What types of "nuisance" do the housing department deal with?
- Loud music
- Noisy pets
- Ball games
- Car repairs
- Neighbour dispute
Caused by or affecting Council Tenants
What can I do?
The Council believes where it is practical that the complainant should make the initial approach to the offending neighbour. Our aim is to encourage tenants to resolve their problems amicably between themselves without using a third party as this could make the problem worse. Often people are not aware that their actions are causing a nuisance to their neighbours and a quiet word may resolve the problem. However, the Council recognises that there may be some exceptions to this depending on the circumstances of the case.
How can the housing team help?
If you have made an initial approach to your neighbour and there is no improvement then you should contact your Housing Officer. Your Housing Officer will act on a complaint made in writing, over the telephone or at the Council Offices. In some instances a form may be issued to you for completion so that we can be quite clear about the nature of the complaint. This should be returned as soon as possible.
What happens next?
On receipt of a complaint you will be asked to record details of further incidences over a two week period. If there is evidence of nuisance a letter will be sent to your neighbour. If further complaints are received the case will be reassessed and you will be kept informed of decisions made.
The emphasis of our actions at this stage will be advisory and we will attempt to get co-operation from other parties so that the nuisance is cured or reduced. Experience demonstrates that problems of this nature are more likely to be resolved by discussion between neighbours rather than by being unnecessarily confrontational. In very sensitive cases we may commence legal action at an early stage.
In most cases this low-key intervention will lead to an improvement in the situation. However, in a small number of cases there will be no improvement or things will get worse. If necessary the Housing Department will take stronger measures that might involve legal action.
If legal action is to be taken it is necessary to have evidence upon which to base a case and you may be asked to provide further information. This might involve you completing diary sheets for a period of several weeks in order to demonstrate the severity and frequencies of the problems. We would also require similar information from a number of neighbours affected by the nuisance.
If this action is required then it will necessitate complainants continuing to keep diary sheets and possibly giving evidence in Court. Legal action could result in possession proceedings or obtaining an injunction against the alleged perpetrator.
Throughout this process you will be kept informed by your Housing Officer.
Can Housing resolve all complaints?
There are many types of nuisance complaint and some are easier, eg. Noise from radios and stereos, to deal with than others eg. Noise of children running/playing around inside their home. When dealing with complaints between two parties it is necessary at all times for the Housing Department to be impartial and unbiased in our actions, particularly when the main cause of these complaints can be a clash of lifestyles and noise attributed to everyday living. The reaction and attitudes of all parties involved will therefore be taken into account.
In resolving any dispute the Council will endeavour to use a wide range of actions and may not necessarily have to resort to legal action. These include liaison with other agencies, ie. Police, Social Services and other Departments, such as Regulatory Services who can also take action against the offending neighbour. We may undertake joint visits or arrange meetings between parties. In certain cases we can employ the services of a professional mediation service. In many Councils and Housing Associations across the country, mediation has produced solutions without the need for legal action and the resulting breakdown of neighbour relationships that is very often the case.