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Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. Free legal advice is available from a Citizen's Advice Bureau, and the Law Society can supply a list of local solicitors.

Can anyone give me advice about nasty neighbours?

(17 Posts)
Pacific Tue 02-Oct-07 10:01:15

Hi everyone. I don't often post on here but I am hoping someone can give me advice how to proceed.

We have not long moved in here. Since the very moment we collected the keys, the neighbours have complained to us about anything and everything. Most of it with no reason or just about trivial things that we would immediately put right e.g. the dustmen would dump both bins after emptying over their drive. She would be over to complain before we had a chance to move the bin.

So it got to the stage that we were starting to creep about our own house worrying when the next complaint was going to come.

Sometimes it has become quite nasty and three times she has accused members of my family of vandalising their property. In all cases she was making up these accusations.

We have employed the strategy of completely ignoring the confrontations but usually complying with any of the complaints.

However recently, we had an incident where the couple were yelling and threatening us in the street including extremely foul language. I was actually terrified that the man, who was incoherent and looked out of control, was going to headbutt my husband.

We did not retaliate in any way and completely ignored them but we did comply with their complaint that precipitated this incident ( I don't want to specify what that was in case I am identified).

Since then, the anxiety has got to me and I am unable to sleep or eat and I really want to do something now. So could we send a lawyer's letter? Do we go to the council? Any advice gratefully received.

thelittleElf Tue 02-Oct-07 10:04:47

Have the police been involved at any time? Maybe next time they cause a confrontation, you could call them. I would class this as harassment!

Also a call to the local council about them might be a good idea. No one should have to live tlike this.....and kind of makes me wonder why the last people moved out hmm

cornsilk Tue 02-Oct-07 10:07:12

Pacific that sounds awful. Sorry don't know what you could do. Maybe someone else can help. I think that if you make a 'formal' complaint then you have to declare that you've had problems with your neighbours if you move, so you may need to weigh that up if moving is an option. (Might put buyers off)

Pacific Tue 02-Oct-07 10:08:44

No, the police have not been involved. To be honest apart from the most recent incident it has been pretty low-grade stuff....just constant, trivial and stuff that no-one else would bother getting steamed up about.

cornsilk Tue 02-Oct-07 10:10:48

My friends have problems with their neighbours. They deal with it by being OTT friendly towards them and it sort of works! They're too shocked to be nasty!

Pacific Tue 02-Oct-07 10:16:49

Cornsilk, we tried that initially. We live in a very small village and had been kind of warned about this couple so we started by being friendly.

Pacific Tue 02-Oct-07 11:23:32

Anyone?

ninedragons Tue 02-Oct-07 13:29:05

Who warned you? I wonder if there are prior complaints about them on file that your estate agent should have told you about.

GooseyLoosey Tue 02-Oct-07 13:39:49

We have neighbours like this (all low grafe niggly stuff) and live in a small village too.

We decided early on to deal with it by being nice to them. This failed spectacularly. The complaints increased in frequency and stupidity and culminated about 2 months ago in the neighbour coming into my back garden and calling me a liar in front of my 2 very young dcs. Dh (who he hadn't seen) asked him to leave and when he would not, dh reacted quite badly and shouted (a lot) at him.

Dh and he made it up but nothing was ever said to me. I resolved never to speak to the man again. He challenged me about not speaking to him (again in front of the dcs) and I explained that as I had nothing nice to say to him I intended to say nothing and would appreciate it if he did the same. He was so shocked, he has not spoken to me since! Hooray!!

The point of this ramble is that I am not sure that being nice always works and can lead to the unreasonable taking the p**s. I think that next time your neighbour says something to you I would consider explaining to them that you feel they are being unreasonable and whilst I would not advocate being rude, I would not go out of my way to be nice.

Try not to let them get to you, I could rant about mine for hours and frankly this is allowing them to spoil things for me in a way that they would love. Tell yourself that they are not worthy of your consideration and ignore them as far as possible.

lorca Tue 02-Oct-07 13:46:54

Did you buy the house? If so, the previous nieghbours should have signed a document saying something like 'we have no problems with our neighbours'. If it turns out that they had the same probs you do, you might be able to get something back from them in court.

taGHOULah Tue 02-Oct-07 13:50:41

I'm wondering what's behind this. It could be that they are just nasty people and that's why the other people moved- in which case they should have declared it and you may be able to take it further.

OR it could be that the people who lived in your house had upset these neighbours in some way and they decided to make sure they didn't let you upset them?

When our neighbours moved in back in 2001 they started off quite friendly but soon were on the doorstep for every little thing. It soon transpired that they thought they could do whatever they liked in their own house- never mind how it affected anyone else- but also felt they could dictate what we did in our house. Meanwhile they piled their rubbish up in front of our house; let their visitors park over our drive; sit outside making a row late at night etc. They have also reported us to Environmental health... They are moving out soon and DH has already mentioned to me about "reinventing ourselves" and complaining to the new neighbours the very first time they do something, rather than be walked on again.

Is it possible this is a similar situation? Have you tried the neighbours from hell website? (www.nfh.org.uk)

Hassled Tue 02-Oct-07 13:57:01

I agree that the pleasant approach is sometimes pointless - we've had low-level complaints/criticisms from our elderly neighbour for years - bizarre things like coming to harangue me for letting the kids play football in our garden (ours, not hers) at a time when they were all in school, plus the time we had the cheek to paint our house without consulting her. It got quite nasty and I really understand how stressful it is. But we now have months of relative peace because we've started arguing back, telling her she's being unreasonable, standing our ground etc. WHat I'm saying is don't feel you have to be polite and compliant all the time, and start documenting every incident so that if you do make any official complaint to the council or whoever, you have some back-up.

CrushWithEyeliner Tue 02-Oct-07 13:59:41

Pacific I feel for you, I would take things further, possibly with the police, and not have any more direct communication with them. The last episode totally crossed the line.

Can you think back and think of any reason why they are harassing you like this?

Ripeberry Tue 02-Oct-07 14:14:41

Start recording ALL incidents with them and if possible with a video camera or microphone.
This is what the police would ask you to do.
Have you ever tried inviting them over for a drink and having a talk?
Get down to the bottom of it, then you can decide if they are just sad, mad or bad or all three!
Get your solicitors on them and get an ASBO on them.
Make friends with your other neighbours and try and get them on your side.
If they are that nasty, they may be doing this kind of thing to lots of other people.
Are these nasty neighbours old or young?
Life is too short to worry about pratts like this.
My best friend's parents live next door to a couple just like this.
They killed their pet dog in the 1980's because it kept barking (put poison in the garden) when they were out a work.
They know it was them as they said they did it.
My poor friend's mother has not been out of her house for almost 20yrs because her vile neighbours would run out of their house as soon as they saw her going out and scream abuse at her, she ended up going on medication for high anxiety.
They are still like this and the problem is that they have an extended familly and there are 3 famillies all around the street and they all have a go.
Pure hell.
Then a miracle happened the 'matryach' of the nasty familly died and now there are no more problems and my friend's mum can finally go out without harrasment and i'm so glad for her.
They couldn't move because it is a council house and they wanted to be near her elderly mother.
But what a waste of a lifetime because of some jealous/mad basta*rds.
Don't let them win, make them move out and i bet the whole village would thank you for it
AB

Pacific Tue 02-Oct-07 14:29:37

Thank you everyone. Been out with a friend, now back on Mumsnet when I should be hoovering.

I really have no idea what precipitated all this. We wondered if there was history with previous neighbours. I don't know if there are problems with the neighbours on the other side as we have only been here a few months.

I am going to write a diary with all the incidents and dates then possibly go to our solicitor or CAB but as crushedwitheyeliner says I think this latest episode crossed the line and we are now at the stage where we need to do something about it.

Pacific Tue 02-Oct-07 14:38:00

ripeberry, your friend's situation sounds so much worse than mine but I can identify with the anxiety. I haven't slept or eaten much and had morning diarrhoea since this incident.

I wish we had called the police at the time, I feel it is too late now but think a solicitor's letter may do the trick

Kaz33 Tue 02-Oct-07 18:26:06

I think you have to fight back otherwise you get walked all over.

We are about to have a confrontation with our neighbours, we let them get away with the first time but now we need to front them out even though it is relatively trivial.

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