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Problems with Neighbours(26 Posts)
I’m sorry this might be long! Also I've name changed for this.
I’m at my wits end with our next door neighbours. DH and I bought a detached house 18m ago. Neighbours seemed generally okay, we had some chit chat but neighbours on the other side didn’t seem to like them very much.
The house needed a full renovation and a couple of months into it, neighbours complained to us about the length of our grass. I personally didn’t think it was too bad but to be a good neighbour we got a gardener to come and cut it for us. Neighbours complained to him when he was there that he was dirtying their windows.
We decided to add an extension to the back of the house, it’s about 4.5m x 4. They were not happy about this and told us so, said they felt they would be overlooked and didn’t want the disruption. We apologised, explained we would be going ahead but that we couldn’t see into their back garden or home at all from ours.
The day the work started, they became very abusive. Shouting insults, about my weight, calling us nazis, other horrible names. We live in a Northern ex industrial town and the female neighbour is from down South and she has been really, really nasty to us about that fact, saying that we’re common, slagging off the town that we live in (that she now lives in, and has done for 50 years, and is married to a native of!), saying how we’re rough, etc.
The building work is now finished but the abuse has carried on. Every now and again they will have a go at us about something trivial, bin not taken in quickly enough, the extension, etc. They also had a go at us about our front garden being a mess, so we cleaned it up and they then shouted at us for making noise while we were doing it (not playing music or anything just chatting between DH and I).
We’ve had two barbeques during the nice weather, we only have a little portable one and had it halfway down our back garden so not near their house and they’ve had a go at us each time. The second time was today and he said to her “where’s that smoke coming from” and she replied “from that MUCK next door”. Then he had a go at us through the hedge.
They’ve also told weird lies, like we caused her to break her arm because she fell down due to the stress caused by us but she was cutting the hedge earlier that day, carrying shopping the next and never had a sling or a pot or anything.
It’s getting to the point where I’m getting scared to go outside because I don’t want to have things like “muck” or “fatty” shouted at me. I know it’s not ideal to have lived next to building works and I do feel bad about that but we really tried to not be over the top with it, our builder was a family member and we did a lot ourselves, we kept the noise to 1-2 days a week apart from a couple of weeks when the extension went up and only worked 9-4, and like I say we are detached so not sharing a wall.
We did go round to speak to them about everything and ask to draw a line under everything, they were quite reasonable about it to be honest and we thought things would get better but the next day they were back at it.
I dont know what to do, I’m at my absolute wits end. Is this something I could report to the police or should we try and send a solicitors letter? Or am I being over dramatic? They’re in their early 80s so I feel awful even considering doing anything like that, but I just want it to stop and don’t know what else to do.
You made the mistake initially by doing what they demanded...
Speak to a pcso imo. 80 or not they sound like twats.
Tell them to fuck off when they complain. You've tried being nice and that doesn't work so the next time she calls you names about fuck off back
Just ignore them when they complain about grass/ bins. The other stuff I'd report them for harassment / abuse
The older you get, the less you adapt to change. You being there is a change for them and changing your building would of likely affected them. You don't know that there isn't an element of dementia that's setting in. If it were me, have to say I'd just ignore and don't engage with it. Just carry on doing as you like, doesn't sound like it's anything other than verbal. TBH if they gave me verbals, I'd be tempted to drown them out with my favourite music in future. Just block them out and carry on.
Just chill out, ignore them, get on and live your life.
I'm in a very similar position OP but nowhere near as bad as the abuse you receive! Our next door neighbour is a 70 year old lady who lives on her own. Shouts things out her window at us and has started shouting things at our DD3, shouts our names through the wall. Apparently she chucked boiling hot water over the fence at the previous owner . (We bought the house from the landlord so he had no idea about the problem)
Everyone tells us the same to just ignore it etc but if it's effecting your mental health / quality of life then I'd move! Life's too short. We are moving once the housing market eventually gets back to normal.
Oh gosh @Dotdotlineline that sounds awful, the boiling water incident sounds very scary! Luckily ours haven't done anything physical but it is really awful isn't it?
I really don't want to have to move though, I love this house so much and we've renovated it to just how we want it. I'd be gutted to move, I really hope it doesn't come to that.
"Oh do shut up you old bint"
She calls you a fatty so ageism is fair game imo.
They can only make your lives miserable if you let them. Realistically, if it was a young family with unruly kids and a burly bloke you would have more unpredictable behaviour. I read a thread here recently where the OPs house was egged by kid neighbours at the smallest hint of a slight against the family. So in many respects, you can handle this.
Being calm and reasonable hasn't worked. Your choices are ignore, or bite back with the insults. I'd go for a mixture of both.
Film them when they name-call and get advice from a solicitor. It's not on to be verbally abused in your own garden.
Get advice about whether any dispute would end up having to be declared if you did decide to sell up before setting anything in motion, tho.
Stick with it, at 80 they're not going to be around forever...
There is that, you could just hunker down and prepare your dancing shoes for when they croak .
I'd say film them too. Keep a diary, gather evidence.
In parallel, remember you can only control what's in your control and your own actions. Re-read your post, break it down and look at the things that you found yourselves manipulated into. What would the consequences have been of going on your own considerate way?
You know the old saying give someone an inch and they'll take a mile. Could this be relevant? Each time you give in a little to unreasonable demands, do you fuel their self righteous belief, aggression and abuse?
Tell them to go fuck themselves sideways.
As tempting as it may be, don't shout abuse back. Keep a written record (date, time, what was said, the impact it had on you e.g. you had to go back into the house to get away from them shouting at you) of every single incident that happens and, as someone else has suggested, try to film a few incidents.
Write a polite letter to your neighbours (keep a copy for yourself), referencing past behaviour and requesting that it must stop immediately. Tell them you will be keeping a record of everything that happens from this point on and, if the abuse continues, you will be forced to take the matter further, by involving the police.
It doesn't matter how old they are or what health issues they may or may not have; you shouldn't have to put up with their abuse.
How did you hear what they were saying? How close are your houses?
Do not engage.
Film them, pass to police, slap it on YouTube, pass to the papers.
But do NOT engage.
They sound like oxygen thieves.
CCTV that records sound.
Plus a diary of all issues that arise with the weirdos.
Then police. Surely it’s a breach of the peace if they make a shouty racket and call you names. Especially a nazi and fat. Those are dreadful things to say.
Don’t engage op, as hard as it is you just need to keep a dignified silence. Nod politely and move on. Do live your life though.
The reason you can’t engage sadly is it could escalate to a level that makes it unbearable. If you raise a formal complaint of any type then you need to declare a neighbour dispute if you sell.
Just try to not engage with them but still live your life and hopefully they will get tired of it.
I feel your pain. We are planning to convert our loft, and our elderly neighbours are making things quite difficult. Sometimes think that being incredibly ‘nice’ can throw people off. They want a reaction - so give them one that they’d least expect. Fire back any negative with positive ‘niceness’. Drop round some flowers, cakes etc. But don’t give them the impression that you are bothered, and cut the grass when YOU think it needs cutting - not them.
I think your best option is to ignore - with a follow up of over polite words.
I have similar neighbours over the bottom on my garden. They are rude to me, he came round early on a couple of mornings taking spare pieces of leftover wood. I wanted some of them for another project but if they had asked they could have had most. As it was I got them back and burned what I didn't need.
I always greet them cheerily. 'Oh did I?' or 'Oh, soorrrryyyy' to any complaints and move away.
I can't say it doesn't piss me off because it does - but I am not giving them the power to upset or hurt me. AND I definitely am not moving
I think the CCTV is a good idea. Some people are just horrible, old people in particular and I don't believe it's necessarily down to the onset of dementia.
I'd just bite back fairly politely the next time they kick off and refuse to do whatever it is they're moaning about, e.g., yes we'll put tidying the front garden on the to do list. Goodness me we were warned about you, but we didn't expect you to be as horrible as you actually are (tinkly laugh). Are you always so miserable or have we caught you on a bad day.
You could go fairly full bore and tell them to get a life instead of constantly bitching and moaning about yours whilst they wait to die, that one worked excellently for me when I was in my 20's and had a block of sheltered flats behind my house and a few of them gave me a hard time. They were all OK after that even the really miserable old man who was the main protagonist. It seemed standing up for myself/establishing boundaries was what was needed.
Hopefully you won't need to start gathering CCTV evidence for harassment, but you never know... have you spoken to your neighbours the other side to see why they're now fans.
I would film them and when they ask what you're doing say something like 'taking evidence for my lawyer/the police'
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