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reorete

***URGENT*** Housing help required.

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ok here goes my sister has an appointment at 2.30 this afternoon with northwards housing.she has one neighbour who complains about most things etc noise car parking space...its all spitefull things. my sisster works and keeps herself to herself and is upset shes been asked to go the the office today regarding these compaints..im going with her as a witness.can anyone advise her rights eg. how many people have to complain or do they take the word of one complainer..shes worried about losing her home over this woman.my sisters been off the road for a year now and the lady next door has 3 cars now my sisters bought a car they are annoyed shes using a space that one of there 3 cars use...its all getting very petty and the woman keeps phoning the housing complaining about my sisters kids makin noise eg,playin ball shes sayin my sister has visitors on motorbikes makin noise not true my sister knows nobody that has a bike.shes very stressed as the housing has told her that the person that complained had there foot in the door first so is more believable..please give us advise and tips on what to say today

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anyone?

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Don't know if you will get to read this before the meeting. Your sister can only put her side of the story to the officer. If her neighbour has made a complaint the organisation have a duty to investigate it but if the complaints are minor or there is no evidence to back them up then it will be unlikely to be taken further.

 

When I was a Housing Manager I saw a lot of these cases. Neighbours got on ok, then something happens (in your sisters case the parking issue) and suddenly it's a she called me a name, he slams the door situation.

 

If your sister has a right to park where she does they can't use that against her. Kids can get noisy but as long as they are not shouting, etc late at night or playing ball games in a prohibited area then there is nothing wrong with them playing. Again, what is the noise re. motorbikes? That the bikes make a noise? That the people do?

 

To get an eviction for ASB it has to be serious and there has to be a lot of evidence. They will want statements about the problems from other people, if noise is the main complaint then they will need reports from Environmental Health.

 

For this kind of case it's likely to be closed with no further action taken. If the complaints continue then they may suggest some sort of mediation between your sister and the neighbour. Your sister should agree to mediation if it is offered as this will go in her favour. She should also try not to get involved in any arguments with the neighbour as this will be the kind of ammunition they will be looking for.

  • Haha 1

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ty.aparantly people who visit my sister and skid round on motorbikes.she dosent know anyone on motorbikes . do a number of people have to complain to make it seriouse? as shes the only complainer.is it ok for me to go to the appointment with her as witness? my sister feels the housing officer is taking this womans side as she complained first his words were she got her foot in the door first. she feels intimidated .has she got any rights

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With regards to the Housing Officer it is hard to say whether they are being biased. I don't agree that just because someone complained first means that they should be believed over the other person. The person may have a grudge to settle (which seems to be likely in this case) or they may feel that they have a genuine complaint but their expectations are unreasonable. Someone may complain that the noise next door's children make is unbearable but it ends up being just ordinary noise from the kids playing outside on a Saturday.

 

To evict the organisation would need to put hard evidence in front of a judge. One neighbour's reports and no back up from other neighbours, Police, Environmental Health, etc would be laughed out of Court.

 

How did the interview go? Was she allowed to put her side of the story? Was she listened to? What did the officer say were the next steps he would be taking (if any)?

 

Although the Housing Officer does have to investigate he has to do so fairly to both parties. If your sister feels that the investigation is not being properly conducted she has the right to speak to a manager, make a complaint, visit the CAB, get legal advice or contact a local Councillor or MP.

 

Let her know that when a complaint is received it is usual practice to write to the person being complained about and ask them to attend an interview. However, most cases do not go much further than this due to lack of evidence and conflicting stories.

 

What she could do if it looks like the investigation will continue is to broach the matter with other neighbours. She doesn't have to say that a complaint has been made at this stage. She could say to a neighbour "My children play outside a lot, are they ever too noisy?" for example. This will give her a good idea of people she could ask to act as witnesses in her favour if the investigation or complaints continue.

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been to the appointment.he said there were 3 complains from one person...motorbikes skidding on the green...drunken behavior ...partying till late.he says theres no evidence so far and he dosent need it for a court to order eviction.says if enough complaints come in he will take it to court with no evidence as its not needed?

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an ty for the help aviva xxx

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he also said hes posted cards in other neighbours doors to see if they had complaints to make but has had no response.can he do this? no other neighbour has kids they are all elderly.another complaint was they think my sisters phonin takeaways to there house...not true an that happened over a year ago and hes only just mentioned this.i had no clue till today

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a very strong letter to the head of housing copied to the local councillor detailing what was said, they cannot act on unfounded allagations

 

soliciting complaints , is he for real

 

get urgent appointment with Local Councillor, I think the Officer will have more to worry about


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kiptowe ty for that info

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can anyone give me a letter to write? or help with one im really crap at letters id appreciate it a lot

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my sisters son is doing his Alevels in music he plays trombone .usually has a 30 minuit practice before 8pm 3 times a week ive now been told he cant practice anymore at any time is this right? how can he study for exams now. got this womans a spitefull git

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what i suggest

 

first sit down with your sister and put to paper everything the officer said exact to the word as possible

 

get the details of your local councillors from council website, find out when next surgery is and get along to it , if there is a phone number, try and speak to him/her you might get an urgent appointment before the surgery date,

 

whe you do go take the notes made etc

 

the councillor will take it up with head of housing on your sisters behalf

 

you really nead to complain about this officer , CHILD cant practice,


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I've taken a look at their website.

 

1. She needs to complain that she has not been listened to and that the comments made by the Housing Officer seem to show that he has made up his mind with regards to who is at fault without any evidence to back up the claims. "We can't take action against someone simply because another person has complained against them - we need evidence." This is a quote direct from their own ASB leaflet.

 

2. They offer a free mediation service for neighbours in dispute. So she needs to ask why this has not been recommended in this case.

 

3. They state in their leaflet that they may contact other people who have been witnesses. Did the officer give an indication that the complainant had said other people had heard/seen things, etc? I think she needs to know what was put on the card. I would think it would be fine to put "I have had complaints of noise/ASB in the neighbourhood. If you have any complaints or information contact me." but not to state who is being complained about. He may have contacted them but the neighbours have not backed up the claims. I was involved in a case where we did contact neighbours but this was for someone who had a history of violence, involvement in drugs, etc.

 

4. It is not unreasonable for your nephew to practice music for an exam before 8 and for short periods of time. It may be worthwhile speaking to his school to see if you can get a letter about the practice time needed, etc for his exam from his teacher.

 

5. They state that they will only go straight to legal action where there is real danger i.e. violence and for other cases there will be a step by step process. So why is your sister constantly being threatened with eviction? Why are no other options being mentioned like the mediation. How can your sister stop complaints coming in from the neighbour when she feels these are unfounded complaints brought about by a grudge over a parking space (or could be because person feels the area should be for elderly people only and is not happy a young family were moved there). The Audit Commission praised them for their procedures stating that they have processes in place to help perpetrators as well as victims. Yet she is being offered no help even though these are just allegations where there is no proof.

 

6. For eviction usually you have to show serious ongoing problems (with proof) and that despite other action taken by the ALMO there has been no improvement in behaviour. The Judge needs to feel that the problem is so bad and the person is not willing to improve their behaviour so the only solution now available is to evict. He may be able to take it to Court on witness statements and incident diaries but of several people for a situation like this one not just one. These problems should affect several neighbours not just one. Again if there are noise problems there should be Environmental Health reports.

 

I think that your sister should keep an incident diary herself putting in any contact she has with the neighbour and relevant information. Like kids playing outside for half an hour, neighbour complains that they are too noisy. This will help to show if her behaviour and complaints are reasonable. Sometimes people mess themselves up with these diaries, i.e. writes about noise when family are not at home that evening and can prove it.

 

I would speak to the local Councillor as Kiptower suggested. Also, speaking to the Chief Executive's Office can be very helpful. Our CEO takes complaints to him very seriously and demands an answer fast. He has even visited people at home to discuss the problems in more depth. Robin Lawler is CEO and the head office number is 0161 227 3000. If he is not there speak to someone like his PA. But I would contact one or the other at the moment.

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Whenever i receive a complaint of this nature, however petty it is, I have to investigate. But there is a right way and a wrong way, depending on the magnitude of the problem.

 

If your child was blasting out on his trombone 8 hours a day, I would tell you that it had to stop or I would take steps to ensure that it did. I'd let the EHO catch you red handed, serve an abatement notice on you, then I'd serve you with NOSP, and from our discussions, and your understanding of what would happen if this continued, you would then ensure that it stopped, I promise you. That's just how i deal with things.

 

However, if your child is practising for a set period a week, and from what you say that is not unreasonable, I would tell your neighbour that they must tolerate it for short periods only. I would remind them that they too make normal living noises, for instance I don't get complaints when they strim or cut their lawn (very noisy on a Sunday PM when trying to have a doze), or that their dogs bark when someone approaches. (If that was a problem they'd be straight down to the local dog training class with a letter to the instructor from me - yes I mean it, and I do it because I don't want people to have to lose pets!).

 

I would offer mediation and I can do this myself, or put you onto a local service.

 

If this is clearly a silly problem but banging heads together doesn't work, then to get to the end of it, yes I would be visiting other residents and asking if they are having any problems. I'd check the bike business with the local beat officer to see if they had any particular problems, in the area, and if they can identify any one in particular.

 

I am quite appalled at how your HO has handled this - it is a petty complaint, and from your version, you can proof that some of it is completely unfounded. I agree with what Aviva has advised you to do.

 

Aviva is also right in that in order to either demote your tenancy or outright evict you for ASB, there would have to be a trial. (Readers - this is social housing not private). It is fair to say that it is not always necessary for people to attend court as witnesses these days, the HO can give the evidence that he has collected instead. But that is for say, someone threatening residents lives etc., to protect witnesses, and I'm sure that any judge asked to decide the future of your tenancy on the basis that a child plays a trombone for a short period three times a week, that being backed up with a letter from the school to say it is vital to his exams, will not grant possession or indeed any other sanction.

 

It is true to say that there have been times when I have said to tenants for instance "you either stop it or get out and I don't really care which" but then in those cases we're talking d/v, drugs, prostitution and violence, not a child playing a trombone for gods sake! That's taking a huge hammer to crack a nut and your HO either doesn't have the confidence to know he can resolve this is other ways, or he is unable to switch off from dealing with major problems.

 

My advice to you is to keep a diary now, from the minute you read this, of your movements for the next month. Have a clean page for each day, and although it is laborious, record in it what occurs each day in your normal goings on. Put down the time you all leave the house, times you come home, times TV/music/trombone in use. Record all visitors and how they arrived. And then, when your spiteful neighbour submits the diary sheets that the HO has no doubt supplied her with, you can fire straight back - because liars get it wrong - they make mistakes - and sooner or later she will accuse you of something you couldn't possibly have done because you either weren't at home at the time and can prove this, or you had company and there you have your witnesses!

 

As well as contacting your Councillor, MP and the Senior Housing Officer, you should also find out if you have a tenant representative in the area, and speak to them also.

 

My final advice is however wild this person makes you, never, never retaliate because if you do you make them the victim.

 

Good luck, if you've done no wrong, there will be no proof, and the threats that are being made by your HO are meaningless. Well in this case I consider they are anyway - if you were drug dealing or something then I'd be telling you to listen to him!

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i cant thank you guys enough for this very helpfull advise.xxx

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You are most welcome, stay calm and dignified whatever happens, if you've done no wrong nothing will happen.

 

It is very difficult indeed to get a secure or assured tenant out of a property. And you have the right to defend yourself every stage of the way.

 

Is your HO young? I ask because HO's of my age (late 40's) didn't have all these tools to use when we started so the job had to be done by actually using common sense, firmness and fairness.

 

The tools we have today are actually very powerful, to the extent that in some cases we have more power than the police to deal with problems on estates. So, when we got the powers, whereas I thought "Oh Christ what next" a younger person might have thought "let me at them!".

 

This HO has threatened you, and in my book has broken a cardinal rule and shot himself in the foot to boot. You don't make empty threats, you should never need to because you mean what you say because you know you can deliver. He can't and now you won't respect him in the future. That's why I ask if he's quite young - because if not he's either stupid or nasty or both!

 

Don;t worry anymore, you;ll be fine.

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my sister has offered mediation twice now jackie and both times its been refused by the neighbour.the housing officer said hes given them his number and the neighbour will ring him if theres a noise eg music and no matter what time he will go to listen and witness it himself.my nephew is gutted as hes doin an exam in music and his teacher complains hes not practicing enough.my sister told the housing that the allegations were not true and that she feels helpless as this woman can complain about anything she likes because my sisters been told because this woman complains a lot the housing officer believes her because he thinks nobody would complain that much for nothing.he told my sister that if this woman keeps complaining there will be court actionwhat the hell is my sister supposed to do if this lady keeps complaining..he even had the cheek to ask my sister if she had a drinking problem and might be doin these things when drunk..my sister was disgusted as shes a single mum with 3 kids that works hard and sunday is her only day off

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Well, at least he's prepared to get off his bum and go and listen - trouble is - what will he be listening to?! Nothing - or he'll identify the correct culprit should there be one. That's quite normal actually, and something I do a lot myself. It can only go in your favour.

 

The bottom line is your sister is not making a nuisance therefore nothing serious can happen over this.

 

Make sure she starts keeping that diary because that's your best bet to catch old nosey with her drawers down!

 

I should get your sister to complain to the Housing Manager now that she is unable to have the peaceable enjoyment of her tenancy that her HA must allow her.

 

You know the stuff about the bikes is not down to you, and admit the only noise you do make is the trombone practice. So, how about asking all the other residents if they are being disturbed by her son's musical practice, and then those that do hear it, do they actually mind it? And if they look like they are going to mind, then explain to them that it is for an exam. Going on from that would they be prepared to put their name to a letter to confirm this?

 

Please worry not, the very worst that will happen is you will be served with a NOSP, which you can challenge. Like I said before, no judge is going to kick your sister out because her teenager plays the trombone three times a week.

 

Come on, help your sister to fight the jumped up HO all the way!

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when i went to the housing office with her for her appointment i took some notes.he didnt seem happy but never mind.we told him that my sister is a lone parent while the lady next door has 3 male adults and one female adults that reside there.when my sister first moved in 6 years ago the lady told her that one of her sons was aboxer and that her husband had been charged for murder 2 times.these are people that refuse mediation because they say they are afraid of backlash.we are baffled as my sister is so soft and never sticks up for herself.the housing officer checked with police and found the murder charge allegations were infact true.as there was a police record of it.the husband walks round like a gangster caked in jewellary spitting outside my sisters frount gate so she constantly has to go out and bleach her steps.the teenage daughter next door who is 19 constantly shouts **** to my sister infact the husband mother an daughter all confront my sister at once which she finds intimidating.my sister has informed the housing officer of all this.all the way through the interview he laffed saying because of the number of complaints he believes the neighbours as why would they complain so often.these people are playing the system and my sister feels theres nothing she can do.shes terrified shes going to lose her home as the ho has said he dosent need evidence to take it to court.and if these neighbours have been told by the ho that he dosent need evidence all they have to do is keep complaining. i cant thank you enough jackie for the advise your giving me xxx sorry if im takin up a lot of your time but its appreciated

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if this officer is making such wild allegations he must be reported urgently, he cannot do what he is doing, get that appointment with the local councillor /MP urgently, and keep everything in writing


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You really must do as kiptower says and contact your local councillor or your MP. You need to have someone in authority investigate this housing officer's behaviour. It is appalling.


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Information given is based on my knowledge and experience and is not to be considered as legal advice

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Don't you worry about my time, I don't mind helping at all.

 

I can tell you now exactly what is going on. Your HO is scared of them! Your neighbours are jealous that both you and your son have something to do with your lives. To them, they probably see your sister as stuck up because of this. This is what people can be like.

 

He is correct - he doesnt need the neighbours to go to Court as witnesses, he can do it on hearsay, but this is usually reserved for the most serious of cases. And if he were found to be lying, at least where I live, county court judges can and do get over excited at the chance to bite and have been known to imprison people. I actually heard a DJ (youngish one!) say "well, you have broken my injunction sir, now I am going to break you!" He got 14 days then and there. We won't let it get to that stage, don't worry!

 

Now, what is needed here is some discreet CCTV or some other DISCREET form of monitoring. Certainly it would be good to catch him spitting at the gate on film, and one of those little dicto machines are brilliant for recording anyone who thinks they can hurl insults at you.

 

So, we have spitting (if dropping litter is an offence, so is spitting). Tenancy breach.

Then she told you about the boxer and themurder charges - for what reason? You are not confidants or close friends, so it can only be said to you to alarm you. Tenancy breach

 

I suggest, as well as putting all this in writing to your local Ward Councillor, MP, Head of Housing at the HA, Senior Housing Officer, and also the tenant liaison officer within Housing, that you now make a determined effort for your sister to meet with her local beat officer. Your sister needs to let him/her know that she is now terrified of losing her home over nothing and what these people have been doing. Let her son meet with him also. These cretins will be well known to him and he is your starting point for local police involvement. You can arrange to meet with him, rather than they come to you and give the game away.

 

I now also advise you to get your sister off to Shelter, they will help with this. Promise, once they start with it, your HA will jump.

 

See how you get on with Shelter and writing to everyone who can help, and the police, keep those diary notes religously just like I described.

 

If all the neighbour can do is spit - he's not a very good murderer is he? Most people would be heartily ashamed of having a tag like that, clearly he wears it as a badge.

 

And no, they won't have mediation, because mediation brings out the truth and only one person speaks at a time - they won't be able to shout and abuse you, so it won't be any fun for them, and neither can they function in an atmosphere like that.

 

I had a tenant once who's mixed race teenage son was being racially abused by an outright thug on a particular estate. Very hard to prove, but we did in the end. However, it all became rather unnecessary when he called at the victims house one night, suppose he was going to have another go, and he promptly had a heart attack on her doorstep! Justice was done, particulary as the mother was kind enough to call an ambulance and then go with him to the hospital! So chin up, its not all bad and you never know your luck!

 

Keep posting back and I'll keep an eye out, you need to encourage your sister to defend herself in this, but in the right way. The neighbours will do it in the wrong way, I promise you!

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hi just an update jackie..my sisters heard nothing since the meeting at the housing office but yesterday she was trying to phone the housing officer all day and was told he was at dinner and would phone later...he never did nor has he replied to emails. my sister was doing her garden the other day when a neighbour from the back of her property shouted her over to inform her that one of the neighbours involved in the dispute with my sister has been knocking on all the doors behind my sisters property asking people if they had any complains about noise coming from my sisters property and if they have will they come forward... my sister is seething with anger about this as she cant understand why he is knocking on peoples doors who she dosent even know.we have informed the housing officer as we feel that this proves they are being vindictive to me sister... i just wanted your views on this jackie as you are a housing officer and maybe you could advise us what to do about this ty

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