Loud music, slamming doors and noisy children are also common complaints by the one-third of respondents who say they are regularly irritated by neighbours.
A Gallup survey for House Beautiful magazine says 82 per cent of British people describe their neighbours as friendly. This rises to 86 per cent in Scotland and the North and drops to 72 per cent in inner cities. Only 53 per cent of southerners know their neighbours' first names, compared with 64 per cent in the Midlands and Wales and 62 per cent in the North and Scotland.
If neighbours argue, 17 per cent drown the noise by turning up their television or stereo volume and 3 per cent protest by knocking on the wall; 9 per cent turn the music down to listen and 3 per cent hold a glass against the wall to hear better.
Dawn French is the nation's most popular choice as a next-door neighbour with 16 per cent, followed by Joanna Lumley and Richard Branson on 12 per cent. John Major is rated the least popular neighbour, narrowly beating Jeremy Beadle.
Leading article, page 15