During the month of April, a radio interview with Age UK was aired a number of times on ‘The Wireless’, to an audience of older people. We were delighted to be a guest on the ‘We’ve Got Mail‘ programme, alongside Age UK’s own expert on anti-social behaviour, Lottie Beauchamp.
We answered questions from 5 different victims of anti-social behaviour, as follows:
1. My Mum got new neighbours a few years back. They are nice enough and helped her with her shopping after she had a fall. However, they’ve done nothing to their garden since they moved in and it looks a mess now. They’ve got these tall trees and hedges that are hanging over Mum’s fence. There’s barely any natural light in her living room, which is where she spends most of her days, and I’m worried about what the roots are doing to her foundations. Surely this isn’t legal!
See our Advice about boundary issues here: http://asbhelp.co.uk/neighbour-disputes/
2. I live on a council estate and the family upstairs are the neighbours from hell. They are constantly making noise when they are at home and the dad works nights, which disturbs my sleep. I can hear everything they do up there – I don’t understand why they’re so loud! I have lots of health problems and the lack of sleep and stress is making it worse. Please help, I’m at the end of my tether!
See our Advice about noise issues here: http://asbhelp.co.uk/noisy-neighbours-noise/
3. I own my house but the property next door is privately rented. Previous tenants have been good and kept themselves to themselves, but the current lot are awful. There seems to be at least ten people living in one small house and there are always visitors coming and going. The front garden is full of rubbish and I’ve seen rats crawling about. The tenants are always having parties with music blaring at all hours. One of them keeps a large dog which I’m sure is dangerous. I’ve complained to the police and the council countless times over the past few months. Sometimes someone turns up to tell them to turn the music down, but beyond that nothing seems to be being done. What should I do next? How should I get them to take this issue seriously?
See our Advice about what to do when no-one seems to be listening here: http://asbhelp.co.uk/community-trigger/
4. My wife and I live in a housing association flat. We’ve had problems with one of our neighbours for years now – both the housing association and the police have been involved. Things have taken a turn for the worse recently and we don’t feel safe in our home anymore. The housing association have said they will move us, but we haven’t heard anything from them in a while – we don’t understand what is going on. Is there any other way we can move?
5. I’ve just moved house to be closer to my daughter. The house is lovely, but I’m having problems with the pub on the corner. Of course I saw it when I went to view the house, but I didn’t realise how late it would stay open. The noise is deafening and there have even been fights outside my front door! Is there anything I can do about this?
See our Advice about issues with pubs and clubs here: http://asbhelp.co.uk/premises-licences/
Older People and ASB
Anti-social behaviour can affect anyone in any place. However, older people can suffer its effects to a much greater extent, especially because many older people spend a lot more time in their own home. Therefore anti-social behaviour from neighbours will affect them for more hours of the day than someone who is heading out to work and school each day.
Older people can feel more vulnerable and therefore can be more easily frightened. Our tips on being frightened address some simple ways to help with this.
Another area of anti-social behaviour that may particularly affect older people is disputes over gardens and garden boundaries, especially where spending time in their garden is a hobby and a source of pride. Living next to untidy gardens or issues around overhanging branches could cause significant distress. We have information on neighbour disputes and environmental offences which cover these issues.
Do not suffer in silence. There is power in numbers and there may be other neighbours on your street who can support your case. Emphasise when you report anti-social behaviour to agencies such as the Council, Housing Association or Police how the anti-social behaviour is affecting your health. Older people whose health is being affected should be treated as a higher risk, and therefore higher priority, for local agencies.