Tag Archives: neighbour

Dispute Despair

Absolutely nothing was done.  It all still continues.  We are either ignored or treated as perpetrators.’  ‘Jack’, London

This is Jack’s side of the story:

No action has ever been taken against my neighbours who continues a 2 year campaign of every instance of ASB imaginable against both my household and another tenant in the property of 3 flats.  We have both continually provided evidence of this woman’s ASB but are both continually ignored by our Housing Association and the police.  In fact, the Housing Association gives this woman their full support by believing without question or investigation of any kind every lie and false allegation she continually makes about my neighbour and I.

Jack has been threatened with an Injunction for something he didn’t do which he said was without any investigation and purely based on the other party’s complaint.

The list of behaviour Jack has suffered is long and horrible:

  • racial abuse
  • damage to their car
  • brick through their window
  • dog poisoned
  • hundreds of live maggots thrown onto their steps and flat door area several nights in a row
  • verbal abuse
  • accusations of drug dealing
  • stealing their post
  • filming them 24/7
  • taking photos of them

Jack has been told that the Housing Association is aware of the neighbour’s behaviour, attributable to mental health.  However, it doesn’t make sense as why they would threaten Jack with an injunction.

Neighbour Dispute

To ASB practitioners, this may sound all too familiar.  The complexities of a neighbour dispute – who to believe and who is doing what.  How can someone contacting us as a victim be seen by the Housing Association as a perpetrator?  Hear Jack’s cry:

Yesterday my neighbour and I received a letter from the Housing Association warning us of OUR ASB and highlighting how WE could be breaching our tenancy agreements  This letter has been generated by more lies from this woman and yet again, without question or any investigation have been believed and taken as truth by the Housing Association.  Where is the help for people like us who have someone like this woman using and totally abusing the system to wreak havoc, cause misery and distress and invoke fear into innocent people?

What is really going on?

Our Comments

When we hear a story like this our initial reaction is deep concern at the way Jack is being treated.  Yet, we are also well aware that there are always two sides to the story.

The agencies acknowledge that there are complications in acting due to mental health.  Yet they then give warnings of injunctions without investigation to Jack. This seems incompletely inconsistent.  This is clearly some missing information on what is happening but there are some important factors to highlight from this story.

  1.  We would recommend to Jack that he activate the Community Trigger.  This would mean that all agencies, including the Housing Association, the local Council and the police, can come together to review Jack’s case.  Jack should request a clear response from that review of where mistakes have been made (perhaps insufficient investigation, lack of mental health support) and what else can be done to resolve the problems.  (Activating the Community Trigger can sometime give the support you need to get a house move as part of resolving the problem.)

2.  This case is a classic example of a Neighbour Dispute and ultimately it has been left to deteriorate into a tangled mess.  This is why it is so important for agencies to take early action and investigate early complaints – see this Housing Association example: http://asbhelp.co.uk/can-read-write/.  We wonder whether mediation was ever offered and how responsive the Housing Association really was when Jack first expressed his concern.

 

 

Noise Nightmare

It has been nearly eight years and I am still here … but flagging.  ‘Janet’, Luton

Many of us hear some noise from next-door from time-to-time.  Many of us make noise which at times can be particularly loud – especially when children are around, or when we need to do some DIY, or perhaps we get into an argument and voices are raised, or we have the odd celebratory party.  We must all learn to be tolerant of our neighbours and reasonable in what we consider excessive noise.

However, for some people, those noisy moments can suddenly turn into an intolerable Noise Nightmare.  A nightmare that threatens to take over every area of their lives, a nightmare that means their home is no longer a relaxing and enjoyable place to be.

This week is Noise Action Week – here are some true stories of people suffering today with their own personal noise nightmare:

1.    ‘Janet’ in Luton knows all about how a noise nightmare can go on for years.  “It has been nearly eight years and I am still here … but flagging” she says.  Next door has large parties on a regular basis, especially weekends.  They are out in the garden with teenagers screaming and shouting up to 3 or 4am.  They also harass her by throwing stones at her windows.  ‘Janet’ feels like they are more supported by the Council as Council tenants – she as a home owner is unable to move (because she would need to declare the ongoing dispute with her neighbours) and must suffer alone.  “I wish I had more support“, she tells us, “but people get bored with hearing about it.”

2.    A couple of pensioners in Stockport, one aged 77 with heart problems, cannot sleep in their own bedroom due to the noise from next door’s radio.  They are sharing a single bed in their other bedroom.  They are unable to watch their television and feel their conversations are being overheard and telephone listened into.  They are at the end of their tether and feel they can’t take it anymore.

3.    Another couple in Stoke-on-Trent are unable to watch their TV because their neighbour has her TV on so loud.  Add to that the fact her dogs are barking and she lets them bark constantly all day long.  As a result they feel stressed and on edge and are not sleeping properly, which in turn will affect their ability to cope.  “Even when we get an odd moment of peace,” they say, “we can’t enjoy it as we just sit wondering when the next incident is going to be.”  Their noise nightmare continues – they spoke directly to her first but she was aggressive and abusive.  They turned to the local agencies but were not taken seriously and told the noise wasn’t loud enough and to ‘just ignore her’.

4.    Fred in Bristol hears constant intermittent loud banging on a daily basis with a cacophony of noise – internal and external doors banging, running across the floor, jumping from a height, thudding on his wall when they are playing X-box – all of which can go on until late at night.  Fred feels trapped because although the Council was willing to accept his complaint, he was too scared to follow it through as an older person living on his own.  He accepts part of the issue will be the laminate flooring and no soft furnishings to absorb the noise, but his house is where he spends all his time, making his noise nightmare particularly difficult to cope with.

To submit your story to us please complete our survey – the more people we hear from, the louder a voice we can give you as we meet with frontline agencies to improve the way the legislation works for you.

Tips when in a Noise Nightmare

  1.  Stay calm and don’t retaliate.  See our tips on controlling frustration and fury.
  2. Gather Evidence to build up a picture of the problem.
  3. Don’t suffer in silence.  Report it and find out what help is available to you.  You may feel frightened but you are entitled to support.
  4. If no-one is taking you seriously but you are still suffering, perhaps it’s time to activate the Community Trigger and insist on a multi-agency review of your case.
  5. For more information about noise see these pages: http://asbhelp.co.uk/noisy-neighbours-noise/ and http://asbhelp.co.uk/measuring-noise/.

Tired and frustrated at lack of Support

“Discovering that no authority had the right to enter the property and turn off the music which had been left playing was extremely shocking and demoralising. If you cannot find respite from the world at home where does that leave you?” JA, Leicester

JA  owns his house but it soon became a place where could no longer feel at home, thanks to the behaviour of his neighbours. They played music loudly at all times of the day and into the early hours. Once they left music playing and left the house for the evening. The authorities had no right to enter the property and stop the music making life unbearable for JA.

The neighbours were also spitting from the 3rd floor of the house into the yard, foul and abusive language. “We were tired and frustrated at the lack of support. Discovering that no authority had the right to enter the property and turn off the music which had been left playing was extremely shocking and demoralising. It could have continued for months day and night….. If you cannot find respite from the world at home where does that leave you?

Finally the original problem tenants were moved. Yet JA has new problem neighbours, talking loudly through the night until 5 am. They are waiting for similar action to be taken.

[Source: online survey]

Finally an Injunction then Breached …

My health has deteriorated, we cannot enjoy our home, do not invite friends or family to visit, nor am I able to do my job as effectively as I should because I am always tired. We no longer trust the authorities. ‘Claire’ of North London

“We are Council tenants and have suffered so much. Our neighbour makes late night noise, has threatened us, cut down our tree branches, damaged our property, left rubbish on our doorstep, fails to maintain her garden, and smokes dope which seeps into our flat. Fighting and shouting above our head, verbal abuse and false accusations have been going on for six years.”

‘Claire’ and her partner finally got evidence in the form of recordings of late night noise and, thanks to a hard working ASB officer at the Local Authority, got an injunction. But the Injunction was soon broken. “The court still does nothing to our neighbour who is very good at acting hard done by.”

“My health has deteriorated, we cannot enjoy our home, do not invite friends or family to visit, nor am I able to do my job as effectively as I should because I am always tired. We no longer trust the authorities.” Initially ‘Claire’ and her partner asked politely if the neighbour could stop making noise. They asked for mediation and she refused. They have spent 6 years recording diaries and reporting her behaviour yet their message to other victims is: Do not give up and try to get evidence.

[Source: online survey]