Tag Archives: DIY

In it for the long haul

If you do report it to Environmental Health/Police do not expect things to happen quickly. Expect to be in it for the ‘long haul'” ‘James’, South Yorkshire

‘James’ and other neighbours are subject to a catalogue of anti-social behaviour. There is loud music and DIY noise. The gardens and property are untidy because of hoarding. There is drug use and drug dealing with a steady stream of visitors which is intimidating for the residents, and their property has been damaged on more than one occasion. For local residents, this anti-social behaviour has deeply affected them:

  • disturbed sleep because of the noise
  • health affected by the stress of the situation and the lack ofsleep
  • fear once their property became vandalised
  • the value of their homes has gone down thanks to the appearance of the neighbour’s property with the hoarding.

At the start we appealed to our neighbour in a friendly manner but this did no good. Environmental Health has been involved for a very long time too. Also the police are now involved because of the drug dealing and damage to our property.” James explains.

The case is in the system. He is in it for the long haul.

Our Analysis

James has done everything right. First of all he tried to speak to his neighbour about the problem. When that didn’t work, he contacted Environmental Health because the issues were noise and hoarding. These are dealt with by the Council. Once drugs and vandalism were added to the list of ASB the police, as we would expect, got involved. The problems are not yet resolved but the correct agencies are involved. It really is a case of being ‘in it for the long haul’.

This will feel frustrating and unfair – and it is. You never choose to be a victim of anti-social behaviour. Someone recently commented on our Facebook page that they wish they had never reported the anti-social behaviour in the first place. We completely understand their sentiments – to get results you will need to be involved in the case, giving evidence, and potentially a target of retaliation for speaking up.

Yet you also have to look at the alternative. We need to be tolerant of our neighbours. Yet if their behaviour starts causing us distress and affecting our health, it has definitely become anti-social. Surely it is better to do something about it, even if it will involve a long haul, rather than suffering in silence. Neither option is appealing.

Victims of anti-social behaviour have not chosen to be victims. It has happened to them and they can choose to face it or suffer in silence. It will take a long time to resolve so don’t leave it too late to bring it to the attention of your local agencies. We trust that there is light at the end of the tunnel for James and that in time he and his fellow neighbours can put this nightmare behind them.

Unbearable fumes and chainsawing

“It has affected our marriage but we cannot afford to move. I have contemplated suicide as feel my life is worth nothing.” ‘Lisa’ in Wiltshire

‘Lisa’ and her husband own their house but have been subject to constant, unbearable anti-social behaviour in the past 4 years that has affected their health and their marriage. The neighbours have bonfires every day from 10am, burning painted and treated wood. The fumes are unbearable so ‘Lisa’ and her husband are unable to use their garden or have any windows open.

The neighbour is almost daily chainsawing less than 3 feet from their front door which goes on from 9am until 6pm and is almost continuous. They cannot hear their TV or open a window and it sounds like an earthquake in their house. This has been going on for nearly 4 years making their lives unbearable. Nothing has been done.

‘Lisa writes’ “I spend most of my my life in earplugs and my husband even bought me a set of ear defenders. I cry constantly and we would move but cannot afford to. We go out as often as possible just to get away from the noise and fumes, my husband is on anti depressants, I am in tears most of the time and my health has deteriorated considerably. We can not use our garden or open any windows , the noise is constant and unbearable. It has also affected our marriage but we cannot afford to move. I have contemplated suicide as feel my life is worth nothing.”

They tried to talk with their neighbour but he refused to speak to them. The police offered them mediation but they refused. They reported it to the local council and kept a log for 3 years, yet nothing was done. Is it any surprise she has considered suicide? [Source: online survey]

Passed from Pillar to Post

The police refused to get involved and passed us to the council who juggled us back and forth between departments. ‘Leanne’ of Redditch

‘Leanne’ and her partner were Council tenants. They suffered extensive, targeted anti-social behaviour. This included loud noise at all hours, inappropriate shouting out the window, hate crime and accusations of ‘targeting” him specifically. They asked him politely to stop many times when he was doing DIY at late hours (two to six am). The situation worsened. There were serious threats of violence where the perpetrator tried to ‘recruit’ anyone he could to ‘burn the people downstairs’. ‘Leanne’ and her partner couldn’t sleep, were constantly stressed, and angry because they were often housebound.

They have feared for their lives “The police refused to get involved and passed us to the council who juggled us back and forth between departments. Eventually, the tenant was evicted from their property for threatening the council’s officers with a knife. In his home was evidence of planning to make incendiary devices he had often told many people he was going to use on us.”

ASB Help comments: it is wrong that only when Council officers were threatened, was action taken. In a similar situation today, ‘Leanne’ could activate the Community Trigger to insist on a case review.

[Source: online survey]

DIY Nightmare

We are in our 80s and strongly feel old age contributes to non action by the Local Authority. ‘John’ and ‘Wendy’, Exeter

‘John’ and ‘Wendy’ own their house and have suffered 10 years of continuous DIY. For weeks on end, early morning to late evening, weekends non-stop, with no courtesy warning of noise to come. Alterations to the neighbour’s house a few years ago are now being re-done. They comment: “The owner is DIY obsessive,almost manic. They have pit bull terriers which is a deterrent to re-confronting them. We are in our 80s and strongly feel old age contributes to non action by the Local Authority. Both of us still work and do voluntary work.” They feel the neighbours’ family intrude into their home and that there is no privacy.

‘Wendy’ dresses/undresses on the landing so as to feel unobserved. The neighbours’ children (now 11 and 13) sneer and smirk at them adding to their discomfort. “We have contacted Environmental Health (twice) with little active response – or a lack lustre response given too late. We are convinced old age bars us from useful help. The Police seem more willing to help but the “noise” factor bars them from so doing, thus they can only refer us to the Local Authority.” ‘John’ and ‘Wendy’ feel they have been discriminated against due to age. They advise victims to put pressure on their local authority and make sure they don’t dawdle and dither.

[Source: online survey]