their neighbours, 31 per cent ask politely for the disruption to cease. Another 7 per cent express their annoyance by knocking on the wall or ceiling. Should a disturbance occur repeatedly, 14 per cent would be prepared to complain to the landlord. But a not-insignificant 27 per cent do absolutely nothing – they just feel annoyed.

Tip: Try having a quiet word with your neighbour before getting your landlord or the police involved.

The last resort: moving away

Some see a move away as their last resort to resolve a conflict. One in six people who has had a dispute with a neighbour has moved house for this reason. “If a dispute between neighbours escalates and someone no longer feels comfortable at home, there are often only two options left: a move, or going to court,” says Nina Spielhofer, media spokesperson for property at comparis.ch. In fact, 15 per cent of respondents stated that a neighbourhood dispute had at some point escalated to a concrete legal dispute.

Method

This representative survey was carried out by market research institute innofact on behalf of comparis.ch in September 2017, and involved 1,029 participants from across Switzerland.