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Toxic neighbour: the sequel - is there anything I can do apart from keep my head down?

(44 Posts)
thepeopleversuswork Wed 28-Oct-20 13:53:35

I've posted before about my nightmare upstairs neighbour here: some of you may recall this:

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/am_i_being_unreasonable/3611051-To-think-if-this-bothers-her-that-much-she-should-pay-to-get-it-sorted-herself

In case link doesn't work: for about 18 months she constantly complained to me about incredibly trivial things such as stray empty bin liners (which had nothing to do with me) getting into her wheelie bin etc. Things came to a head when she asked me to pay for an expensive appliance to be added to her boiler because she didn't like the noise which was made in her flat when my hot taps were turned on and off.

This sorry saga was resolved just over a year ago when after multiple attempts on my part to share the cost of getting the plumbing fixed she eventually complained to the council's environmental health department. Two very reasonable blokes arrived from the council, they inspected both our properties and said - as I had suggested all along -- it was a simple cheap plumbing fix which we should go halves on. I agreed and paid, as did she before getting into an audibly heated argument with the environmental health inspectors arguing that it was me that should pay for it. (I could hear them telling her to calm down and eventually storming out of her flat through the floor.)

So that was the end of that and for the past year or so I haven't heard a peep out of her, and obviously COVID has since happened and most people have got more things to worry about then ambient plumbing noises and stray bin liners. All quiet on the western front, I thought.

But in the last couple of days I briefly left a chest of drawers outside my flat as I initially tried to get it collected by the council recycling. They weren't able to do it and I was waiting for a friend with a car to pick it up and take it to a local furniture recycling place. This morning I looked out of the window when I was eating breakfast to see my neighbour taking loads of pictures on her phone: not only of the chest of drawers but lots of other shots of my front garden and the front of my house.

I can't be sure but it looks as if she is putting together some sort of dossier of "fly-tipping" or other alleged antisocial behaviour to share with the council or some other outside agency.

I don't think she's got a leg to stand on: I've since moved the chest of drawers to my shed as its clearly not going to be that easy to get it picked up and I can't leave it for weeks, it was only out there for 24 hours, and my front garden and bins are all in decent, tidy shape.

I am really pissed off that she's photographing me and my property after everything that's happened and quite uneasy that she's about to start up more nonsense: I'm working really hard (from home) at the moment and I don't have the time or energy for more of this drama.

I'm torn between just wanting to keep my head down and hope for the best or warning her: it crossed my mind to ask my solicitor to write a letter but I'm sure that will antagonise her and she hasn't as far as I can tell done anything illegal. But I'm not prepared to go through another stressful exercise in being harassed by someone who is bored and vindictive over something really trivial at the moment and feel I need to put down a line in the sand.

OP’s posts: |
Sunnydaysstillhere Wed 28-Oct-20 13:57:18

A4 letters in each window.
Fuck off you nosey bint

grin

thepeopleversuswork Wed 28-Oct-20 13:58:28

Sunnydaysstillhere

grin

Would love to do that. I'm absolutely certain that she would go running to the council about that though.

OP’s posts: |
MyOwnSummer Wed 28-Oct-20 14:03:08

thepeopleversuswork

Sunnydaysstillhere

grin

Would love to do that. I'm absolutely certain that she would go running to the council about that though.

Go for it, the council workers need a laugh too!

Sunnydaysstillhere Wed 28-Oct-20 14:03:26

OK then just 1.
Please stop looking at my house.
As it only applies to her what can she do??
My exh had his solicitor send me a letter demanding that I remove my newly fitted blinds as he could no longer see into my house..
Obviously I didn't and a judge didn't order me to.
Get blinds and leave them tilted at the front.
Keep a diary and report her in a fortnight for harassment..

Suzi888 Wed 28-Oct-20 14:04:11

If she’s taking photographs of you personally within your home or garden that’s against your human rights.

CSIblonde Wed 28-Oct-20 14:04:34

I totally sympathise. But she was looking for ammunition & there it was. I always put an A4 note on stuff with huge capital letters 'to be collected' as my opposite neighbour can be...tricky. And I photo it in case the note is removed.

Sunnydaysstillhere Wed 28-Oct-20 14:05:45

Sounds like she needs a 'to be collected' sign on op...

Els1e Wed 28-Oct-20 14:06:49

I would start recording and photographing her, gathering information for her harassment of you. Whatever you say or do is not going to change her behaviour because she is not rational. 💐

MrsAudreyShapiro Wed 28-Oct-20 14:07:29

You have my sympathies. I have been through it and having a nightmare neighbour is grim.

I agree that a solicitor's letter would only antagonise her and escalate the situation. If/when she does start harassing you, then you can draw a line legally if you need to.

Her complaining to the council is not necessarily a bad thing. They should behave professionally and would be easier to deal with than having to speak to her directly.

thepeopleversuswork Wed 28-Oct-20 14:12:42

Suzi888 Is it actually against the law though? I googled this but it wasn't clear. As far as I can tell she didn't actually take pictures of me, just lots of my bins/hedge/front garden/front of my house.

Els1e I wish I'd had the presence of mind to take a picture of her but didn't.

OP’s posts: |
Bargebill19 Wed 28-Oct-20 14:24:03

Tricky, nasty neighbours always seem to escalate. If you think a solicitors letter would stop her then do it. Sometimes bullies need someone bigger saying “stop”, for them to get the message.
I would probably just quietly document things, and put a notice in stuff awaiting collection as pp said. Then try to ignore as much as possible for as long as possible, continuing to document the crazy situation as it happens.

mumwon Wed 28-Oct-20 14:26:03

The temptation to get your camera out while she is doing this & (pretend) to take photos of her taking photos of your property grin advise lean out window & wave & smile or you could get cctv

thepeopleversuswork Wed 28-Oct-20 14:29:09

Bargebill19

Yep. That sounds like a good plan.

It may sound melodramatic but I actually find the whole thing quite disturbing. It was incredibly stressful last time around and I have really enjoyed the relative peace over the last year on that front. The prospect of being spied upon and feeling constantly paranoid that I'm going to get in trouble about trivial things all the time again fills me with dread.

OP’s posts: |
mumwon Wed 28-Oct-20 14:29:33

Oh wait - was she standing on public footpath or your property? I know from dh (he did photos of historic houses for English Heritage 7 this was their advice!) that you shouldn't stand on someone's property without permission & take photos but you can stand on public road or path

mumwon Wed 28-Oct-20 14:32:18

I bet she is complaining about you on facebook! hence your house photos will appear on her page -I wonder if you can complain to facebook about invasion of privacy if she does?

thepeopleversuswork Wed 28-Oct-20 14:32:43

mumwon she wasn't actually standing on my property, no... she was standing on the pavement on the other side of the hedge at the front of my front garden. Was definitely a public right of way and not trespassing.

OP’s posts: |
TimeIhadaNameChange Wed 28-Oct-20 14:33:04

I'd go and take a photo of where the drawers were to show they were moved soon after she took her photos. I wouldn't bother with further action yet, wait and see if anything comes from this latest episode. But keep a diary of she does anything else.

FrustratedC0ffeeDrinker Wed 28-Oct-20 14:52:46

If you get another letter from the Council just ask them whether they have a vexatious complainants policy and under what terms in the policy a complainant becomes vexatious...if they decide that she falls under the policy then the council will no longer investigate her complaints.

thepeopleversuswork Wed 28-Oct-20 14:58:27

FrustratedC0ffeeDrinker

That's a good idea...

I will have to start documenting everything ruthlessly.

The good side of no longer being on speaking terms with her is that I'm spared this endless slew of text messages about silly stuff. The bad side of no longer being on speaking terms with her is that there's nothing to stop her going nuclear on me and doing something really vindictive just to spite me. And I wouldn't put this past her at all.

OP’s posts: |
Heyahun Wed 28-Oct-20 14:58:50

don't get invested in this - ignore!

Block her number - don't speak to her about it - just don't entertain it

IF the council come - there's nothing there now - so there is no problem and nothing can happen

It will be more tiring to give this a second thought tbh

I have difficult neighbours downstairs they kept texting about various trivial things - and then they started to send facebook messages - I just blocked them in the end cus I couldn't be bothered listening to them anymore

SpookyNoise Wed 28-Oct-20 14:59:49

Get out there and spend ages taking pictures of her house and garden, from the public path of course.

YouKidsIsCrazy Wed 28-Oct-20 15:00:55

If she’s taking photographs of you personally within your home or garden that’s against your human rights

No it isn't.

thepeopleversuswork Wed 28-Oct-20 15:02:12

SpookyNoise

I would love to do that. I can absolutely guarantee, though, that she would call the police within minutes if I did that.

OP’s posts: |
KylieSmilie Wed 28-Oct-20 15:08:46

We had similar neighbours and as you already know there is no point in purposefully doing something to aggravate them. You can't get the better of them or win because they are not thinking in the same way as you. They aren't suddenly going to come to their senses because you take photos of their property in retaliation.

Also, you can't never ever do something that isn't going to give them something to complain about as they can just manufacture a problem out of anything at all.

All you can do is stand your ground when necessary so you aren't walked all over but don't let it dominate what you do on a day to day basis. And do official things to stop her like @FrustratedC0ffeeDrinker says.

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