AIBU to be at my complete and utter wits end with this situation?(80 Posts)
Hi, I hope this isn’t too long but I want to give as much detail as not to drip feed.
I live in a new build block of apartments on the 2nd floor (top) with my 2 young children. It is a rented property from a private landlord who owns my flat and the two beneath me. There are also 3 other flats in this block that are home owners. I have lived here for 2 and a half years and was the first person to reside in this flat from being built.
From what I can gather the two flats beneath me are part of an agreement with my landlord and social services with residents that are vulnerable adults. On the ground floor is a man who had a serious head injury and is very quiet and pleasant - keeps himself to himself. On the 1st floor beneath me is an 18 year old male with learning disabilities. My landlord explained to me that he has the mental age of a 12 year old. He moved in around Sept/Oct 2018.
The block of flats is directly opposite a large park with an area that caters to keeping youth off the streets and in a safe environment. Admittedly where I live is a rough area, on the outskirts of a large city. It is not unheard of for there to be regular assaults, knife crime etc. Many incidents of this nature have taken place at the park.
Ok to the problem - The lad below me (lets call him Sean) has ties with many of the teenagers that frequent this park. They are basically using him and his flat as a doss house. Every single day there is drama. There are groups of 8+ hanging around on the communal stairs, swinging off the bannisters, shouting, screaming, arguing, slamming doors so much that the block shakes, loud music until gone 3am, foul language, damage to the block, throwing stones at windows, the list is endless. Myself and my neighbour opposite (homeowner) have kept in touch with the issues and she contacted social services. I have spoken to my landlord numerous times who repeatedly just tells me to call the police and never turns up when this commotion is happening. Sean has a care worker that comes every day for a few hours, but as soon as she is gone the commotion begins. Its literally every day. It came to a head a fortnight ago when one bang too many sent me flying into a rage down the stairs to ask what the fuck was going on. I have never confronted any of them before this. I was laughed at and mocked by the 10+ group of teenagers, I managed to get them out of the block and went to talk to Sean by himself in his flat. Everything I said to him regarding the behaviours and issues went over his head, he just doesn’t understand. Everybody - the landlord, the carers even the police seem to be pacifying him. Nobody is taking into account the effect its having on everbody else that lives here.
I can’t live like this anymore, it’s making my life a misery. Unbeknownst to them, I am also classified as a vulnerable adult. I have a number of mental health disorders and this situation is excerberating them to a point where I have had the crisis team visiting me for the last 2 weeks. I can’t live like this anymore, I don’t have the funds to move house and the council knocked me off the housing register as I already have a roof over my head. I just dont know what to do, it’s making me more ill than I already am. My situation is very complex and too much to post on this one thread, but this home felt like an eventual place of safety after many very difficult years. I have C-PTSD and the bangs and shouting are triggering me on a daily basis - I feel like my safety and privacy has been taken away from me and I am constantly scared, angered and frustrated in my own home. My children get upset and nervous about coming home, it’s hell.
Call the police and tell them under the anti social behaviour act you want them to consider a closure order on your neighbours flat. Do not back down, keep pushing them to take steps to either remove the tenant or have the flat closed and boarded. Please read up about it this legislation can help you.
I think there is a readiness to put people into situations which they sometimes aren't able to cope with, and I have come across it in my work with a housing charity.
A young man was befriended by a group of older teens.
When they tired of him, he became obsessed with one of them and ended up being charged with an offence.
His mum had continually told his social worker that it was too much to expect him to manage with just visiting support, but they brushed her aside as it ticked boxes to say that he was living an age appropriate, independent life.
I too suspect the only way this will change is if Sean is moved away. Because he sees these teenagers as his friends.
And legally adults with LD are allowed to make bad decisions, just as adults without LDs are allowed to.
It's also extraordinarily expensive endoftheline which means that councils with extremely stretched budgets are being forced to move away from that kind of model unless the person's needs requires them to have someone present 24 hours a day they will more likely have someone popping in to support a few times a day like Sean.
Even on minimum wage 24 hour support is £197 a day (£1379 a week, or £71722 a year).
How many 12 year olds would realistically need someone with them 24 hours a day? Most 12-18 year olds would be capable of making themselves basic meals, having a wash, changing their clothes, getting themselves a drink, getting a bus into town, managing basic finances, understanding consequences etc. They might need reminding with some stuff and some support with other stuff but they aren't completely helpless.
OP it sounds like a really shit situation
Complain, complain, complain.
Record and report every instance. You almost have to become a nuisance for people to act nowadays.
I had a family member like Sean, and he had to be moved in the end. It was hard as he thought that the people using him where his friends/giving him booze and weed. In the end a facebook page full of bullying photos and videos of him was the tipping point, this included a video of them setting his hair on fire when he was asleep on the couch. But even now he still thinks it was "banter" and that they were his mates.
Agree that this is cuckooing, a safeguarding issue and that an ASBRAC is required.
I work for an HA that provides the sort of support your neighbour seems to get, OP. About 10 years ago, they were pressurised to house a young man with an LD, despite reservations that his support needs were too high for our particular project.
The situation became almost identical to the one you describe: young people from all over the area were using his flat as a party house, he was buying booze and weed for them because he enjoyed their company and thought they were his friends. Adult social care refused to accept that he was inappropriately placed and housing were always on our case, because of all the noise nuisance and ASB.
It all came to a head when we raised a financial abuse safeguarding, because he was spending all his money on entertaining his friends. While this was being looked into, the police got involved when some of his friends blew up the post box outside, and they convened an ASBRAC.
The young man was rehoused into accommodation where there was a much higher level of support, and we never got accused of cherry-picking our clients again.
It sounds like he probably has a social worker, who will need to look at this and see what can be done to help
I agree, it sounds like Sean is being taken advantage of by these teenagers. It's a safeguarding issue.
There could be more to it, they could be taking his money or his stuff or doing things in his flat that he's not happy with. Sadly this happens a lot to vulnerable adults
I know a young man who is living in a shared house with others of similar age. One of the rooms in the shared house is occupied by their support worker. They all have just the right level of independence but there is a housemate there to keep tabs on everything. I think this kind of set up is much better and prevents the kind of exploitation that is happening in the OP's situation.
if you can bring yourself to; contact your local media (if you can stand to be in your local rag with a "sad" face) because shaming a person with LD and vulnerabilities such a humane thing to do … not to mention all his mates in the park with know who you are
Do you really think that his "mates" in quotes because they are not really his "mates" will take kindly to your suggestion?
The OP is between a rock and a hard place, and as always the care in the community system is letting everybody down other than the scum that are taking advantage of "Sean".
My landlord also owns many properties in the area, I have already asked him a couple of days ago to please consider me if a suitable property becomes available as I want to move. He tried to kick me out last summer (whole other story) as I assume he wanted all 3 flats for these care purposes. Turns out he had done many things illegally regarding my tenancy and he didn’t have a leg to stand on once confronted so he allowed me to remain. Ideally it would be better to move away from this landlord too, but money is an issue.
I think you both need to make official complaints every single day.
Make them all dread your phone calls. It’s not easy but it’s what dh does when he wants results and it does work.
You have to be such a nuisance it affects their working life.
How is someone with a mental age of a 12 yr old allowed to live alone?
See above. Because they are an adult, and not actually 12. They also have daily support, which sounds like they need support to keep things going but not 24 hours a day.
Plus a 'mental age' of 12 would actually indicate a mild rather than a moderate or severe learning disability and some Local Authorities set the criteria of access to their LD services at the moderate level. Most 12 year olds are able to grasp the concept of right and wrong.
People with LD aren't some kind of subspecies needing to be controlled and protected, they are capable of having dodgy mates and making bad decisions like the rest of us. I'm not for one moment saying this lad isn't vulnerable (most 18 year olds with LD I know continue living with parents until they are a bit older just like NT 28 year olds - the fact he's in supported living at 18 suggests he's probably got other stuff going on as well). But shutting him away somewhere to keep him safe and solve the problem isn't the answer.
Thank you all for your advice, there is a wealth of valuable information on here that I will take on board. Have bought a notepad to use as a diary in which I am going to record the daily events. Will try and get some video/sound footage but am wary because this gang are so intimidating. My lovely neighbour opposite is also at her wits end with the situation and determined to get somewhere with it, so I am popping over tomorrow to show her this thread and hopefully get a plan sorted together. I am going to make a list today of all the numbers to call and start tomorrow.
Thank you again.
As a point of interest, i know that in some areas there are courses being run for people who have learning disabilities, helping them to recognise these sort of friendships as exploitative, and giving them support to extricate themselves from unsafe friendships.
The community police officer and social care team should know if there are any such courses around (possibly run by mencap). In 100% certain they funding could be found to run such courses if an agency were prepared to lead on organising.
OP, get back in touch with the social worker team and ask them to help you resolve this. It sounds intolerable and you shouldn't have yo live like this.
Nor should Sean be left vulnerable to these people.
How is someone with a mental age of a 12 yr old allowed to live alone?
I can't speak for the OPs crisis team rosa but certainly in my area the crisis team are so stretched they can't even appropriately respond to actual crisis situations - recently the earliest I could get a call back about someone suicidal on a Friday night was Monday afternoon. That's just a call back and not even an actual response. They certainly don't have the resources to be supporting people with long term housing/ antisocial behaviour issues.
Can you invite the case worker up to yours, after visiting theneighbour, so they can witness the behaviour for themselves?
Or can you get video evidence to show police/care worker.
Have you contaced the police? It sounds very muck like cuckoo-ing. Where a vulnerable person is taken advantage of and others use their house/money etc
Op is a tenant, she doesn’t own her flat, speakout
OP I am sorry you are in this difficult situation.
There are two options really.
1. You try to fix the problems around you.
2. You move.
I understand you don't have the finances to move, but realistically can you change your environment?
Other posters have come ou with very good, sensible plans and ideas but in my experience ( and I have lived in a rough area) it won't be changed by pne person, or even a few.
Persitent troublemakers will be moved on, individual problems solved, only to be replaced bu others of the same.
You could spend a lifetime fighting, contacting social services, police etc, and still the problems remain.
In you position I would throw everything possible into trying to move. For your sake, for you children's sake.
Move town, relocate, there are some wonderful places in the UK, There may be places close to where you are living now.
Could you sell or rent your property and find work elsewhere?
I don't mean to sound glib, but life is short and we have to make things happen sometimes.
Victim-blamey comment alert. Also smacks of "why aren't they all in institutions away from 'normal folk'? ' crap that people are so fond of spouting whenever anyone with LD lives near them.
No it wasn’t. The poster clearly said Sean needed more support and supervision.
It is cuckooing, as other have said. Good advice upthread, I’m sorry you’re in this situation but you can get help. Flag your own vulnerability, request (insist on) a multi-agency meeting and keep calling out this ‘cuckooing’ of Sean’s accommodation. Best of luck to you, op
Would contacting MIND help? I needed their help with benefits when I first became unwell and was assigned a mental health support worker who came out and helped me with more than benefits in the end. They were fantastic. Could they advocate on your behalf in meetings etc?
I'm staggered that the Crisis Team aren't helping you with this. Can you get an appointment with Citizens Advice - I've always found them so helpful to me in the past. Big hug for you OP xx
livelove it's only the landlord's assessment that he has the mental ability of a 12 year old - and it's pretty meaningless because even actual 12 year olds have a wide variation in what they are emotionally capable of dealing with.
This man isn't 12, he is an adult, an adult who despite having a Learning Disability has presumably been assessed as being able to live reasonably independently, and has made the choice to do so.
It's extremely unlikely being in a warden controlled flat would make much difference. If Sean said he wanted those people in his flat then a warden wouldn't have the right to stop him having who he wanted in his flat.
Anyway, it sounds like the appropriate authorities are already aware and are attempting to deal with it.
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