Try to keep the peace over paint

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Q I read something about a woman in London causing an uproar by having her house painted in candy stripes. Advice please.

A The case you’re referring to involved residents of a very fashionable street in Kensington, who are apparently up in arms after a neighbour had the front of her £15m house painted in broad vertical red and white stripes – which someone described as looking like a beach hut!

Apparently, she did this quite deliberately, in a rather childish fit of pique, after losing out in a planning dispute.

Now, I obviously don’t know the details of your own problem – although I doubt if it’s quite as extreme as this one! Nevertheless, even if your neighbours are just planning to paint their property in a slightly eccentric colour, then I understand your concern – particularly if you are looking to sell in the near future.

But is there anything you can actually do about it?

The answer to that is, very little - as the aggrieved Kensingtonians have discovered.

A spokesman for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea even admitted as much, pointing out that no planning laws had been broken.

And that’s the point.

Your neighbours are perfectly entitled to paint their house any colour they choose – unless, of course, they live in a conservation area, or their property is listed.

Besides, even if you were able to take your neighbours to some tribunal or other, you would be entering into a formal dispute with them.

And if you are looking to move house in the near future, you should think twice about doing that.

Why? Well, because if the dispute were still unresolved when you came to sell, you would be legally bound to bring it to the attention of any possible purchasers!

So, when all’s said and done, the key thing to do here is to try and avoid falling out over the issue.

Such disputes can all too easily drag on and on, and even turn quite nasty.

And aggrieved or even downright vindictive neighbours are the last thing you want – particularly if you’re planning to move house!