Loud noise, sloppy gardening drive neighbours’ pandemic bickering
By Gilles Siebenaler and Yannick Lambert
Quarrelling with the neighbours over issues such as noise and overgrown plants has become much more common since the start of the pandemic as people have been working from home, a Luxembourg mediation service has said.
From 2019 to 2020 the mediation service, which oversees 24 councils and some 130,000 residents, saw an increase of almost half as many cases.
A classic in neighbourhood disputes are hedges and trees that have not been planted in the right place, such as on the neighbour's property, or which have overgrown into the neighbour’s space, the head of the Me-Mo mediation service, Astrid Glod, said.
Noise is another recurring issue, which increased during the pandemic as people spent more time at home. Working from home, homeschooling children, and restrictions such as closed restaurants and curfews have increased noise complaints, Glod said.
"It is actually 40 to 45% more than in previous years and I expect another increase in 2021, if I look at how many cases have already existed to date," Glod said in an interview with the Luxemburger Wort.
"When you are at home around the clock, the background noise is of course different from when the majority of people are at work during the day,” she added. “And when you are at home all the time, you only get to see what is going on there.”
Covid-19 and restrictions also put mental strain on people, Glod said, which meant their patience and tolerance wear thin more quickly.
Noise complaints can vary from loud children, barking dogs, conversations, heat pump noise or music. Many people also took advantage of the pandemic to carry out renovation works in their homes.
The majority of disputes can be resolved, Glod said. This often only requires a simple conversation, before other measures such as writing a “nasty letter”, she said.