Norway neighbour disputes costly / News / The Foreigner

Norway neighbour disputes costly. Norwegians’ territory rows cost some NOK 30 million a year in legal fees, insurance company Gjensidige calculates. Many of the conflicts consist of differences of opinion regarding road access, trampolines, and planting. In what is currently considered to be the world’s fourth-happiest country, expressions of disgruntlement include a some 16-year dispute over TV antennas, alleged neighbour-watering with garden hoses, court cases involving hedgerows, and orders to cut down two sunlight-inhibiting trees to the tune of NOK 158,000.

rows, quarrels, neighbours, gardens, trees, court, legal, insurance



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Norway neighbour disputes costly

Published on Wednesday, 9th November, 2016 at 16:28 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson and Charlotte Bryan   .

Norwegians’ territory rows cost some NOK 30 million a year in legal fees, insurance company Gjensidige calculates.

Garden fence
Garden fence
Photo: Pixabay/Public Domain


Many of the conflicts consist of differences of opinion regarding road access, trampolines, and planting.

In what is currently considered to be the world’s fourth-happiest country, expressions of disgruntlement include a some 16-year dispute over TV antennas, alleged neighbour-watering with garden hoses, court cases involving hedgerows, and orders to cut down two sunlight-inhibiting trees to the tune of NOK 158,000.

“Arguments could start over anything – [for example] someone putting their bin out in a way you find disagreeable, or accidentally shovelling snow into your driveway,” Norwegian authors of a Norwegian language-only book about arguing neighbours tell Aftenposten. “Some explode immediately, while others shrug their shoulders,” they add.

A no trespassing culture

Certain passive-aggressive, not to mention depressed, hypochondriacally-inclined, and aloof Norwegians have been more demonstrative.

A row over a barn led to one neighbour allegedly dumping several tons of stones in front of another’s house, a mass brawl broke out over alleged wrong parking, and there have been claims of pot-shots with a pistol, Norwegian media also report.

Arguing over possessions, territory, or other matters has always been part of human nature, including for generous Norwegians – who tend to stop talking to one another in times of neighbour conflicts.

Materialism and standard of living also have something to say now, comments Pål Rune Eklo, head of communications at Gjensidige, to Stavanger Aftenblad.

Why is that the case, in your view?

“One of the most common claims we receive is about unclear property boundaries. I think protecting our property always has been in our nature. But what we quarrel about changes with the times and the society we live in.”

“It used to be about the struggle for existence. We fought with our neighbours about food, the rights to fish and hunt, then later, for land to cultivate. Now we argue more about our neighbour’s trees, trampolines or more materialistic things,” he tells The Foreigner by email.

Legal aid

Trees and hedges that block the sun or view are second on the list of things that people argue over in Norway, “or that the neighbour either cut them down without permission, or refused to cut them down.”

Mr Eklo offers some advice in how to prevent arguments flaring up, or even getting worse.

“Talk to your neighbour(s) before the conflict level reaches a point where it can’t be solved without a third part or in court. And if you’re going to make changes to your house, road, garden, or do anything else that could affect them, give them a heads up before you start,” he says.

Approximately 15 per cent of all claims made using legal aid, which is included in house or home and contents insurance premiums, are about inter-neighbour quarrels.

To get their NOK 30 million figure, Mr Eklo explains that Gjensidige divided 2014 and 2015 figures, provided by industry organisation Finance Norway, by two in order to obtain the average per year.

“Your house or home and contents insurance can help you cover expenses if you are in a situation where you need legal advice, legal help, etc. A normal case costs about NOK 40,000. The maximum coverage provided is NOK 100,000, and reaching that limit is not unusual,” he concludes.




Published on Wednesday, 9th November, 2016 at 16:28 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson and Charlotte Bryan   .

This post has the following tags: rows, quarrels, neighbours, gardens, trees, court, legal, insurance.





  
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