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Good evening Caggers,

 

 

I am asking for some advice on behalf of my father, who has been dealing with a nuisance neighbour for a while but issues have been esculating in the last couple of weeks or so.

 

My retired father has owned his end-of-terrace house since the mid 00s, though it is an ex-council property. However the neighbouring property (mid-terrace) is council-owned, although it is looked after by a local HA appointed by the council to look after all their homes. These particular tenants (a couple with a child) have been living next door to my dad for about a year.

 

There have been issues with noise throughout - loud banging of doors and shouting at all hours (yes, we are often talking 2-3-4am, but can be any time of the day so goodness knows when they sleep!). The bloke can often be heard playing loud music in his car at midnight or 6am. All very annoying but now things have stepped up a notch.

 

A couple of weeks ago, my dad was woken up by the neighbours burning rubbish in their back garden at midnight. It was only in the morning when my dad noticed that a old metal bin he kept in his back garden had gone missing. There is a gate between his back garden and the neighbours' - though there's no trace of the bin, it would be very difficult for anyone else to have known of its existence.

 

On Weds this week, my dad had had his brown 'garden waste' bin stolen from the front of the house. We can't prove it is the dodgy neighbours, but they do now have a brown bin at the front of their house and one round the back.

 

Now today, my dad has noticed some large items appear in his back garden, including a fridge unit and a buggy. They are now using my dad's garden as a dumping ground for their large waste! There is access to the back garden from the front of the property so in theory it could be anyone, but the property is a little bit off the road, with some large grass areas between the road and the houses - it would have taken some effort to identify my dad's back garden as a good place to dump their large waste, let alone take it down there!

 

My father was only telling me yesterday that he is looking to go to the council's HA on Monday to discuss the neighbours' behaviours, this being before the discovery of the fridge and buggy in his garden. He hates confrontation and hates the idea that the neighbours will work out that it would be him who's reported them, so I know that looking to take steps on this is a big deal for him. He won't admit it out loud, but I know he is getting quite upset by all this and I hate seeing him like that.

 

I am going to see him tomorrow with a notebook and help him write up a proper log of events for him to use and refer to when he sees HA. I do already have Monday booked off work for other reasons, so I will try and be at the HA with him if I can.

 

Please can I have some advice about whether this is a good starting approach or whether we should be doing things differently? Also, how best to get rid of the waste if HA won't co-operate there?

 

Many thanks in advance,

GS.

Any pearls of wisdom that I give on the CAG forums is based on previous experiences and knowledge I have gained from being on these forums.

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Hi GS. I'm sorry to hear about the problems. I would be upset too.

 

stu007 is good at HA and council stuff, I'll flag this for him. I think photographic evidence could be good too.

 

HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Thank you HB.

 

 

Good idea about photos, will get some photos taken tomorrow.

Any pearls of wisdom that I give on the CAG forums is based on previous experiences and knowledge I have gained from being on these forums.

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Hi Good Sister

 

I am sorry to here that you Father is going through this but as you have mentioned in your post it is getting evidence to prove who is doing this (i.e. neighbour in HA property).

 

What he need to start doing is keeping a log of everything and I mean every single little issue no matter how small and who reported to i.e. HA, Councils Anti Social Behaviour team, Councils Fly Tipping team as it builds a picture of evidence.

 

The best evidence is photographic, fitting cctv could be an idea but as you would be aware there is a cost involved to do that or just consider a simple recording device from the back & front garden (please if doing this remember what you can & cannot record):

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/domestic-cctv-using-cctv-systems-on-your-property/domestic-cctv-using-cctv-systems-on-your-property

 

Report to the Council the Fly Tipping of those items in his garden. (keep a record of this)

 

Contact the local police and see if a community officer could come out out offer there advice or at a netural location.

 

Make a 'Formal Complaint' to the HA concerned and make sure and title it as such and get free proof of posting from post office.

(if you do not wish the HA to visit the property but at a neutral location make this clear)

 

Also ask them for copies of the following:

 

1. Customer Care policy (not the leaflet).

2. Complaints Policy (not the leaflet).

3. Anti Social Behaviour Policy (not the leaflet).

4. Equality and Diversity Policy (not the leaflet).

5. Neighborhood Management Policy (not the leaflet).

 

Good Sister if you are going to help deal with this on your Fathers behalf whether with the Council or HA etc you need to make sure

and get a written letter from your Father to act on his behalf.

 

I wont lie as this may take time to resolve as it all comes down to evidence been in a similar situation with my own HA a few times but my evidence was the clincher)

 

this PDF may also be of use:

 

Incident Log-with form fields -----.pdf

How to Upload Documents/Images on CAG - **INSTRUCTIONS CLICK HERE**

FORUM RULES - Please ensure to read these before posting **FORUM RULES CLICK HERE**

I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

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Of course all of the advice given above is good advice.

 

In theory. There should be absolutely no problem. All the law is on your side. However, there is one big difficulty and that is that getting the law to work takes a lot of time, energy, persistence – and also in this kind of situation it takes a lot of courage.

 

As soon as you start making your complaint, the neighbours will realise that somebody has raised objections to their behaviour. They will realise that it is your father and unfortunately much of the time that these kinds of things happen, things get a lot worse before they ever get better. This means that they could start to take things out on your father in a rather more deliberate and targeted way.

 

So far these people have simply been inconsiderate and unpleasant but presumably they don't have a particular axe to grind. Once they realise that somebody has started to invoke procedure against them, they may turn their belligerent neighbourliness into vindictiveness and that could get very unpleasant, especially for an elderly man living on his own.

 

I expect that you know this – none of this is news to you.

 

Of course things seem to be getting worse and the dumping of items in your father's back garden is completely unacceptable.

 

However I think that you need to go very slowly. I don't think that you should start complaining yet. I think that you should start building up an overwhelming body of evidence. This means that you take photographs. You keep a diary. You take recordings if possible. If you are able to install a video – especially one that has reasonable nightvision then this would be helpful. It's all a lot of trouble and it shouldn't be necessary – but it is.

 

Very importantly, all of this "surveillance" has to be carried out extremely discreetly because if they realise what is happening then they are likely to get extremely nasty.

 

I think that you should keep a careful log and try to build up evidence over a period of at least a month or so.

 

You should realise that the local council will be very reluctant to do anything. There are a number of reasons for this. First of all it is clear that you are in a social housing area. This is not a big priority of any local council. Is it a Conservative council? Or a Labour council? Or what?

 

Neighbour problems of this kind are a complete nightmare for councils. And of course if they start to take any action it will take a long time because their policy will be to try and deal with these things by letter, by veiled threats, by direct threats – et cetera. During this time your neighbours will have put two and two together and your father may well become a target. Course this will be helpful because the trouble is ramped up and there will be a lot more to put in the diary. But of course will also become more difficult and more unpleasant.

 

In addition to preparing your evidence, I should start making your own researches. Visit the Council website and find out as much as you can about how they deal with these things so that you understand the procedures. You can be fairly certain that the council will try to use a soft touch approach and they may be reluctant to apply all the powers that they have. If you are aware of the rules then you can control them more easily and if you find that they are not taking certain action which you expect them to do and which they have the power to do then you can demand to know why it's not been done in the way you want. You really must take control.

 

However, before anything I think that I would visit the police – not to make a complaint but to find out who is the local community support officer. Then try to make an appointment with that person and make it clear that you are not making a complaint at the moment but you want to know all about this kind of problem, how it is dealt with, what the powers of the police are, how those powers can be invoked – et cetera. In exactly the same way as with the local authority, you need to understand the entire situation so that you can make sure that people are using all the powers that they have to deal with the problem and they are not trying to hold back in some way because they feel that they need to be diplomatic.

 

Once the complaint is made formally then you can expect things to get very difficult and it is at this point that you will need to have sufficient control to be able to propel the process forwards as efficiently and as robustly as possible. Problems are always caused when these things are tackled in a sort of half-hearted and reluctant sort of way so that they get drawn out. Ultimately the victim of any delays will be your father.

 

It is inconceivable to me that these neighbours will suddenly reform themselves and be wonderful and friendly because a complaint has been made. These kind of people are only likely to harbour a grudge and take every opportunity to try and inflict subtle discomfort on your father so that the situation is never really dealt with.

 

I'm afraid the only eventual solution to these kind of problems is generally speaking to get the neighbours out.

 

Please do keep us updated

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Just an additional note: when you do decide to break cover on this, I would also then try to arrange an informal meeting with whoever is responsible of the council so that they get to know you and you get to know them so that some kind of face-to-face relationship is established before a formal complaint is made. This means that they are more likely to see you as an individual rather than just another complainant.

 

I'm sure that establishing a relationship is a very important first step in advance of turning it into a formal complaint. In a way you would be doing the same thing with the police community support officer.

 

I would also make sure I had all the contact details of the local councillors so that at the moment that you felt anyone was dragging their feet, but I would write to all of them and let them know that you're not happy. Similarly, I would understand the procedure for bringing a complaint to the local government ombudsman so that once again, the moment you think it's not being dealt with properly, you begin your complaint.

 

I think the whole game is to make sure that you are so thoroughly informed and that you are so well planned that you can control and direct and make sure that they realise that the cost of not acting would be far more serious than the cost of acting.

 

I suppose this all sounds very pessimistic but I don't see any disadvantage in not being fully prepared

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Thank you both stu007 and BankFodder so much for all of this info and your time in typing it all up. I am sure this is all going to be very beneficial.

 

I agree that we should be getting as much evidence as possible, so I will be emphasising to my father the need for keeping the log up-to-date and taking photos in the meantime. I know that his initial enthusiasm for going to the HA on Monday has waned since he first made the suggestion - I guess that a noise complaint could have come from anyone in the area but adding fly-tipping to the complaint would now make it very obvious.

 

I would love to get CCTV fitted up, but the cost will be a barrier. I am hoping that a cheaper idea might be to look at the access point which connects my father's front and back gardens and look into making that more secure - we probably can't do anything about the gate between my father's back garden and the neighbour's back garden without council's co-operation but it might be a way of demonstrating that any further fly-tipping could only have come from the neighbours.

 

Hopefully, the business I need to attend to tomorrow will be sorted quickly, so I can do the rounds at HA / police / council and try and get names of who we will need to speak to down the line and find out the procedures we need to go through. I do expect the local council to be the worse one to tackle, as it is complicated by the fact that our county council was well-publicised recently as being 'effectively bust'. I do know that it is a Conservative-run council, for what it's worth.

 

Whilst my father is still very much capable, I would like him to do as much of the complaining etc as he can, but he does need a shove every now and then to get things moving. He's in his late 60's, but looks a lot younger and keeps himself to himself, so I wonder if the neighbours have mistaken him for being rude and/or lazy. In some ways this might work to his advantage as he can build up evidence under the radar, but I won't lie, I do worry about things getting personal down the line.

 

Of course, I will keep you updated throughout.

Any pearls of wisdom that I give on the CAG forums is based on previous experiences and knowledge I have gained from being on these forums.

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Maybe I'm being unfair but I imagine that if it is a Conservative council then they may be more helpful to the owner of a privately owned house when making complaints against council tenants. I feel embarrassed in suggesting this.

 

In terms of video cameras, I expect that there is something that could simply be mounted on a rear facing windowsill – inside an overlooking room and which might do the trick. It's not essential of course but it would be very very helpful to have this kind of footage.

 

As I have already suggested, I think that you really need to take your time to build up file. I wouldn't be going to council offices immediately. You don't want to accidentally trigger something when you're not ready. I would be very careful to spend at least two or three weeks preparing a file – and better four weeks so that you have got a real pattern of nuisance logged down.

 

If you go and say something to someone and they leap into action straightaway and you have not got the evidence, then it will simply result in a letter being sent to the neighbours and that will kick off all the trouble and you won't be ready for it.

 

This is clearly been going on for some time. There is no emergency. Take your time and you will have a much better chance of success later on.

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OK, thank you, BankFodder.

 

I'll hold off the visits tomorrow, which is something I think secretly my father will be pleased about. We will do as much as we can in getting as much evidence as we can over the next few weeks.

 

I will see in the meantime what we can get camera-wise and also see what information is available online about council procedures etc.

 

Thank you so much for your input.

Any pearls of wisdom that I give on the CAG forums is based on previous experiences and knowledge I have gained from being on these forums.

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https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=indoor+camera+security+motion&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Aindoor+camera+security+motion

 

Probably must have motion detector. Don't forget if you buy online from Amazon then you have 14 days to return it if it's not what you want. Keep it pristine and look after the packaging.

 

Also, you will have to make sure that it is mounted discreetly so that nobody realises that there is a camera up there – otherwise it will cause a lot of trouble. Probably need to disguise it in a cuddly toy or flower vase or something.

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Thank you so much for that link BankFodder - my dad and I did take a look online this afternoon to take a look at cameras. Haven't purchased one yet, as it's working out where best it can go, but good to see some options that look reasonable.

 

 

Will keep everyone posted with news and updates in due course.

Any pearls of wisdom that I give on the CAG forums is based on previous experiences and knowledge I have gained from being on these forums.

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This neighbour will not be afraid of a complain and the police needs evidence of offences.

Even if you gather some, it will be a long and difficult time for your father.

I would try and speak to this guy, not accusing him but making him think.

You could say that someone has dumped the rubbish and ask him if he's seen anything.

Get your father to know him and ask his help in catching the offenders.

Let him know that your father is not rude and he needs his support.

Maybe, just maybe, he might find himself in charge of his neighbourhood to make it better and stop all or part of this nonsense.

It's worth a shot in my opinion.

These individuals are usually inconsiderate and have low self esteem, given some sort of responsibility they feel important and may behave a bit better.

Failing that you'll need to start the process described by bankfodder.

Good luck.

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If you do decide to try and attempt dialogue first, I certainly wouldn't let it get in the way of building up your file of evidence. You should be doing that as well.

 

Another thing which might be useful would be to try and trace their social media accounts – Facebook, Twitter. You never know, they might be boasting about what they did with their fridge.

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Ask yourslef why has the council/HA got these people as tenants in the first place. Sorry to say that dumping fridges in your fathers garden is a civil offence and the surest way of losing a small fortune is to take the matter to law so use the council procedures ( they will creak into action very slowly because they know what the consequences will be for them as well as for others) and get some evidence by the way of CCTV imagery.

New gates and fences. anti-climb paint etc. Try and make the stuff look nice so it isnt seen as a challenge for them. you will also find that people like this have ****** friends as well so I would advise not talking to the neighbours about anything at all, just a nod when appropriate

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