Home improvements are typically synonymous with a better living environment for the homeowner, an increase in value of your property – and if external then even a nicer sight for your community.
Yet some UK homeowners are finding themselves contacted by local authorities after complaints from their neighbours – landing them in potentially serious trouble.
In fact, certain home improvements can be defined as anti-social, potentially leading to you being landed with the new version of an ASBO – a civil injunction, such as a Community Protection Notice (CPN) or Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO).
MyBuilder.com, the reliable way for homeowners to hire tradespeople, has put together a list of some examples of home “improvements” that can lead to a criminal record.
Andy Simms, trade expert from MyBuilder.com, said that these improvements or behaviours around the home can fall into the bracket of anti-social.
“While as homeowners we might fancy a wacky door colour, or incredible sound system, if they offend the neighbours or fall foul of regulations, you could get yourself in trouble.
“Always consider your community, and if you are asked to make changes to any improvements you have made, or repeated behaviours that are causing annoyance, then make sure you do.
“Being slapped with a CBO or ASBO is no joke – and can even have an effect on property prices in your street.”
While a bonfire is an effective and recommended way to rid your garden of green waste, repeated fires can be deemed as anti-social behaviour and could land you with a £5,000 fine.
While there is no specific law banning bonfires, repeat offenders can be reported by neighbours, leading to fines – if it can be proved that the smoke is blocking roads or causing significant issues, such as entering neighbours’ homes and gardens or causing breathing issues.
Overhanging trees or hedges
If your tree overhangs your neighbour’s property, they have the right to ask for it to be trimmed back. If you refuse, they can trim it themselves, but must offer you the trimmings. If the tree is subject to a tree preservation order, you can be fined for cutting without permission. It’s always worth getting an expert out to advise if you have any particularly large trees that need managing.
Hedging can also be problematic – you should never attempt to reduce the height of a boundary hedge without seeking advice from a professional and talking to your neighbours. Doing so without permission can lead to CPOs or even fines.
Most of us appreciate effective surround sound in our homes, especially for watching films. However, inaccurately installed systems, or homes with poor insulation, can lead to exaggerated sound disturbances for your neighbours.
If not corrected, this can lead to a noise abatement order and fines of up to £5,000. Always ensure an expert has checked your system is installed to the legal noise limit and your insulation is sufficient to absorb noise.
The mass return to work after the pandemic has led to an increase in dogs who are not used to being left alone. Complaints about barking dogs have rocketed by up to 300 per cent in some locations between 2021 and 2022 – and it’s a common reason for councils to issue a CBO or ASBO.
A good solution is to install a soundproofed kennel for your canine, keeping both it and your neighbours happy. Failure to address a barking dog causing noise pollution can lead to a hefty fine. Back in 2020, one dog owner was fined almost £10,000 after his six dogs excessively barked outside in the evening, keeping neighbours awake.
Front door colour
A freshly painted front door can only cheer up a property – but many councils will slap you with a fine if your colour choice falls outside of the “accepted” palette. There are many examples across the UK of fines being issued for changing the colour of a front door – especially if you are in a listed building or conservation area.
Refusal to return your door to its previous colour can land you with a hefty fine. Repeated refusals to change it back could see you serviced with a CBO. The same can be said for changing the external appearance of your home in other ways (such as rendering or window changes), so it’s always worth consulting with an expert before making these changes.