Parking Issues & Problems: Don’t Block Thy Neighbours Parking

parkingArticle Covers:

– Common Parking Problems

– What the Highway Code Says

Parking Issues: Don’t Block Thy Neighbours Parking

I am writing this from both sides of the coin so to speak. The first is from the point of view where we would like to be respected by our driving neighbours and the second is how we should also respect each other!

Every home seems to have a car thesedays and indeed many homes have more than one car. More cars but the same amount of room to park can often spell problems for people with neighbours. For example you may have 2 cars and your neighbour also has two vehicles – if you are both lucky enough to have off road parking, but not lucky enough to fit more than one car each on your respective driveway space, this can cause friction and NFH issues.

If you have no off road parking the problem can intensify. At the NFHiB Forum we have many members who experience parking issues and vehicle problems associated with a Neighbour From Hell.

Everyone is allowed to park on the highway as long as the vehicle is taxed etc, and ensuring the Highway Code is followed, so no parking on double yellows please!

Parking outside someone’s home that is not yours can cause a great deal of distress which you may not be aware of. No one has an automatic right to park outside their own homes if parking on the street, but manners often say otherwise and neighbours often respect each others unwritten or even unspoken agreements to respect parking areas. If we could all park outside our own homes it would be great but it’s not always possible. Visitors and newer people to the street may not realise that you like to park outside your home.

Please do not over react to this; maybe the vehicle parker does not realise that this bothers you, have a friendly word, point out that due to security you like to park outside your own home.

And in the same way if you are able to park outside your home rather than your neighbours, then please do.

Many Neighbour conflicts can be avoided through simple courtesy and communication.

Some people object to vehicles being parked directly outside windows, well it’s a fair point – I wouldn’t want to look at the back end of a van or car from my home! Especially if it wasn’t mine!

If you have no alternative but to park outside someone else’s home please think about how you could do it with out causing the other person stress, can you have a quiet word with them and apologise in advance? Can you pop a note through the letterbox to explain?

Can you park so the most light can get into their house?

A friend of mine has a problem with a white van parked directly outside her window, if the driver took two minutes prior thought, he could park so the bonnet is outside her window rather than the boot of the van which blocks out a lot of light. This means all she sees all day is a big white lump!

So have a think, would someone parking like that affect you?

Driveways are great as long as you don’t have to share that is! Boundary issues and property maintenance arguments may rear their head.

Some neighbours have disputes about how much drive is theirs; please check your house deeds to find out where your driveway boundaries are.

Have respect for each other with this, work together. Keep your driveway clean and accessible for yourself, having a tidy shared driveway will prevent your neighbour from moaning about it. The less ammunition you give your neighbour the better.

But what about the neighbour who insists on parking in front of your driveway?!

Technically the Highway Code is being broken.

The Highway Code

“DO NOT PARK in front of an entrance to a property” – Highway Code point 217

First things first, please do not over react. I know the feeling, you are running late for work, and you need to get to that all important appointment and next door have parked in front of your drive so you can get out.

So take a deep breath and knock on your Neighbours door and politely ask them to move their car.

If your neighbours are decent they will move their car and ensure they don’t park there again!

But maybe they are not decent neighbours?!

So what do you do? Well you could write them a letter and point out they are breaking the highway code, if that doesn’t work then maybe a quiet word with the local police officer or traffic warden will do the trick.

Really, you want to try and sort this situation out before it escalates too much and to something that can’t be fixed.

There are no easy answers here I am afraid; if you feel you can’t talk to your neighbours please consider mediation services, your local council or CAB will be able to point you in the right direction.

The main points to remember are:

Be polite at all times with your neighbour, getting irate will not improve the situation and may make your neighbour less inclined to see it your way.

Follow the Highway Code, just because your neighbour does not follow it does not mean you should sink to their level, maybe you can lead by good example!

Drive and park as you would expect others to drive and park….and that’s in the good way not the bad way!

Point 216: You MUST NOT park in parking spaces reserved for specific users, such as Orange Badge holders or residents, unless entitled to do so. Law RTRA sects 5 & 8.

Point 217: DO NOT park your vehicle or trailer on the road where it would endanger, inconvenience or obstruct pedestrians or other road users. For example, do not stop:

  • Near a school entrance
  • Anywhere you would prevent access for Emergency Services
  • At or near a bus stop or taxi rank
  • On the approach to a level crossing
  • Opposite or within 10 metres (32 feet) of a junction, except in an authorised parking space
  • Near the brow of a hill or hump bridge
  • Opposite a traffic island or (if this would cause an obstruction) another parked vehicle
  • Where you would force other traffic to enter a tram lane
  • Where the kerb has been lowered to help wheelchair users
  • In front of an entrance to a property
  • On a bend

Point 218: DO NOT park partially or wholly on the pavement unless signs permit it. Parking on the pavement can obstruct and seriously inconvenience pedestrians, people in wheelchairs, the visually impaired and people with prams or pushchairs.

More Highway Code Information:

Many of the rules in the Code are legal requirements, and if you disobey these rules you are committing a criminal offence. You may be fined, given penalty points on your licence or be disqualified from driving. In the most serious cases you may be sent to prison. Such rules are identified by the use of the words MUST / MUST NOT. In addition the rule includes an abbreviated reference to the legislation which creates the offence.

Although failure to comply with the other rules of the Code will not, it itself, cause a person to be prosecuted, The Highway Code may be used in evidence in any court proceedings under Traffic Acts to establish liability.

Knowing and applying the rules contained in The Highway Code could significantly reduce road accident casualties. Cutting the number of deaths and injuries that occur on our roads every day is a responsibility we all share. The Highway Code can help us discharge that responsibility.

Taken from the Highway Code Website (no longer active – 2015).

Article last updated February 2004.

Noisy Neighbours & Noise Issues

noisyArticle Covers:

– Noise from your Neighbour
– What you can do
– Legislation and Options in dealing with and managing noise

Introduction

We’ve split this help sheet up into different sections to make it easier for you to read as it’s quite an extensive subject. Noise is a nuisance in many ways!

The content has been kept down to earth and readable as far as possible, but remember there are some laws and legislation to take into account here so it may get a little more detailed in places. We think you’ll find our comprehensive guide useful and practical though.

Noise from your Neighbour

When you’ve got a neighbour who makes a lot of noise it’s no joke, noise can intrude into every area of your life and can literally assault you with its un-consenting effects.

Excessive noise affects your quality of life, it makes you jumpy, it makes you irritable, and it can prevent you from sleeping and cause many stressful side effects.

Noise has many forms – for most people who are living next door to a neighbour from hell, it’ll be the boom boom boom of the heavy stereo music, the shouting and conversations they can maybe hear from their neighbours, the banging, crashing, DIY noise, car noise, car/house alarms, noise from parties and other gatherings, wooden floors, the list can go on and on.

Even houses and homes that have good insulating properties are often affected by modern noise – modern sound making equipment such as amplifiers and DVD surround-sound systems often cut right through good insulation that would normally stop normal every day sounds. Night time noise making and nuisance is a whole different ball game – it echoes, carries more and can keep you or others in your area awake.

Within it’s own right it is not an instant offence to create high levels of noise and remember that there is unfortunately no set level at which noise then becomes a ‘statutory nuisance’.

Talk to your Neighbour

It may be an obvious starting point, but many complaints are often made formally in the first instance to individual Local Authority Environmental Health Departments or straight to a landlord of the property next door where it’s possible you could resolve things informally.

We recommend that you always approach your neighbour first to let them know they are making noise that is disturbing you.

Be courteous and be polite even if you’re very angry that you’ve been kept awake for the 5th night running or your enjoyment of your home is being regularly spoilt by the noise from next door. There could be a good chance your neighbour may not even be aware that the noise they are making could be disturbing you.

Hopefully, pointing this out to your neighbour may solve the problem and ultimately prevent it from spiraling even more out of control. Your neighbour could feel extremely guilty about their noise making and genuinely not have realised what they were doing has been causing you disturbance. Fingers crossed this works, it is one of the best solutions in theory.

Plan what you need to say first, take some written notes and examples of their noise nuisances with you when you call on your neighbour so you don’t forget what you want to say. You could be a bit nervous about approaching them, especially if they are unknown to you, are new to the neighbourhood, or you’ve had little prior contact with them, so prepare and be as confident as you can.

Try to avoid going round to your neighbour to complain about the noise when it’s actually happening. Chances are if someone has been drinking or partying heavily, they’re not going to want to talk to you. You may be seen by your neighbour as simply trying to stop their enjoyment, when in reality that certainly isn’t the case. So go around when you know they are home, when it’s quiet and always plan your approach beforehand.

My Neighbour Won’t Listen

OK, so what if your neighbour isn’t interested? At Neighbours From Hell in Britain and on our forum community, we often hear this.

Sometimes Neighbours simply aren’t interested in what you have to say and they persist in their noise making. They selfishly continue and sometimes in the knowledge that what noise they are causing is very much troubling you.

Write A Letter: To your neighbours if you can, this can be a good option.

We have a free template letter that can help guide you and base your letter upon, which is free to use and alter if you like. Download below:

First Letter to Neighbours

It can help you logically list out your complaints and enable you to be factual. Writing a letter to next door may sound formal, but it’s an effective communication method when your neighbours are unwilling to listen to you verbally or even let you approach the subject with them at all. It’s also a good method if you really don’t want to approach them in person as we’ve previously mentioned.

Letters also serve as good proof that you have brought the matter to the attention of your neighbour; you’re letting them know there’s a problem, what it is and what you’d like them to do about it. Remember too if you take your complaint formally (say by complaining to your Local Authority or neighbours Housing Association etc), chances are you’ll be asked for proof you’ve first tried to tackle the problem yourself. This is the evidence you need and in many cases unless you can say, ‘yes, I’ve tried to sort this out with my neighbour first before coming to you’, an organisation or authority may even refuse to become initially involved with your complaint until you make the first move.

Safety is paramount

It may be obvious to mention your safety, but it’s worth doing so. Often people who are living with neighbour noise and nuisance are subject to threats of intimidation, violence, anti-social behaviour and general bullying.

Don’t ever approach your neighbour in circumstances where you feel threatened or uneasy and simply don’t go at all if there’s another option or if you can avoid it. Walk away in situations where you feel or are threatened if possible. Report it to the police as soon as you can afterwards, you may be able to instigate anti-social behaviour restrictions via the police/local authority and after all, your neighbour is not above the law.

If you’re in any doubt always dial 999 for Police Help and support.

Here’s our 3 Major Points of Advice if you need to tackle a neighbour who could pose a threat to your safety in any way:

  1. Don’t go alone wherever possible. Take a friend, relative, partner or other neighbour with you. They can act as a witness if the worst happens and can help you in other ways where needed.
  2. Take a mobile ‘phone with you. It’s easy to put one in your pocket concealed away, but accessible in case you need it.
  3. Tell someone where you’re going, how long you’ll be and ask them to take action you agree on if you’re not back before a certain time has elapsed.

Record Logs & Mediation

Start noting down all the noise disturbances.

It’s vital to do this if you haven’t started already. It provides a picture of what’s happening from your neighbours that’s disturbing you. Remember, small instances and occurrences of noise nuisance add up.

You can use our Log to use for Noise Disturbances from Neighbours to record noise nuisance. It’s very important that you put when the noise started and when it stopped, the nature of the noise (e.g. music, dog barking) and it’s also essential to list how the noise affected you. This could be because you were kept awake until 4am, couldn’t hear your own TV over the neighbour noise, made you feel physically sick and tired, and so on.

These logs are also your evidence – keep a photocopy of them or the originals before you hand them to someone else for their records.

Can I record the noise myself?

Remember too – although you can record the noise from your neighbour yourself, it may not be admissible evidence. If Local Authorities ask you to record noise from your neighbour it will be on a properly calibrated and ‘time stamped’ recording device which is officially authorised for use in such purposes. These pieces of equipment are very sensitive and will fully pick up all sounds.

Mediation

Mediation is sometimes an option people overlook. We hear comments such as ‘OK, why should I try mediation when it’s not my fault?’. Fair enough, it may not be your fault – after all, you’ve not asked to be disturbed by your neighbour’s noise, why should you sit down and discuss it with your neighbour and a mediation group when you haven’t caused it? It’s a normal reaction – but be proactive, show your neighbour you can meet them halfway and at the end of the day if the outcome gives you a higher quality of life it is worth it.

Mediation representatives who are trained, will listen to both your side of things and the views of your neighbour – this can be done independently or in a meeting where you are all present. The mediator will attempt to reach an objective and successful compromise and plan of action where needed that suits both you and your neighbour.

Different mediation services have different approaches and will offer different services. You can also ring Mediation UK on Tel: 0117-9046661 for details of mediation services in your area.

For mediation to be ultimately successful, it does of course require the co-operation of both you and your noisy neighbours.

Formal Action & Taking your own action

I’ve tried all of this, I want to take formal action

Sadly, this is a very regular occurrence. You’ve tried with your neighbour, talked with them maybe, written to them and yet they still persist in making noise that they are aware disturbs you and prevents you from enjoying your own home.

Your next step is to complain formally to your local authority and the most often used way is by complaining directly to your local authority Environmental Health Department about the noise you’re experiencing.

Your Local Authority (Council) has a duty to perform an investigation when they receive complaints about noise from any form of location. So whether you live next door to a pub or club, a noisy family or neighbour, have noisy machinery/vehicles and equipment in the street, a factory or any form of business close by, your local authority are obliged to investigate fully.

Legislation is under sections 80 and 81 within the Environmental Protection Act of 1990 (as amended by the Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act 1993) and your Local Authority will have a responsibility to look into and deal with any noise sources that are considered to be a statutory nuisance.

Your Local Authority will have at its disposal different capabilities and resources in place that they can use to deal with and investigate neighbour and anti-social behaviour problems.

Look in your local telephone directory to find the number of your local authority (council). You should be visited or contacted for more information and then be advised of your council’s plan of action and policies in cases of complaints about noise.

Chances are you will be visited at home to discuss the matter and the Environmental Health Officer will explain your rights and what you can and can’t expect from the local authority. Your neighbour will likely then be informed (either in writing or by a visit from the EHO, or perhaps both) by the Local Authority that they have received a complaint of noise nuisance.

They will outline to your neighbour what is expected from them and will be asked to be more considerate and take action to reduce their noise. They should also be informed of the legal position and the penalties for persistently creating noise that is disturbing.

Your local authority should keep your identity confidential – the originator of the complaint (e.g. you) will not be made available to your neighbour. Check this out with your Environmental Health Officer (EHO) for your peace of mind as you could be worried about unwanted repercussions via your neighbour after you have complained formally.

Your EHO will explain what steps can be taken after the initial contact with your neighbour and especially if this fails to remedy the problem. They may decide to install sound recording equipment into your home to monitor the noise, ask you to complete and continue with noise recording log sheets and they could also witness the noise in person within your home.

Before any action is taken, the Local Authority has to inform your neighbour of what could happen (e.g. they could be recorded/monitored) if they continue to pose a nuisance to you – this is under legislation from the Human Rights Act 1998. If this is not done, however ironic this can and probably will feel to you, your neighbour’s human rights will not have been upheld!

Some Local Authorities operate out of hours noise teams and if you are suffering noise during the night time hours, they can visit you and witness the disturbance first hand. Again this service varies throughout the country, ask what’s available to you.

Taking your own action

If for whatever reason your Local Authority cannot intervene further on your behalf or you have reasons not to initially involve them, you are entitled to take and instigate your own action through the Magistrates court against your neighbour or the source of the noise nuisance.

You can complain under Section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 directly to the courts about a noise problem. You will need to convince without doubt, to the courts that the noise problem you are experiencing constitutes a statutory nuisance.

If this route is for you and you are convinced to take action under Section 82 of the EPA 1990, you are required to give a minimum of three days notice in writing to the person who is responsible for the noise you are taking action over. In that written record you are required to list details of your complaint and you must ensure this is delivered via hand or recorded delivery post, dated and that you keep a copy.

The Magistrates Court will then work with you and inform you of further procedures and expectations and will also decide if a summons can be issued.

We would strongly advise you to take detailed and further professional advice before embarking on this option either from your Local Authority, the Magistrates Court or a qualified legal professional. This is a more complicated route for individuals involved in making noise orientated complaints.

Also be aware that you will be liable for all costs relating to taking your own action through this route. You need to check this out fully in advance with the relevant professionals to avoid running up costly bills.

You will not be able to gain legal representation for a case of this type through the legal aid scheme but it’s possible you could be eligible financially within the ‘Legal Help’ scheme which could provide free or partly assisted legal advice/assistance. Again it’s very important you ask the Court or your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau for more advice, help and information.

Civil Action, Renting, Abatement Notices

A quick note on Civil Action

It is possible that you could instigate a civil action concerning noise nuisance at common law and attempt to get an injunction to restrain the perpetrator from continuing with the source(s) of the noise nuisance. You could also issue a claim for loss/damages in place of this action or alongside it.

Again, take professional advice from a qualified legal professional before embarking on this route.

My neighbour rents their property

If you can get to see a copy of your neighbour’s tenancy agreement it could be worth it.

It’s possible there could be a clause within the contract/agreement for their tenancy that prohibits your noisy neighbour from making higher levels of noise in between certain hours (11pm – 7am for example) or something similar. So, in doing so they could be risking or breaking their tenancy agreement. You are not entitled to know about or see a copy of your neighbours tenancy agreement, but it is possible their landlord, especially a private landlord may divulge or show you this information. They may refuse however on the grounds that your neighbours privacy and confidentiality could be breached.

All different types of landlords – whether this is the council, the local housing association or private landlords have measures where they can instigate appropriate action against a tenant who is wilfully and regularly in breach of their tenancy agreement. Injunctions can be put into place (very effective measures to prevent and reduce nuisance from next door, but at the same time allowing people to retain tenancy in their homes). If the landlords originate from within a housing association or local authority, they are then able to ask a court to put a ‘power of arrest’ into this kind of injunction which is enforceable if there are any instances of violence, abuse, threatened violence or actual violent behaviour.

Ultimately, your neighbour in these circumstances can face eviction in the cases of people who consistently persist in making their neighbours and community’s lives a miserable existence and flaunt the conditions of injunction enforcement’s.

Abatement Notices

Like you’ve tried to do right at the beginning, your Environmental health Department will want to try and remedy your neighbour problem informally – after all it could be a lot quicker, more effective and dare we say it, cheaper and use less resources!

If this hasn’t been possible and your Local Authority is satisfied that the noise you’re experiencing does constitute a ‘statutory nuisance’ they are required to serve an Abatement Notice on your neighbour or the person responsible for the source of the noise. There are different notice requests within an abatement notice and your neighbour or other individual (owner/occupier of a property/business or source of the problem) could be asked to totally stop all noise or they may be restricted to making noise at certain times only (e.g. say only during the daylight hours and not after 11pm).

When an abatement notice is served on a person, they have the right to appeal against this within 21 days of it being initially presented.

A business owner for example could argue against such a notice in court and detail that they have tried through the best possible means (or the ‘best practicable means’) to prevent or reduce noise nuisance and have been restricted through technical or other difficulties.

What happens if my neighbour breaks an abatement notice?

When an abatement notice that has been served on your neighbour fails and without a specific reason or explanation from them, they have committed an offence. In these cases the Magistrates Court can enforce and fine your neighbour up to £5,000 (this is for a neighbour in a ‘domestic’ home or who has a private vehicle which is the source of the nuisance). After the offence and conviction by the magistrate’s courts, if your neighbour persists in causing more disturbance they can receive a further fine of up to £500 a day for doing so each day it occurs.

If the noise nuisance originates from business, trade or industrial premises or property, the original fine can be up to £20,000.

Your Local Authority has the power to force an entry into properties so that they can stop and prevent a noise nuisance (for example to seize music making equipment, disconnect faulty burglar alarms and so on). Other machinery, different vehicles that are the cause of the statutory nuisance can also be removed.

London Residents, ASBO Info

A special note: If you live in London

Within London, Local Authorities have a discretionary and special capability to actively and swiftly manage burglar alarms that sound/ring for more than a maximum of 1 hour.

Ask your Local Authority in this instance if it actively uses these special powers. If so, all alarm sounding systems in the area concerned are required to include a 20 minute ‘cut-out device’. If they don’t incorporate such a device your Local Authority can then enforce their special powers to enter into any premises so that they may silence and deactivate any alarm where needed. If this happens a warrant must be obtained to enter in advance and your Local Authority Officer is always acting within the presence of a local police officer.

Anti-Social Behaviour Orders

ASBO’s can be very effective and relevant in your noisy neighbour situation as with noise often comes many different forms of unwanted, intrusive anti-social behaviours.

Neighbours From Hell in Britain have a help sheet about ASBO’s and ABC’s which you can read to give you a really good overview of what they are and what’s available.

Noise Law and Other Legislation/Contacts

Bylaws

In your area, the Local Authority may have a ‘bylaw’ which can control some sources of noise. Approval for bylaws has been gained for such things as street noise, parks/recreation areas and noise sources covered could also include such things as musical instrument playing, singing, radios/stereo use. Your best bet is to ask your Local Authority what, if any of these bylaws may apply in your area.

Loudspeaker Noise in Streets

From section 62 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974, your Local Authority has the power to manage any loudspeaker use in the street. Loudspeaker use in streets to advertise any form of entertainment or business is banned. For other uses this is imposed by a restriction between the hours of 8am and 9pm only.

A Local Authority can give consent to loudspeaker use in streets for the purposes of non-advertising outside the hours of 8am – 9pm, but in specific circumstances and taking due consideration of any effects this may have in the local areas.

Building and Construction Sites

These sites can be pretty noisy, especially if something is occurring near you and all days of the week. Even if it’s not a regular occurrence this kind of noise can literally be deafening.

Your local council has authorities under section 60 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 to list and details the ways in which work has to be carried out and conducted, ask them for more help and information.

Noise Act 1996

The Noise Act 1996 includes capabilities to cover night-time noise nuisances and offences as well as the powers to remove noise making technology (e.g. your neighbours hi-hi system).

Within the act is a standard against which night time noise being caused from a domestic property (your neighbour for instance) can be assessed and investigated. There are penalties within the act such as the £100 fixed penalty notice and where a Local Authority is using these powers they have to declare so by the use of advertisements during a minimum period of 2 months prior to such use.

Car and Vehicle Noise

Noisy vehicles can be extremely irritating, especially when you’re living on or nearby a main road. Some kinds of vehicle noise could be classified as offences under Road Traffic Law (car horn noise for example).

For enquiries that are general concerning noise from specific vehicles, not traffic, you can contact –

Department for Transport
Local Government and the Regions
Transport Environment and Taxation Division
2/03 Great Minster House
76 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DR.

Tel: 020 7944 2063
Fax: 020 7944 2069

Environmental Information Access

Under the Environmental Information Regulations of 1992 individuals have rights to gain information of an environmental nature which is help by a public body (for example your Local Authority). Ask your local council for more information.

Air Traffic Noise

Can be just as excessive and disturbing, especially if you live near or under a flight path which is being used for domestic or military purposes.

For more information about noise policies on aircraft noise, you should contact –

Department for Transport
Local Government and the Regions
Aviation Environment Division
2/24 Great Minster House
76 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DR.
Tel: 020 7944 5494
Fax: 020 7944 2191

Complaints concerning noisy aircraft should be made to the following numbers directly –

Heathrow Airport: Freephone 0800 344844

Gatwick Airport: Freephone 0800 393070

Stansted Airport: Freephone 0800 243788

In any other places a complaint should be made directly the operators of the aircraft or the owners of the aerodrome.

If you’re suffering with noise from military aircraft, you should contact –

Ministry of Defence
Director Air Staff 4b (Sec) Room 8249
Main Building
Whitehall
London
SW1A 2HB
Tel No: 0207 218 6020

Other Contacts for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland:

Separate information is provided for those residents living in NI, Scotland or Wales by The Scottish Executive, the National Assembly for Wales and the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland.

Details are –

The Scottish Executive
Air Climate and Engineering Unit
Victoria Quay
Edinburgh EH6 6QQ
Tel No: 0131 244 0393
Fax No: 0131 244 0211

National Assembly for Wales
Air Quality and Industrial Pollution Policy Branch
Cathays Park
Cardiff CF1 3NQ
Tel No: 02920 823473
Fax No: 02920 823658

Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland
Air and Local Environmental Quality Branch
River House
48 High Street
Belfast BT1 2DR
Tel: 028 9054 7719
Fax: 028 9025 7300

More Help and Advice?

Remember: That if you are currently selling your property or plan to in the future, all disputes with your neighbour that have been formally reported and/or acted upon need to be declared to potential or actual buyers (by use of the ‘SPIF’ – more info on the SPIF is available on the NFHiB Forum). If you don’t do this, you could be legally challenged or at worst, sued!

When a dispute has been recorded or put down in writing, or where complaints to an authority (council) have been made, then this needs to be informed to any potential buyers of your property. Ask your solicitor for more information about this.

You can also join the forum community to ask for more help and information – it’s very busy and has a lot of good information, we currently thousands of registered members.

This article last revised: 29th June 2003

Laminate Flooring

laminate_flooringHave a laminate noise issue or thinking of laying laminate flooring?

Laminate flooring looks nice and is often a highly sought after and modernly available option. It’s easy to clean and is a joy to watch as your dog slides and begins skidding across the floor to reach the post man!

However, laminate flooring can also cause unnecessary noise and distress to neighbours within many kinds of properties, which in turn can negatively impact on overall quality of life.

If you are living in a detached property there is often no problem with laminate or real wood flooring as your neighbours will hopefully be far enough away not to be disturbed. But have you thought about how your neighbours may be affected if you’re living in an attached property or even more so if you live in a flat or apartment block?

The type of flooring you have directly influences the way noise can be carried in your home, especially if it is ill fitted or has a thin underlay in place. If wooden or laminate flooring is in an upstairs location every ‘thundering’ foot fall can be heard by neighbouring properties.

Those who suffer with laminate flooring noise problems might often have cause to comment on noise nuisance from the floors. Indeed, many NFHiB members who live with this kind of flooring noise problem have often commented using such phrases as:

“Every time they move it sounds like a herd of elephants!”

“Even at night I can hear them walking to the toilet and they have told me they wear slippers.”

“You should hear her when she wears heels. The sound goes right through me; I dread it when they are due home from work.”

These are just some examples of comments that those who live with laminate flooring issues have made.

So, is there a law?

Well of course the noise laws are in existence, but there is also that lovely little ‘get out of jail’ card for those neighbours who just don’t care and say “surely, it is normal daily living noise?!”

Wait though, there’s more!

Under the Housing Act 2004, living in contact with an unusually loud or continuous noise inside a dwelling or within its cartilage is deemed to be a threat to the physical and mental health of the occupants.

Laminate flooring and wooden flooring should be laid only after considerable thought has gone into the decision and all other available options have been carefully examined.

Before you lay such a flooring type please ask yourself certain questions first:

  • Is the room where I will be laying the laminate flooring attached to a neighbour’s party/adjoining wall?
  • Is the flooring above a neighbour and is it likely to cause an annoyance or nuisance?
  • Are there any gaps I need to fill between the floor boards and the skirting boards before I lay any flooring? (Reduces noise nuisance).
  • What type of underlay will I be using?
  • Is wooden flooring the best option or would carpet be a better solution?

Before laying a laminate floor that is a finally decided route of choice or necessity, carefully take time to prepare first in order to minimise any resulting and potential impact of the flooring to your neighbours.

Talk to your neighbours and let them know you will be doing some work to your home and there might be some noise while you are doing it, this is called courtesy!

  • Check your floor. Are there gaps between the skirting boards and the pre-existing floor boards? If yes then please deal with these first, a smallest gap or crack can carry sound into your neighbour’s home. Strangely enough if you follow these steps you can also help to stop things like tobacco smoke and other smells or vapours from entering your neighbours property.
  • Visit the local DIY store and purchase some “flexible caulking”, then squeeze this into any gaps or cracks with a “gun” along the base of all skirting boards. It will stop a small percentage of noise from impregnating your neighbour’s property.

If your floorboards squeak, this is the time to resolve the issue.

Some people believe that the cheapest and most simple solution to prevent any ‘squeak’ is to sprinkle talcum powder or corn flour into the gaps between floor boards. The fine powder somehow acts as a “dry lubricant” and eases friction between the flat boards, thus softening any squeaks.

Please always choose the right type of underlay! This is the biggest cause of complaints concerning laminate floors. If underlay is incorrectly laid, poorly fitted or of insufficient quality and thickness, it can lead to noisy flooring. The cheapest solution is not always the best and paying a little more to be a polite neighbour is well worth the additional expense.

Thicker underlay will cause your home to be more energy efficient and also directly result in happier neighbours all round!

Not every property is allowed to have laminate or wooden flooring so beware and check this first if in any doubt! Council properties and Housing Associations will have guidelines concerning the type of works you may undertake to their buildings and the types of floors that can be laid.

Don’t break the rules and always read your tenancy conditions first. If you break a tenancy agreement you could find yourself with no floor, let alone a laminate one!

Whilst Laminate floors are a joy to some but a nightmare for others, please always think before you lay this type of flooring to hopefully prevent any future potential neighbour disputes or problems.

Ice Cream Vans: Noise Nuisance

icecreamAre you being bothered by noisy Ice Cream Vans?

It’s inevitable really. As summer and the longer, warmer months approach, more and more ice-cream van noise seems to be present in our local communities and streets.

Noise from ice-cream vans is unwanted, intrusive and pollutes the environment in which we live in.

Ice-Cream may be nice, but the noise it creates can be decidedly distasteful!

So, if an Ice-Cream Van is whipping up a noise frenzy near you, read on to see what you can do.

What can you do about Noise Pollution from Ice Cream Vans and their noisy chimes?

In some specific instances, where ice-cream vans sound their chimes, this may result in a ‘statutory nuisance’. But more often than not, that annoying ice-cream van will move around your area and chime in different locations – therefore, this could be less likely.

Under Section 62 within the ‘Control of Pollution Act, 1974’ action may be taken if ice-cream van chimes are sounding after 7pm in the night time, or before 12pm (Midday), or if they are sounded at anytime as to cause an annoyance.

The Law

What does the law say on the matter of ice-cream van chimes then?

The ‘Code of Practice on Noise from Ice Cream Van Chimes’ (1982), states it’s an offence to sound chimes ‘so as to cause annoyance’.

The legislation also says this about Ice Cream Van Chimes:

  • Chimes should be sounded for no longer than 4 second bursts at a time – an automatic cut out device should be used.
  • Chimes should not be used more often than once in every 3 minutes.
  • They cannot be sounded when a vehicle is stationary (and to be properly used should only be audible when a vehicle is approaching a selling area or point).
  • Chimes cannot be used when they are in sight of other ice-cream vans which are trading nearby.
  • Vans must not sound chimes when they are within 50 metres of a school (during school hours), any places of worship (on a Sunday or any other days of worship that are recognised), or hospitals.
  • Vehicles must not sound their chimes any more often than just once, every 2 hours, in the same street.
  • Chimes cannot be any louder than 80 dB(A) at 7.5 metres (please contact your local Environmental Health Officer for more details).
  • Ice-Cream van chimes should not be as loudly used in quieter areas or streets which are more narrow than elsewhere.

To summarise, chimes will cause an offence, if:

They are used before 12pm (noon) and after 7.00pm (19:00 hours).

If they are sounded at anytime, in any such way which can give a reasonable cause of annoyance.

For more information, help and advice, please contact your Local Council’s: Environmental Health Team. For more help and advice about hearing, please visit Hidden Hearing.

External Link: Control of Pollution Act, 1974, Section 62 (Noise in Streets)

NFHiB Article Created: April 2009.

Hint’s and Tips for coping with a Neighbour From Hell

blog12Article Covers:

– No one wants a nuisance neighbour, but if you have one, here’s what you can do

Keep a Diary

At the first sign of any trouble from your neighbour or members or the local community, no matter how petty it might seem, always start a diary of all incidents, times and dates – make this as detailed as you can. You could compare this to a CV that’s completed when you’re trying to get another job. This is vital if matters get worse and will give you some proof of events. (You can use our generic blank form for this purpose).

Communication

Try and approach your Neighbour for a ‘friendly chat’ about the problem. Try hard to keep it light hearted and friendly. It may be that there is a situation you are unaware of and this could clear the air between you. Remember, that sometimes people aren’t aware of any distress or disturbance they may be causing you. If you can’t or don’t want to approach your neighbour in person, try writing to them and outlining your concerns instead.

Communication breakdowns often lead to further misery and can make the situation a lot worse. A friendly approach can often work wonders, sometimes it is good to talk! A misunderstanding that might not be evident could lead to worse problems. Remember too that some neighbour’s are just oblivious to other people’s needs and have little respect for these no matter what you say or do, you are only human, and you can only try so much. If this is the case then you need to get specialist help/advice as soon as possible.

Conciliation

There are now Neighbour Conciliation and Mediation services available that can act as a mediator in your situation. Look for your nearest service in the telephone book, online or ring your local authority Housing Dept. for information. You can also try our online link directory for internet links of various organisation’s/services. You should try to use Conciliation if you can, this shows you are not being difficult and really want to resolve issues. It may even hopefully solve your problem.

Start A File

Keep all records – noise sheets, letters – everything that is related together, in a file. Make sure you keep copies of all letters you send (sign the copy too!) and log details of any phone calls you make to whoever (get their name and contact tel. number) about the matter. If possible ask for these people to confirm in writing the basis of your phone call with them. Make sure you always keep your diary up to date.

Starting the ball rolling

If you rent from a Local Authority or own your own property then contact the Local Council (Environmental Health Section/Department) and explain your situation in full. Ask them what their policies and procedures are for dealing with Neighbour associated problems – ask them to send you copies of them. Then ask them to look into matters on your behalf as they have a duty towards you to try to resolve any problems with the neighbour or take appropriate action. You might do this before contacting the conciliation service or get your Council to refer you to one instead.

If you rent from a Housing Association – the same situation exists.

If you own your own home you should check ALL your house Insurance Policies (Contents and Buildings) to see if you have access to a legal helpline or legal cover – these are often free and included within insurance policies, but check first before using any service that you may get charged for! Contact your Insurance Company in the first instance for advice. If not then you need to consult a Solicitor.

Do NOT contact a Solicitor until you have checked your policies, as if you do contact Solicitor’s in advance, you may void any legal help that could be available from your insurance company/policy. Make sure your Insurance Company gives you the go ahead and be guided by them with any procedures.

If you have an anti-social neighbour that rents their home from a Private Landlord then again get legal advice accordingly as the Landlord might need to be contacted by letter about different matters. Landlords have obligations and duties towards you and you may have a neighbour that could be breaching their tenancy agreement (e.g. their tenancy contract may stipulate no excessive and un-reasonable noise between the hours of 11pm to 7am, etc)

Seeking legal advice

If your Insurance Cover isn’t for legal help and costs then you will need to get advice from a Solicitor. Keep in mind you might not be eligible for legal advice and help and it could well turn out to be a expensive exercise. However, most Solicitors operate a 20 minute free legal advice scheme so use it if you can! You can find online legal help within our online link directory. One letter to a problem neighbour might do the trick, but you also you need to know your rights and what to do if anything happens. If you can avoid a legal battle then PLEASE do so. It is both very costly, very stressful and could cause permanent damage to neighbour relations. If the situation warrants it and all else has failed then you are unfortunately probably left with no alternative.

Police Involvement

Any problems / incidents then ring the Police. Always contact the Police on 999 if you or other’s are in imminent danger. Explain matters to the Police, ask for the Officer or Clerk you speak to for their names and details – log this in your diary. Request that the Police attend for the purpose of speaking to your neighbour(s) and taking whatever action might be appropriate. A verbal warning might be enough, and with 3 of these, you may be able to instigate proceedings under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. See our website Legislation Section for more details.

Ask for a Community Officer to be assigned to you and to call round for an informal chat about matters. Your Police Force should by now have in place some specific procedures and policies for dealing with NFH. If not then ring your Police HQ and ask to speak to a Senior Officer about it and find out what their policies are.

It doesn’t matter how many times you have to ring the Police a catalogue of events and a picture is being built of your situation. Always exercise your rights to contact the Police over a matter that concerns you.

Many victims of neighbour abuse have in the past failed to ring the Police for fear of looking foolish or wasting Police time and resources. However a long history of what might seem ‘petty’ incidents can paint a very different picture in the long run.

Victim Support

Ask the Police to refer you to your local Victim Support if this is relevant. You will need ongoing support and someone to guide you if things get worse. You can also contact them yourself and ask them to assist or advise you who can contact for more help.

Local Councillor’s and MP’s

Subject to how your situation progresses it might become necessary for you to contact your local Councillor and your MP.

Remember these people are paid to serve you and you should insist that you are not ignored. Explain matters to them and show them your records. Again, ask for discussions to be confirmed in writing and file all letters. Check this website’s ‘Resources’ section for standard forms, letters and e-mail templates that you are free to use or adapt to your own needs.

Our Forum Community

You can also join the forum community to ask for more help and information – it’s very busy and has a lot of good information, we currently have thousands of registered members.

If there is anything you want to discuss then please post a message on the NFHiB Forum Community. Forum Members will do all they can to support and guide you and lend a sympathetic ear.

REMEMBER, you are not alone – unfortunately, thousands of people every year suffer with Neighbour From Hell problems.

This article last revised: November 2002

Harassment From Your Neighbour

Article Covers:

– Forms of Harassment from your Neighbour
– What action you can take about harassment

HARASSMENT FROM YOUR NEIGHBOUR

Introduction

We’re aiming to give you a good overview of what constitutes harassment, bullying and intimidating behaviour. As well as give you a good starting basis of where you can go to find out more information about harassment, bullying and intimidation from your neighbour. We hope to give you some practical and useful information to use too.

We’ve split this help article into 9 main sections to hopefully make it easier to read and simpler to bookmark different sections.

What’s harassment got to do with my Neighbour From Hell?

Often people who are living with a Neighbour that is a nuisance are faced with other unwanted behaviours and specific problems from next door. With bullying often comes harassment, with physical abuse often comes verbal abuse, threatening behaviour and other forms of anti-social behaviour. Harassment is often experienced with these kinds of unwanted attention and seldom appears to be an isolated act or problem.

Some people who experience harassment and bullying from their neighbour may not even recognise the behaviour as it is so subtle and regular they overlook it for the harassment it could be or it simply becomes a part of everyday life.

Bullying and harassment are both major causes of ill health (both physical and mental health), stressful to experience and vastly affect your personal well-being. Whether this is happening at work or with your Neighbour From Hell, they are severely impacting issues on your personal life and will affect you holistically (e.g. in every area of your life and work).

If you are experiencing harassment and bullying you could be also suffering from a lack of sleep or raised blood pressure. You may also have a feeling of over-anxiety and/or depression, your self-confidence and self-respect may suffer and your concentration could be poorer than usual.

In the worst cases where someone is suffering with harassment, increased intakes of alcohol and/or drugs may provide some temporary relaxation and escape from the effects of bullying and harassing behaviour.

Harassment Definitions & Stalking

We often make use of the word harassment in our everyday language and will say things like, “please, don’t harass me, I’m having a bad day” – but what does harassment and the definitions of harassment actually mean?

One dictionary definition of harassment is:

“to annoy persistently” (Source: Merriam-Webster)

In a lot of cases persistent, unwanted and un-requested annoyance from your neighbour can fall straight into this description.

Harassment constitutes any form of behaviour which is unwanted – this could range differently for many people and can represent anything from unpleasant and mildly irritating behaviour, right up to actual and extreme violence which is physically based.

Harassment and Bullying can include many variances, but often people experience behaviour which is sexually based, racially orientated or harassment of a homophobic kind. Behaviour which is personally targeted and aimed at individuals is also common placed.

At Neighbours From Hell in Britain and on our forums we often learn about harassment that takes these forms and stems from an individual’s neighbours.

Harassment can also be aimed at people through their membership of different organisations (say, their Trade Union, professional body or political persuasions).

Bullying and Harassment are often both totally unpredictable and very wearing behaviour for any person to experience and live with on a regular or intermittent basis. It is totally unacceptable and a cowardly and anti-social practice.

Harassment can come in many forms. Whether these unwanted attentions come from your neighbour, in the workplace, at home, in social settings, this is unwanted behaviour and attention that can constitute racial, sexual, physical and verbal/non-verbal harassment.

Some forms of harassment and sexual assault can be classed as criminal offences and can be reportable to the Police.

Stalking

Stalking is another separate or related issue depending on particular circumstances.

When harassment also includes the perpetrator (e.g. the source of the harassment and could be your neighbour) watching you, constantly following you, making constant contact with you despite your requests not to, or you are receiving unwanted gifts/presents; the term of ‘stalking’ may be applicable and more appropriate in your case.

For more information: About Stalking.

The differences between Harassment and Bullying

We’ve already mentioned that bullying and harassment often feature together as they are closely linked areas of behaviour, but it’s important to note some of the differences between these close topics.

To explain briefly, if you are being harassed this often will include a definite physical behaviour. Harassment is often closely connected to violence of a physical nature and a person’s gender, their disability or race and perhaps even a mixture of these.

Bullying behaviour is often made up of many incidents and circumstances and sometimes what can appear to be ‘trivial’ situations, over longer periods of time. These incidents within the bullying field often include many unjustified and unnecessary acts.

For more bullying information and to also decide if you could be being bullied, take a look here.

For more differences between Harassment and Bullying.

Racial and Sexual Harassment

Within the terms of both sexual and racial harassment, it is generally understood that any behaviour that is included within these areas is often very varied and contrasting indeed. Such varied behaviours can include harassment within a verbal, non-verbal and physically orientated area. Such behaviour received from any individual is often unwanted and un-requested.

Sexual Harassment Indications

Sexual harassment is any form of behaviour that is unwanted and is attached or formed from either your gender or your sexual orientation.

Within the laws of the UK, there is no one specified law against Harassment of a Sexual nature. Action has often been taken using the different available statutes that form prevention of discrimination; therefore Sexual Harassment, in its direct legal terms is a form of sex discrimination.

Here are some examples of Sexual Harassment:
Of a Verbal Nature

A person is making comments about your appearance, your clothing and your body in general (e.g. your neighbour could be shouting these comments at you every time you leave your house).

Remarks and conversation are aimed at you directly which include indecent and abusive comments.

Unwanted questions, opinion and commenting about your sex life.

Demands and requests made of you of a sexual nature which either come from a person of the same or different sex as you.

Using your employment prospects as an excuse to request and gain favours and benefits of a sexual nature (e.g. your manager promises you a promotion if you perform a certain sexual act).

The definition of sexual harassment from the EU is as follows:

“unwanted conduct of a sexual nature or other conduct based on sex affecting the dignity of men and women at work”.

Of a Non-Verbal Nature

You find yourself being stared at constantly or on occasions; your body feels like it’s under ‘close examination’ by someone (maybe your neighbour takes every opportunity to stare at you when outside or when in your home).

Material which is sexually and adult-orientated in an explicit nature which is displayed publicly can class as a non-verbal sexual harassment (e.g. a magazine centrefold in your workplace that has images of naked individuals).

Of a Physical Nature

You are experiencing behaviour from a person who is always attempting or actually managing to physically touch you, pinch you or kiss/hug/caress you.

Assault of a Sexual Nature

Rape (an extremely serious and unwanted emotional and physical intrusion and offence).

Racial Harassment Indications

If you are experiencing harassment which is racially formed and based you could be experiencing unwelcome attention that is connected with or a combination of any of these factors:

Comments about the colour of your skin, your culture, race or background.

Threats, comments or unwanted behaviours that are formed on the basis of your religious beliefs or what someone may believe your religious origin is. Behaviours experienced here, like others, can be physical and non-physically based.

Legislation and Harassment

The sections of Law in the UK that mainly relate to harassment consist of:

The Sex Discrimination Act

The Sex Discrimination Act of 1975 prevents sex discrimination in any form which is deliberate (direct) or in-deliberate (indirect) against any person in employment. The Act can apply to both women and to men and individuals can be of any age.

Types of discrimination based on a person’s sex can include harassment of a sexual nature or a situation which is unfortunately all too commonly heard of where a woman is treated less favourably or in any adverse manner because she is pregnant.

More indirect sex discrimination is a situation where a common practice or workplace condition is applicable to both men and women but could affect one sex much more than the other (e.g. height requirements within certain employment’s may affect either sex).

Race Relations Act 1976

The Race Relations Act 1976, and as amended by the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 prohibits discrimination against any person based on the issues of their race, nationality, colour, or ethnic/national origin.

This act also creates more duties upon your Local Authority to promote equality within racial issues/areas.

Harassment, abuse and violence which is physically based and incidents of a racist nature, inciting racial hatred are offences under Criminal Law – contact the Police immediately if you have experienced these for more advice and information.

The Act applies to these areas:

  • Employment and Jobs
  • Training & Education
  • Homes & Housing

The wide field of ‘provision of goods, facilities and services’ – this encompasses a huge area of where we go and what we use in every day life. From shopping, to using professionally based services, to accessing local community resources, it includes many different areas.

Disability Discrimination Act 1995

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 introduces rights for disabled people in the areas of employment; getting goods and services; buying or renting property and access to goods and services.

The 1995 Disability Discrimination Act’s main purpose is to prevent and eradicate discrimination that people who have disabilities regularly experience. Within the act, people who have a disability are given specific and certain rights within these different areas:

Access to different and many varied types of goods, facilities and services

Employment & Career

Property – In buying property or renting any land or property

This is a complex and detailed Act and one which further defines what a ‘disability’ actually is, for more information please visit gov.uk

Protection from Harassment Act 1997

This piece of legislation was brought into creation on the 21st March, 1997 and is the major and main piece of legislation that deals with harassment and harassment issues.

Within the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 (PFHA) two criminal offences are highlighted – these are contained within sections 2 and 4.

The PFHA ’97 also gives courts that hold civil powers the capability to instigate injunctions and award damages in all types of harassment cases. Within the Act, this is described in Section 3.

The PFHA 1997 is a ‘dynamic act’ in the sense where it can effectively cover harassment in any form whatsoever. The act sets out sections to deal with the prohibition and offence of harassment, restraining orders, the act’s limitations and civil remedies, and so on.

For example, the Act cites:

Prohibition of harassment

1. – (1) A person must not pursue a course of conduct-

(a) which amounts to harassment of another, and

(b) which he knows or ought to know amounts to harassment of the other.

The Course of conduct is defined in s7(3) and is:

(3) A “course of conduct” must involve conduct on at least two occasions.

This basically means that the harasser needs to display the harassment on at least two occasions.

Criminal cases often and particularly in the magistrates courts manage one incident. For the offence of criminal harassment to be proved, the court (and where appropriately the Police) will have to be satisfied that the act (the ‘conduct’) of actual harassment happened on a minimum amount of two separate occasions.

Despite the fact that ‘course of conduct’ has to contain at least two incidents, there is no specification that incidents must have occurred at the same time.

e.g. Your neighbour threatened to steal your car on a particular day, but then proceeded to deliberately vandalise your garden two days later. Even though the ‘course of conduct’ is totally different in each of these circumstances it is still valid and involves the minimum of two incidents.

So, it is vital to report any instances of harassment, whether or not you have proof to your Local Police so they can consider further action if necessary and if possible. This could result in your neighbour where they are harassing you, being detained/arrested for the acts of harassment.

More information about the PFHA 1997.

Criminal Justice & Public Order Act 1994

This act is a complex and detailed one. It covers such areas as trespassers on land, ‘Raves’, disruptive trespassers, squatters, and within section 154 ‘Intentional Harassment, Alarm or Distress’.

Section 154 creates the offence as such:

To intentionally either (a) use ‘threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour, or disorderly behaviour’; or (b) display ‘any writing, sign or visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting’; to cause someone ‘harassment, alarm or distress’.

The maximum penalty for involvement in these is 6 months in prison and/or a fine of £5000.

Criminal Justice & Public Order Act 1994 in full.

Criminal law of Assault

It is an offence to actually assault an individual or threaten to assault them (e.g. if the courts interpreted this as the threat would actually be carried through).

Assault consists of an act which is hostile that causes an individual to fear attack. The term ‘battery’ concerns the use of actual force where a physical assault has taken place (e.g. ‘Assault and Battery’).

Assaults which lead to Actual Bodily Harm carry a 5 year prison sentence. It’s important to remember too that the term ‘Assault’ doesn’t always mean that physical contact has been initiated or used; threatening behaviour, gestures or language can also constitute an assault.

Check with your Police Service for more information and advice.

What can you do if you’re suffering with Harassment?

Don’t ignore harassment

If you are experiencing harassment, intimidating behaviour or harassment, please don’t ignore it – most of the time it’s unlikely to go away without some kind of action. Don’t feel it’s your fault because you’re living with it either and you won’t be labelled as a ‘troublemaker’ for bringing it to the attention of others and the Police.

People who are involved in harassing behaviour often display it as a form of control and ‘superiority’ over your life, ignoring it could be seen as a sign of success by the person who is harassing you. Worst still the harasser could feel they are entitled to get away with it. Don’t let them.

If you’ve only been harassed once, that’s one time too many; don’t ever hesitate to contact someone for more help and ask the police for more advice and information.

Get help and support

Inform and ask your Local Police for help. Ask them about the Protection From Harassment Act of 1997 (PFHA ’97) and other possible legal avenues that could be open to you. Ask the Police if they are able to take action on your behalf under relevant legislation and in particular the PFHA ’97.

You could also:

  • Talk to a harassment adviser (you may have one in your workplace or organisation).
  • A counsellor where appropriate may offer guidance.
  • Get professionally qualified legal help (e.g. from a solicitor).
  • Ask a friend for support.
  • A workmate or union representative could assist you.
  • Where it happens in work, your personnel/human resources department should be there to advise.
  • Ask the person who is harassing you to stop: May be difficult, unrealistic or impossible, but could help.

Do not ever approach your neighbour or person who is harassing you if you are in any way worried that there may be actual physical danger or threatened violence. Call your Police at once if this is the case.

If you do decide to approach the person responsible for causing you harassment, take very careful actions and due care over your safety. Don’t go alone, take a friend or relative with you.

Going alone could put you in danger. By taking a witness it could be useful to have a third party account of what was said and done – the harasser then also cannot claim as you didn’t ask them to stop their harassing behaviour, they felt it was acceptable behaviour (because you didn’t object to it in the first place).

Above all – YOUR SAFETY is paramount, do not place yourself in unnecessary and un-needed danger. If in doubt, get out of the way or do not get in the way of potential problems or danger.

Collecting evidence of harassment

This is very important and can act as further evidence either to the Police or Courts at a later stage. Keep a factual note of all the incidents that are relevant with their times, places, dates and so on. Describe what happened and how/why it made you feel in a particular way. If you can back up what you’re saying in your written records with verbal evidence and that of independent witnesses who can give factual evidence, you need to do so.

You could use the Neighbours From Hell in Britain generic recording form (Word Document) for this purpose.

If you are using recording devices to record instances of verbal harassment for example, make a written note to back up these recordings as soon as you possibly can following the incident. In some cases recordings using audio equipment may not always be admissible evidence, so ask your police or solicitor for information and advice.

Make a complaint

If you are in a workplace setting and being harassed consider using your employers ‘whistle blowing policy’ or harassment/bullying policies where they exist. Write to a relevant director or head of department to formally complain about the harassment.

Ring your Local Police headquarters and ask for more information, help and advice on how to make/register a formal complaint about harassment, mention the PFHA 1997 if applicable.
Always dial 999 if you or people around you are in danger.

It’s important that you take more advice before embarking on any of these actions and we would recommend you seek information from a legally qualified professional, the Citizens Advice Bureau or your Local Authority where appropriate.

More Help & Advice?

You can also join the forum community to ask for more help and information – it’s very busy and has a lot of good information, we currently have over 32,000 registered members.

Remember: That if you are currently selling your property or plan to in the future all disputes with your neighbour that have been formally reported and/or acted upon need to be declared to potential or actual buyers. If you don’t do this, you could be legally challenged or at worst, sued!

When a dispute has been recorded or put down in writing, or where complaints to an authority (council) have been made, then this needs to be informed to any potential buyers of your property. Ask your solicitor for more information about this.

CCTV, You and The Law

cctvArticle Covers:

– CCTV & The Law

CCTV, You and The Law

Welcome to the NFHiB, CCTV Overview. Here we hope to arm you with some basic facts and knowledge about CCTV use, particularly in a domestic setting. So whether you use CCTV, or are looking into the possibility, or your Neighbour From Hell is training a CCTV on your property, read on.

Neighbours From Hell in Britain very much appreciate, thank and acknowledge the expert, kindly offered help from Dave Partridge at The Security Installer and Chris Brogan of Security International Ltd in the creation of this help article.

CCTV – What is it and why use it?

Close Circuit Television (or abbreviated to CCTV) systems are tiny cameras of a very specialised nature, they are very flexible in their use and application, being able to move totally in 360 degree circles and larger 180 degree movements. CCTV systems are small enough and movable enough to fit into any cramped or different location.

If you’ve got a Neighbour From Hell problem, chances are you may be looking to provide evidence by use of recording from a CCTV system at home. You could already be involved with this and using either your home video recorder to capture the CCTV images or even direct to your PC.

This can provide invaluable evidence and needed proof to capture your neighbour literally in the act.

CCTV & The Law

If you’re a CCTV user that has installed a system in your business premises then the Data Protection Act 1998, CCTV Code Of Practice will apply to you and this must be upheld and followed. However, the Code of Practice does state:

“Security equipment installed in home by individuals for home security purposes.”

– Part 4 of the Data Protection Act 1998 covers Domestic Use:

Domestic purposes: (36) “Personal data processed by an individual only for the purposes of that individual’s personal, family or household affairs (including recreational purposes) are exempt from the data protection principles and the provisions of Parts II and III”.

So you or your neighbour using domestic CCTV may not be directly affected by the CCTV Code Of Practice, but read on for more information in Part II.

Human Rights?

It is possible that CCTV usage could well be viewed as a possible infringement/invasion of your Human Rights under the Human Rights Act 1998.

So what do you do if your Neighbour is pointing their CCTV at you?

The Human Rights Act of 1998 could assist you and we would advise you to fully investigate this with a solicitor who has expert specialist knowledge in this area.

e.g: “Article 8: The Right to Respect for Private and Family Life, Home and Correspondence” could well infringe on your privacy by your neighbour

We have an overview of the Human Rights Act currently available.

The HRA is superior to all other legislation and should always take first preference. We advise you to seek specialised knowledge from a Solicitor who is an expert within Human Rights Issues and Legislation, it is an extremely complex area of legislation.

Trouble with bonfires?

bonfireArticle Covers:

– Advice on Bonfires
– Legislation
– What should I do if I want to have a bonfire?

Advice on Bonfires

The main nuisance element from bonfires is the smoke.

Imagine that you’re trying to have a peaceful afternoon sitting in your garden; or you’ve just hung out a line of clean washing then ends up smelling of smoke. Perhaps it has been a nice day and you have had your windows open all day only for your home to be permeated by the stench of smoke.

You might be worried if your neighbour’s fire is close to your property that there is a risk of it catching and spreading, for example if the fire was lit next to your hedge or fence.

Legislation

Unfortunately, there is no specific law that include bonfires making them illegal in their own sense, but as further described below the emissions and smoke coming from fires can cause a ‘Statutory Nuisance’ under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Some local authorities (LA) have adopted Codes of Practice in dealing with bonfires – check to see if yours has one.

Bonfires may constitute a “Statutory Nuisance” under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (a statutory nuisance includes “smoke, fumes or gases emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance”), if the annoyance –

(a) interferes unreasonably with the quiet enjoyment of your property, and

(b) is frequent (in how often they are lit and for the length of time they are lit)

If your neighbour is lighting lots of bonfires, what can you do about it?

You should start writing down on a sheet so that you have a record of when your neighbour has been lighting bonfires, this will include: dates, times and the nuisance it caused.

You should talk to your neighbour and see if you can reach a compromise situation. If you feel you can’t talk to your neighbour, you should write to them (always keep a copy of anything you send to your neighbour).

If your neighbour does not take your views on board, then you should contact your local Environmental Health Department (EH) at your LA to make an official complaint. They will try to resolve the nuisance issue of your neighbours’ bonfires. They may come to your neighbours’ property to witness the bonfire.

If they have evidence that the bonfire is a statutory nuisance, then they will contact your neighbour (they will not reveal who made the complaint, but your neighbour may guess that it is you).

If there is enough evidence of a statutory nuisance, then the EH may serve an Abatement Order/Notice on your neighbour (your neighbour could appeal against this Notice to the Magistrates Court).

If the nuisance continues after the serving of the Abatement Order/ Notice, then your neighbour is committing an offence and if found guilty, could have a fine imposed on him/her. If the case went to Court, then your identity may have to be revealed and you may have to give evidence.

If you want to have a bonfire, what should you do?

  • Speak to your neighbours, see if you can agree a time and site for the fire
  • Keep it away from your neighbours property
  • Keep it away from combustible materials
  • Keep water nearby
  • Stay by the fire at all times and monitor it
  • Don’t light it when your neighbours’ washing is out
  • Don’t light it if your neighbours’ are in their garden
  • Don’t light it if your neighbours’ windows are open
  • Don’t burn wet materials, plastic, rubber or other materials which cause dark smoke and noxious fumes
  • Don’t let smoke blow onto a road/ public highway

More Help and Advice?

Remember: That if you are currently selling your property or plan to in the future all disputes with your neighbour that have been formally reported and/or acted upon need to be declared to potential or actual buyers. If you don’t do this, you could be legally challenged or at worst, sued!

When a dispute has been recorded or put down in writing, or where complaints to an authority (council) have been made, then this needs to be informed to any potential buyers of your property. Ask your solicitor for more information about this.

You can also join the forum to ask for more help and information.

This article last revised: 27th June 2003

Beyond Mediation

1. INTRODUCTION

Ok, so you’ve tried talking to your neighbour, even offered mediation, all of which has resulted in rejection by your NFH or, more often, your NFH claiming that all the problems have been caused by you, even when you tried to be reasonable with them. You have a Neighbour From Hell.

handshake

Firstly though, we make no apologies for repeating that “YOU ARE NOT ALONE”.

“YOU ARE NOT ALONE”. There, we did it again.

It made us feel so good that we’re going to say it again. No, we’ve got a better idea. We’ll say it together but in the first person…

“I AM NOT ALONE” Three more times please.

Above all else remember this. At the time of writing the NFHiB board had reached nearly a thousand members, and this is on top of the thousands of hits the board receives every day from non-members. This is a big problem in society so do not think that you have been unlucky. In fact we’re pretty confident that the abbreviation NFH will soon become part of the Collins English Dictionary.

However with all the talk of mediation etc. and trying to reach an “amicable solution”, we know that the words “reasonable” and “amicable” are wasted on most NFHs. Their only goal in life is to try and cause you and us as much misery as possible.

But after visiting this board, you’ll see that we emphasise the importance of playing by your rules and not playing the NFHs at their own game. To model your behaviour on your NFH invariably results in the situation becoming worse. Plus as NFHs operate on a different level to you, you wouldn’t be any good at it anyway. And, as you will see, that’s just as well.

So what can we do? We log all the harassment and intimidation, try and ignore the NFH, but is there anything we can do to fight back?

Well, actually, yes there is. There’s a lot you can do and equally a lot you DON’T DO. But if you’re looking for ways to act illegally, then this is the wrong place for you. And we suggest you visit a site run by Neighbours From Hell themselves. Funnily enough though, we’ve never found one of those. But as it involves a modicum of intelligence, we won’t hold our breath.

We tried looking under Ar*eh*lesoftheUniverseUnite.com but found nothing. It may happen one day. Can you imagine the messages?

“Dear fellow a**eh*les. My neighbours are fine, upstanding and friendly folk who have always been kind and honest whilst respecting our privacy. We think it’s about time we taught these self-righteous do-gooders a lesson. In fact only the other day their pet hamster looked at me in a FUNNY WAY……etc and so forth”

But it’s a safe bet you’re here because, unlike your NFH, you actually have some intelligence and want to deal with your NFH in a sensible way, rather than the ranting, raving, furtive and cowardly approach that your NFH takes against you. Let’s face it; your NFH has probably spent years perfecting the art of being the scourge of decent households whilst you’re probably a complete novice. And that’s how we want you to stay.

As Yoda, the Jedi Master in Star Wars said, “Fear, anger, aggression. Forces of the dark side are these. If once you start down the dark side, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will.” Or something like that. If you want further information on the dark side and good side check out this link. OK we know Yoda was just a puppet with Frank Oz’s hand up his backside but we reckon even with that problem he was still right. Even if you’re not a Star Wars fan you’ll see some of your NFH traits in there.

Star Wars Stuff

And this shows your intelligence. No we don’t mean the Star Wars stuff. You want to know what drives your NFH.

Why do they act the way they do? For you, it just seems like totally irrational behaviour. Well, why should you care? The NFH doesn’t care about you so why should you about them? Well, we think it’s important that you do know what drives your NFH and we’ve seen enough stories on NFHiB to see some common traits. As we hope you’ll find out, when you see what drives your NFH you’ll be better equipped at dealing with them.

You don’t need to care about the NFH; you want to know what motivates them. We should point out that none of us are professionally qualified in psychology or psychotherapy. What we do have is far better, tons and tons of experience.

That’s not to say we haven’t drawn on professional research where necessary but we hope to bring it all into a coherent whole for you, the victim of Neighbours From Hell. Anyway on our quest (quest! We like that word. Sounds like we’re on a journey to seek the evil power source of the NFHs) we’ll try and find out what drives the NFHs and how to deal with them on your terms, not theirs. We should point out that though we refer to the NFH in the masculine gender, that this covers both. So, first of all…

2. WHAT MAKES A TYPICAL NFH?

Well, let’s turn the question round. If like 99.9% of the people in the country, you have to live next door to neighbours, it’s a fair chance that at some time you’ll have a disagreement over something or you or your neighbour will have done something that the other party wants put right or changed. Most normal people would discuss the situation and either reach a compromise, agree to disagree or put right whatever was done wrong. And if it was you who had done something wrong, then you would be more than happy to see the error of your ways, put things right and move on.

Oh and before anything else. “I AM NOT ALONE”. Had you forgotten already? Don’t worry; by the end of this article, you’ll probably be repeating it on the way to work. You may get some funny looks from strangers if you shout it out, but that’s ok, we don’t mind that.

Anyway where were we? Oh yes. Normal neighbour situations. There are tons and tons of examples, but let’s take three that often spark off problems with NFHs. It all boils down to a single issue but we’ll get to that, but see if you can spot it in advance.

Firstly, an application for planning. You’ll see on most council websites that they make a special point of recommending to applicants that they discuss their plans with their neighbours. OK, so you or your neighbour do this. You either agree, compromise or disagree and just let the planning process run its course. Whether you or your neighbour win out is left to the planners and you both let their decision be final without the need for you to fall out. You just move on.

Secondly. Parking. One day you inadvertently park in a space reserved for your neighbour. Your neighbour comes round asking you to move the car. You agree to do so. Your neighbour asks you not to do it again to which you agree. You both move on.

And thirdly, and probably most common problem of all, noise. Your neighbour plays their music loud one Saturday evening. You call round and ask them to turn it down. They agree and that’s the end of it. Usually accompanied by you both agreeing that if there is any more excessive noise that they will let the other know.

So three fairly typical issues. But what’s the common thread?

Being reasonable.

We’ve all had disagreements in the past, starting in the playground, where perhaps we dealt with it in an immature manner, but as time goes on we learn from it. We progress to the workplace where we also have disagreements but we act reasonably. Or try to. And we’ve all seen those who never act reasonably. Ever wondered why they fail to make the grade? Or if they do, it’s because they’ve trodden on everyone else to get there.

Alright, alright, we can already hear you saying. “Flippin’ heck NFHiB! Where did you get the rose tinted spectacles from? What airy, fairy world do you think we live in?”

OK! OK! We know that that they may be some, if not heated, then slightly warm exchanges involving the above but the majority of folk wouldn’t want a permanent rift with their neighbours and would patch things up pretty quickly.

And even when things did get out of hand, most of the rest would be willing to try and go to mediation which is usually provided by your local Council. We’ve often heard of some difficulties with Councils taking the problems of NFH seriously but we’ve also heard of the mediation services sorting out even the most intransigent of disputes.

Whilst the main thrust of this article is about dealing with the situation when your NFH refuses mediation, we should emphasise here (and we’ll be doing it again) that you should never, ever refuse the offer of mediation whether its offered by your neighbour or by someone else such as the police. Of course you know that your NFH will never accept, but should the matter ever proceed to court, the court will want to know whether mediation was offered and who accepted and who rejected it.

NEVER REFUSE MEDIATION.

And if the thought of sitting down with the NFH fills you with dread, you do not have to meet the NFH face to face. The mediator can liaise between the parties.

But, for the purpose of this article, a typical NFH will never want mediation because it entails several things which they cannot tolerate. So, really most NFHs who accept mediation, we don’t really class as NFHs. We know there have been exceptions but generally speaking a true NFH would never accept mediation as it involves….

Having to speak to someone who adopts a reasonable tone.

Mediation may involve having to see the situation from your point of view.

Mediation involves having to bring to an end all their harassment and intimidation of you.

If the mediation was successful this may allow you to live your life normally without interference from them.

You may be seen as winning by your NFH.

Again it all boils down to the inability to be reasonable.

So what makes a typical NFH? I’m sure you could find a few choice words, most of which couldn’t be printed here, but in essence a typical NFH is someone who maintains the position of being UNREASONABLE.

We’ll see why this is the case soon.

3. WHAT DRIVES AN NFH?

Before we start, you know what’s coming?

That’s right. “I AM NOT ALONE”.

By now you’re probably getting all teary eyed at this. That’s one of the things we’ve found on this board when people first visit. That they thought they were alone in experiencing problems but they quickly find out that many people are also having to go through similar problems.

Ok, so we’ll give you a moment to compose yourself.

OK now?

Come on, come on, pull yourself together, we’ve a lot to get through.

So what could motivate the NFH? When most people you know are perfectly reasonable, your NFH seems to make a life career out of causing you as much bother as they can.

And this is where we start to enter the dark and murky world of the NFH so better brace yourself. Bring your cloak and shield. Oh and a thermos and a few sandwiches wouldn’t go amiss. Well, we did say it was a quest. What’s a quest without a few dark murky bits along the way?

You may be thinking by now, “Quest? Sandwiches along the way? I don’t think these guys are taking this NFH thing seriously.”

Well let us assure you that we do. We take the problems associated with NFH very seriously indeed. But one of our chief weapons has always been analogy. Comparing our situation to other events has proven to be one of the most effective strategies in dealing with NFHs. Have a look at some of the avatars and signatures our members use in the forum boards.

But yes, we’ll freely admit to having the odd laugh along the way. Most of the moderating team are still having to live with NFHs and there are still moments when we want to throttle our respective NFHs, as long as these thoughts are kept in your head, but equally when you see some of the stupid and ridiculous things that our NFHs get up to, we’ve had the odd giggle. And again, we hope this becomes a vital weapon in your arsenal. Once you realise how the NFH works, you’ll be a long way to forming your own strategy for dealing with them. But we’ll cover this more later.

So what motivates the NFH? Well, it could be whole host of things. Unhappy experiences in childhood, being set a poor example, envy, chemical imbalances in the brain. The list is endless but ultimately, we think it boils down to a single issue.

The NFH hate the world around them, but most of all the NFH hate themselves.

Yep, when your NFH wakes up in the morning, the thing they hate to see are themselves in the mirror. They are truly the most miserable and sad people on the planet. Of course there’s a bit more to it than that but we’ll expand on this later.

“OK so why would this affect me?” We can hear you asking. Well the NFH live in a world of hate and misery, so when they see you forging ahead, with a positive outlook, dealing with your own problems and tragedies and emerging the other end, they cannot bear to see you inhabiting a happy and positive world. Above all, you can’t be seen to be better than them

However for years it may well be the case that they will, on the surface, get along with you fine, but all the time they will be looking for and waiting for a single reason to fall out with you and what they then want to is to drag you into their own world of hate and misery. If the NFH perceives you as being superior to them for whatever twisted reason they will have perceived many in their world as being responsible for their failure and lack of achievement and whatever it was that you did wrong, in their eyes you are now and forever will be a part of their evil world.

“Now hang on a minute NFHiB. Lack of Achievement?” I’ve heard of NFHs who live in mansions with acres of land. Hardly a failure.”

Having a large house, expensive cars and a pool doesn’t make you a success. We need to define failure.

A failure is the inability for a person to live with him or herself. That, our fellow NFH sufferer, is your NFH. And that is what drives them.

4. NFH ATTACKS – WHY ME?

So why should this affect you? The NFH hates himself, so what?

Well, from our own experiences NFHs largely have what is known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder. We’ll be covering more on this later. (“More stuff later? This is all beginning to build up into a hell of a lot of stuff later”. Don’t worry; it’ll come into a coherent whole)

It’s a long word we know and it comes from the Greek fable about Narcissus who fell in love with his own reflection. Actually this Narcissus bloke was a bit dim and as he leaned over to kiss his own reflection, he fell in and drowned. Yes, we know what you’re thinking but keep those thoughts in your head.

“Now just hang on one doggone minute NFHiB. You were saying just a minute ago that NFH’s hated themselves. Now you’re saying they’re in love with themselves? Make your flippin’ mind up”

That’s a good point so glad to see you’re keeping up. NFHs are in love with the ideal image of themselves. We don’t want to quote too much from other sources, but we probably will, but this extract from an online article about Narcissistic Personality Disorder is as good as any:

“As Freud said of narcissists, these people act like they’re in love with themselves. And they are in love with an ideal image of themselves — or they want you to be in love with their pretend self, it’s hard to tell just what’s going on. Like anyone in love, their attention and energy are drawn to the beloved and away from everyday practicalities. Narcissists’ fantasies are static — they’ve fallen in love with an image in a mirror or, more accurately, in a pool of water, so that movement causes the image to dissolve into ripples; to see the adored reflection they must remain perfectly still. Narcissists’ fantasies are tableaux or scenes, stage sets; narcissists are hung up on a particular picture that they think reflects their true selves (as opposed to the real self — warts and all).”

How to recognise a narcissist

And that’s the crux of their problem. They hate their true selves so they have conjured up an image of themselves that they want the rest of the world to see. The problem is that this exists only in their mind. So when you see your NFH strutting around the area or estate acting as though they own it, chances are that in whatever fantasy they are living out, it’s exactly what they do think.

Now when you act in a way, it can be big or small, that threatens the NFH and his own perfect existence then you are immediately and forever more banished from his world. Here’s a tip. If you want to get along with your NFH then worship the ground they walk on. Let them know that you think they’re wonderful and you are a mere mortal who isn’t fit to lick their shoes and you’ll get along famously. As it turns out this is a solution, but we’ve yet to find a victim of a NFH who has adopted this approach. However, you’re more likely to have seen it with the NFHs family. They will have learnt, after years, that to get along with the NFH they need to do just that. Worship him.

But you? You will have done something to upset the NFH. He’ll be thinking that you don’t worship him, you don’t ADORE him so therefore you are evil. Pure and simple.

And the bottom line is that you live next door to your NFH. It wouldn’t have mattered who lived there. At some point an issue would have been raised about a boundary, fence, extension, noise, anything really. But eventually something would have triggered off the NFH to react against you. This is why for years many members find that they get along with the NFH perfectly ok, but looking back many members also find that the NFH was a bit too intrusive into their lives. All that was happening was that the NFH was using you for his worshipping supply (narcissistic supply).

So why you? Well, it wouldn’t have mattered who lived there. We’re afraid that it was just a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sorry, but that’s the simple and brutal truth. Yes you can try and put right whatever was the initial issue that upset your NFH. But by this stage, it doesn’t matter what you do to pacify your NFH.

You’re in his evil world and that is where, as far as he’s concerned, you stay. So once one issue is resolved, he’ll immediately be after another issue to harass you with. Again and again. His static image of himself unfortunately includes you in his “evil” world.

5. UNDERSTANDING THE NFH

“Understand him? We just want this proverbial pain in the wotsit to leave us alone. Why the hell should we understand him?”

Perhaps we should have written that title “Understanding the Behaviour of the NFH” but that kind of detracts from what we’re trying to achieve here. We want you to get inside your NFH’s mind and find out what makes him tick. As we hope you’ll see, once you can do this, you’re well on the way to formulating a counter strategy against him. Things are going to get a bit technical from hereon in so go and have a break or make yourself a tea or coffee.

Ok, are we all sitting comfortably? Right then.

As we mentioned earlier we believe NFHs have what is known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) or its close relative, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). And before anybody thinks “Oh, the poor NFH, with their disorder.” Let us reassure you that merely describes a pattern of behaviour. The NFH knows what they are doing is wrong and that they are causing you difficulties. However bear in mind that it is estimated that about 1% of the population has this disorder.

Chances are that most of them live next door to somebody else and you’ll see why Neighbours From Hell are such a problem in our society. Sadly for us, the victims of the NFH, most of the resources on the internet relate to finding a treatment or providing an analysis of NPD. Occasionally there’s an article about those who have to live with NPD but it’s rare to find anything to cover the likes of us. We care less about finding a cure for the NFH and more about how to stop them harassing us or at least, a way for us to handle it.

But lets have a look at the traits of those with NPD and see how many relate to your NFH.

  • Lying (the most common complaint about NPD)
  • Need for admiration
  • Lack of empathy – Impossible to overemphasise this
  • Always blame others for their problems
  • Exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Talk about work, life, family as if no-one else exists
  • They are the “star”
  • They want your sympathy and admiration
  • Able to present a decent front
  • Live in their own little worlds
  • Everything they do has to be seen to be better than anybody else
  • Expect automatic compliance with their wishes
  • Use other people to get what they want
  • Envious of others or believe others are envious of them
  • Treat other people like dirt
  • They feel threatened and enraged by trivial disagreements, mistakes and misunderstandings
  • Contradict themselves in the same sentence
  • Have mastered the ability to construct a story to fit the available facts

Sounds familiar?

And the list goes on and on and on, but you’ve got the general picture by now.

This is where the Narcissistic side of things comes into play. They are transfixed by this “perfect” image of themselves, almost as if the real self doesn’t exist. As we’ll see later, this can be used to your advantage.

Their ideas of themselves and the world don’t change with experience. They’re frozen at a vision of themselves when they were 16 or so; so when you’re wondering why your fifty something NFH seems to be behaving like a brattish or bitchy teenager, now you know why. Because that’s where they’re frozen. Its also been suggested that NPD can run in families and experience on NFHiB would seem to suggest that this is the case. So that’s why NFH problems will often be accompanied by their sons and daughters acting the same way as them.

However remember that your NFH needs to be worshipped so he will, over the years, have literally driven any sense of self out of those immediately around him, his family. They will have learnt that its far easier to give the NFH his narcissistic supply and bow to his every wish or whim. That, unfortunately, includes harassing you.

The lack of empathy is a key feature in understanding your NFH. They have no better side so trying to appeal to it is fruitless. Like many members of NFHiB, you probably ended up in a dispute over a trivial matter and cannot believe their casual dishonesty and cruelty so when you tried to reason with them you may have got angry. To the NFH this just justifies to them, why they are right to treat you as they do. With contempt. In discussions with normal people so much depends on the context and tone (now you know why so many chatrooms end up as flaming wars). NFHs don’t understand context, only the words. Morally they are at the stage of a 6 or 7 year old. The difference being that most 6 or 7 year olds grow out of it. Your NFH will not.

And so it goes on. If you want an in depth look then go here….

How to recognise a narcissist

…but by now we think you’ve got the general picture. See! We said you would need a cup of tea.

“But hold on NFHiB, I’m not being targeted by just one NFH, I’ve got a whole gang of them.”

Well this is also a typical NFH problem. It largely relates to the psychology of bullying. Go here if you want an in depth look at that.

BullyOnline

The situation is that your NFH will use their remarkable ability of presenting a decent front to other people and also use their ability to concoct a story from the available facts. They will also sound totally convincing. Ultimately though your NFH is a coward, and being frozen in time as a 16 year old with the morals of a 6 year old, they will think nothing of mobilising whatever people they can find to act against you. As bad as they are, doing this by themselves is not something they relish. They need their narcissistic supply of willing believers who will back them up.

Sadly, your NFH will know exactly which people to approach. It will be those who he knows will be gullible enough to believe what he tells him. And what his allies will be told is that you are the devil incarnate and it has been you causing all the trouble.

Simple question to ask your self is, if you were able to show 100% that it was your NFH who had caused the trouble and was lying, would the gang back off? We think it’s likely that they would.

Another factor to consider is that your NFH will know full well that he needs to keep up a decent front to everyone else. This is why much of his behaviour will be carried out furtively and without witnesses. In fact his spell on others will be such that you’ll probably be finding that he will be obsessed with conjuring up witnesses against you. He needs to be believed above all else. He will love getting eye contact with you and knowing that his antics are provoking a reaction. You, the NFH sufferer, are worthless to him and you aren’t fit to lick his shoes and he wants you to SEE that you KNOW it.

Your NFH will only be satisfied by seeing you totally and absolutely defeated. And he wants to see it. But don’t think that this would mean the end of the NFH problems. No sir. This would just make him worse. If he was hitting you and you said “Please stop, that hurts”. The NFH will turn around and do it again, only harder and, we’re practically quoting verbatim from the articles above, they’ll be thinking “I’m a good person and I can do no wrong; therefore I didn’t hurt you and you are lying about it”.

If this is sounding pretty terrible, well, in a way its supposed to. But bear in mind that having an NFH is as nothing compared to living with one. To have to live with someone when you have no sense of self worth and can’t be seen to have sense of self is a living death in our opinion and pity the poor souls who have to live day in and day out with your NFH. Grim? Well yes it is, for them.

“Flippin’ heck NFHiB, this is all sounding a bit depressing. So he has a personality disorder that doesn’t sound as though he will ever be cured. So how does that help us?”

Hold on, hold on! You’re getting ahead of yourself. We’ll get onto how this will help you later but lets have a look at some of the NFH/NPD weaknesses. Yes, yes you can rub your hands with glee if you want.

NFHs/NPDs are pathetic and naïve. No, they really are, despite their superficial appearance. They will gripe on and on for years about the same old thing. To the extent that others will be sick of hearing of it. In fact they’re so out of touch with what goes on that they are subject to exploitation and often won’t recognise when someone is making a complete fool of them. They’re also in love with the image of their ideal selves which we know doesn’t exist and they want to know that people adore them or in your case, be intimidated by them. NFH (we won’t keep putting NPD as well. You know what we mean), have a weird sense of time. They’re almost frozen. So they have a very poor memory. So when your NFH says one things and then later on says something completely contradictory, its not as though they’re lying.

They genuinely can’t remember. Even when they’ve written it down. They will often concoct a story about some events totally believing that it is the truth. That it was their ideal self who carried out the events exactly as they describe them. The real self being almost totally suppressed.

NFHs will also cling to authority figures as they know they don’t think very well so all of their opinions will be based on those they perceive to be knowledgeable on a subject. These people are also geniuses at “Come closer, so I can slap you”. If your NFH suddenly appears normal again, do NOT trust them. Ever! They’re softening you up for something else. Something really nasty.

NFHs also think that the rest of the world is like them except they’re honest and we are all hypocrites, in that the world will casually exploit them as much as they try to exploit you. The appearance that the NFH wants to give the rest of the world means everything to them as their self-hatred knows no bounds. Their real self, in their eyes, is totally suppressed and hidden away. They’re ashamed of their real life. They’re impulsive so they often don’t consider the possible consequences of their actions.

So. Do you think you now understand your NFH more and why they act the way they do? We hope you do because that leads us nicely onto the bits you’ve been waiting for. How to defend yourself against the NFH and how to fight back against the NFH.

We’re hoping now that you’re seeing your NFH with a veil having been lifted exposing all the greasy cogs and workings underneath. Or maybe you’re visualising that evil power source of the NFH we mentioned earlier. A swirling mass throwing out tentacles which embrace others to engage in their revolting behaviour or trying to exterminate others by spitting out its venom. But we’ve spent enough time analysing these specimens. Now the innermost workings of your NFH have been exposed, its time for us to throw a few spanners in his works.

6a. DEFENDING YOURSELF AGAINST THE NFH (SECTION 1)

Oh and before we forget…ok, OK so you didn’t forget. That’s the spirit.

As we’ve already looked at our typical NFH characteristics, you should now realise that above all else he wants a reaction, he wants eye contact, ultimately he wants you to know that you’re being intimidated by him.

We’ll be covering some strategies to cover these in a moment, but we’re willing to bet that there’s a fair chance that your NFH’s strategy has already been working to some extent. He probably is intimidating you and getting a reaction from you thus causing you more misery. Well, why else would you be here?

But while we can come up with strategies to combat your NFH, we want you to go much, much further. Our goal at NFHiB is that we want you to be able to go outside in your garden, or walk down the street and be able to pass straight by your NFH within inches, without you being in the slightest bit bothered by it. We accept that there will be occasions such as when the NFH is making a lot of noise but rather than you being upset at this, you will be more likely formulating your next move to combat your NFH.

Now one of the most common issues we have had to come to terms with on NFHiB is when our members have called the police after they have been threatened, sometimes even attacked, or had their property damaged. You’d have thought of all the organisations we have in the UK that the best source of defence would be your local Police Force.

Sadly, however, our experience on NFHiB has shown that whilst the police will attend such incidents, we have come to the conclusion that most police forces are institutionally opposed to getting involved in neighbour disputes, even when the evidence is quite clear. This isn’t to say we are anti-police. We can cite several examples on this board where the police have become actively involved but usually this is when things have gotten way out of control, far more than they should have been allowed to. We should also point out that we would be very happy campers indeed if any member of the police came onto the board or e-mailed us in order to cite evidence that we have, in fact, got our wires completely crossed and that they take Neighbour From Hell situations as seriously as we think they should. We eagerly await a response.

To be fair to the police, it’s also often the case that your NFH will know exactly what they can and can’t get away with. This is why much of their behaviour is cowardly and furtive and much of the harassment takes place when they are sure there are no witnesses to their activities. Whilst the media love to get hold of CCTV footage showing a lot of ranting and raving by NFHs, this is surprisingly rare, and as we know, NFHs can be very, very clever at playing the system having done so for years. If you do make a complaint then they will immediately make a complaint against you making you out to be the villain. They also know full well that the police have to play a balancing act as they won’t know the history of the situation.

In fact with most NFH situations, things have usually got to become worse before the police will take an active involvement. In some respects, this does work to your advantage. Often the police are called out at the beginning of the NFHs antics when we are least on guard and liable to react back exactly how the NFH wants us to react with a few choice words and us losing our temper. The police do recognise that things are said in the heat of the moment. Hopefully though, the police officer will have visited you both and offered the mediation services of the council.

NEVER, EVER REFUSE MEDIATION. There, we told you we’d be saying it again. Your policeman will be making a report and he will have noted who was prepared to accept mediation. If or when your situation reaches court, this is a huge plus in your favour and it’s the first thing we are now pointing out to use as your defence against the NFH.

The secret here is that your NFH plays a series of short term games. He’ll try and rile you one way. The, when that fails, or succeeds (in his eyes), he’ll forget about the first incident and then dream up another way to have a pop at you. He won’t be bright enough to realise that gradually its all building up into a bigger picture. This is why it is VITAL you log every incidence of harassment, intimidation and threats using the log sheets provided on this forum. Also you need to keep meticulous records of any correspondence between you and your NFH. It’s usually the case, however, that any correspondence sent by yourself to the NFH should be kept to a minimum or nil. If you do receive correspondence from your NFH which you believe to be part of their harassment behaviour, then you should either run it by a solicitor, or come to have a word with us on NFHiB. Give it a few days and we’ll have formulated the correct way to respond if at all. If you do, we can guarantee it will be brief and to the point.

Additionally if you haven’t got legal insurance on your home insurance then get it. This is usually an option on most policies nowadays and often only costs a few pounds each year. There is usually a caveat that you can’t use it within a certain time limit of taking it out. E.g. 6 months or so. But it’s worth it for peace of mind, believe us. At the time of writing we’ve only just recently been suggesting this so we’re still assessing the insurance companies’ ability to respond to this sort of problem but the early signs are good.

However bear in mind that insurance companies will only take a case on if they have a reasonable chance of winning so this is why you must take every step to ensure that the case against your NFH is as strong as possible and that you have taken every opportunity to resolve the situation (remember about mediation?).

It’s often the case that if you do receive a letter from your NFH that this will usually be written in very poor English and will often contain threats. This is why you should never, ever respond to a letter you perceive as harassment without seeing a solicitor or us. Most certainly, you should never be tempted to write a similar letter back. Well, OK, its alright to be tempted, but don’t actually do it. The thing is that as soon as you do, your NFH will be able to use this against you. We actually recommend that you never write anything to your NFH direct. Always do this through a solicitor. Whatever you do don’t engage in pointless tit for tat letters. Some members have often written what they’d like to write on our forums just to get it off their chest, but don’t send it.

If your NFH is stupid enough to put threats or intimidating comments in writing, and our experience would seem to suggest that most NFH’s are, these are huge weapons in your arsenal for the future.

The NFHs we seem to have come across will often think that they are cleverer than they actually are. Again its all part of the ideal image they have of themselves which we looked at earlier. They’ll have a perception that they’re being wonderfully clever by writing to you. In their mind, YOU aren’t clever enough to have thought of writing a letter. No sir. Your NFH will think that if he puts his thoughts down on paper then this somehow lends them more legitimacy. The problem for the NFH is that they have a habit of letting their thoughts run away with them so rather than just sticking to facts, they’ll find it very difficult to resist telling you exactly what they think of you. But its one thing to think something, its quite another to state this as fact and your average NFH won’t be able to distinguish between the two as, to the NFH, how could his ideal self be telling lies?

Actually your NFH will have a point that his letters will lend the situation more legitimacy. But should the matter ever come before a court, it won’t be as he expects. He’ll be forced to justify his written statements and actions. And that’s where he will be unravelled. Often spectacularly.

This is why you must be resigned to a long term game with your NFH. He’ll be digging himself into a hole. It’s up to you to let him carry on digging.

“Yes, yes NFHiB, but the biggest problem with my NFH isn’t letters, it’s the day to day stuff. Being unable to go outside, even in my own garden because as soon as we do, the NFH radar detects us and out he comes, often with others.”

Well, the reason we wanted to touch upon written correspondence first is that the same principle applies to other NFH behaviour. Like a bully your NFH craves one thing above all else.

He wants a reaction.

He wants to see you react by shouting out or speaking or getting something as simple as eye contact to know that you’ve heard him. Ultimately he wants to see you broken. Should any of these ever occur then your NFH will have accomplished his goal but that evil power source needs constantly feeding so he’ll be back for more as sure as eggs is eggs. If he can obtain people to act as witnesses then so much the better

But what we’ve found on NFHiB is what infuriates your NFH most of all is seeing that you aren’t affected, leading a normal life and him being totally and utterly ignored.

“But if it infuriates him, won’t that make it worse?”

Well, to some extent, that’s possible and we do know that there are occasions when this happens. But while you are ignoring it on the outside, you must continue to log every single incident of harassment using the log sheets we provide you with. As your NFH gets more and more infuriated, he’ll be driven to more extreme and usually illegal methods of harassing you. He’s after that single reaction. It’s a one round game to your NFH. What he will continually fail to see is the bigger picture. He’ll try one way, see it hasn’t worked, then forget about it and try another. But, like a poor boxer, he won’t last the full 12 rounds.

But the more you ignore him, the more he’ll be thinking that he’s failing in his attempts and this threatens the very essence of his soul or his ideal self. He won’t be wanting this ideal self to be continually losing so at some point, he’ll realise that this self is being threatened and he will do anything to protect it.

6b. DEFENDING YOURSELF AGAINST THE NFH (SECTION 2)

Now this next bit is hard to come to terms with, but if your NFH sees you continually ignoring and being unaffected by his harassment, he will see you as winning the battle. What will most likely happen is that, like all bullies, he will withdraw. Not totally, but he will be admiring or be envious of your behaviour. And being a winner, he will think that he has to do the same, by pretending to ignore you. Thing is your NFH won’t understand the meaning of this and this is where he starts to unravel, again. Often it’s the case that if he can’t get a reaction from you that he will turn on those closest to him.

What you are actually doing is depriving him of his narcissistic supply. You won’t feed him so he will need to go to other sources to feed him. This is why your NFH, like a school bully, will often start forming a gang who he sees as admiring his ideal self. Once recharged then this is where you will often find that other neighbours will begin siding with your NFH.

NFHs have the ability to lie very convincingly and like bullies, they will make out that they are the victim. We’re afraid that it’s the way of the world that there will always be others who will, at least initially, believe the NFHs version. This needs to be defended differently because its one thing to know that your NFH is slightly deranged, its quite another to find that people you once thought of as friends will suddenly, if not be hostile, though some are, they will be siding with the NFH.

“So NFHiB, because you’re saying I should ignore the NFH, now I have a gang of them? Hardly a result!”

True. Dealing with a gang is more difficult but NFHs will be doing this anyway, regardless of how you react. If they can find anyone to give them their narcissistic supply, then they’ll use them, whether you ignore the NFH or not. NFHs love to bad mouth you to other people.

And it can come as quite a shock to suddenly find other people suddenly believing all sorts of rubbish about you. Its also easy to fall into the trap of bad mouthing the NFH to your neighbours. Don’t do this. That’s playing the NFH’s game. If you bad mouth him, the other neighbours will see that, actually your NFH may have a point. Our goal is to show the other neighbours that your NFHs allegations are untrue. Again it’s all part of our long term strategy.

That’s a lot to take in though for the moment so we’ll get onto tactics to tackle the group scenario in a moment.

What you may be wondering is “How can I ignore my NFH?” We realise the difficulty of this as the obvious problem is he’s NEXT DOOR. How can you possibly ignore him?

Well, while we can’t reduce your exposure to 0%, there are steps you can take to reduce it substantially and we’ll look at those now.

If your garden allows it then erect a 6 foot fence between you and your NFH. If the NFH owns the fence you are perfectly entitled to erect a fence on your land adjoining the NFH. You usually can’t do this at the front of the house as there are different laws governing this but we’ve had several members who have put up 6 foot fences to find it changes their world. As the saying goes, “Good fences make Good Neighbours”. We would also recommend that you use concrete posts cemented into the ground.

The sunglasses trick. Your NFH will want to make eye contact with you whenever possible. When you’re outside simply wear a pair of sunglasses. This maddens them no end as they can’t find out what they desperately want to know. That you’re being intimidated.

Ignore, ignore, ignore. Your NFH will make a habit of making comments whenever you walk by or are in earshot. However tempting it may be to react, don’t. Log and record the incident. Your NFH will love nothing more than to see you’re being affected by his comments. If you want to do anything then just smile or laugh but we’ve found its difficult to do this convincingly so we advise do nothing, say nothing. And if you’re caught without your sunglasses, ignore him and avoid eye contact. Many members find this difficult to start with but it does get easier with time.

A similar approach is if you need to walk by your NFH. Our advice is the walk straight by and blank him. Don’t go another way or cross the road. In fact if your NFH is on the other side we’d recommend that you cross over to the same side, but only if you’re going that way.

All the time you do this you are depriving your NFH of his narcissistic supply. Remember this is someone who has probably gone through life trying to intimidate people. Chances are you’re the first person he’s come across who is not only ignoring him, but doesn’t seem that bothered.

This threatens the ideal self of the NFH. His perfect image is being broken by you. And, as we’ve already said, he will do almost anything to protect it so you’ll find after a while that he will avoid contact to avoid being humiliated.

If you do react, in any way, this would make your NFH’s day and he will just get worse. If you don’t react, this churns up his tiny mind.

Now we accept that there may be an occasion when you will need to speak to your NFH. Always be polite and civil and preferably call them by their surname. Mr or Mrs NFH, NEVER by their first name, even if you called them by their first name prior to the start of the NFH difficulties. This adds an air of formality to the proceedings that they will not be comfortable with and it does shake them. Almost as if they’ve been called to account by you. A small gesture but an important one.

As for gangs this is more difficult but the same rules apply. Ignore any provocation and be civil. Chances are your neighbours just want a quiet life and will listen to the NFH spout on and on about you just to keep him quiet but most people will tire of your NFH. They will also have heard how you have been the villain throughout. But if you don’t react or gossip, your neighbours, like normal people, will soon see the situation for what it is. And we can guarantee that your NFH will be relentless in his trashing of you ad nauseam. Whilst people won’t actively fall out with your NFH, you’ll see them drop away or have minimum contact as they will be sick of it and they will probably find your NFHs antics embarrassing.

NFHs with NPD believe the rest of the world is like them. Fortunately for us, they’re not, but your NFH can’t see this.

Again this will be a huge blow to your NFH. All of a sudden, those who he thought were believing his perfect self are disappearing out of his life.

Again we reiterate, it’s a long term game plan for you. Our intention is for your NFH to be backed into a corner where you have logged and recorded everything. The other neighbours see the situation for what it is and your case against him builds up.

So in summary, to defend yourself against the NFH:

  • Never, ever refuse mediation.
  • Log every incidence of harassment, threats or intimidation.
  • Keep records of correspondence.
  • Avoid putting anything in writing to your NFH. Use a solicitor or ask NFHiB first.
  • Obtain legal insurance on your home contents policy.
  • Ignore, ignore, ignore your NFH and their harassment.
  • If possible, erect a 6 foot fence between yourself and your NFH. On your own land if necessary.
  • Never bad mouth your NFH to the other neighbours.
  • Avoid eye contact with your NFH. Use sunglasses wear possible.
  • Never avoid walking past the NFH (difficult we know, but it gets easier).
  • If you ever need to speak to your NFH always be civil and call them by their surname, Mr or Mrs NFH.
  • Remember most people aren’t like the NFH. The NFH thinks they are but in reality they aren’t. The other neighbours will eventually see the truth.
  • Deprive your NFH of his narcissistic supply by not reacting.
  • Visit NFHiB for support.

One of our members has suggested that you operate your own reward scheme. So every time you do not react to the NFH, you place £1 in a piggy bank to positively reinforce this and reward yourself every month or so. We think that’s a great idea if it works for you, but not reacting to your NFH will be driving him mad which you may think is reward enough. We’ll leave that up to you.

This leads us nicely onto the penultimate part of this article.

7. FIGHTING BACK AGAINST YOUR NFH

First off, for those of you who came straight here without reading the rest, go back and start reading again. Much of what we’ll be discussing will be meaningless unless you know the background.

OK? Everyone here who should be here?

So, fighting back. Well, the good news is that if you adopt the policies mentioned in the previous section you’re already fighting back against the NFH. He’s being deprived of what feeds him and he has encountered an adversary who, probably for the first time, refuses to play by his rules.

But is there any kind of direct action you can take? Yes there is, but we repeat that this can only be done legally. Do not fall into the NFH antics of harassment or threats.

If you want a detailed look at narcissists – this website is useful: Detailed look at narcissists – and we’ll be using some of the information contained therein.

But before we delve into fighting back, we need to look a bit closer at your NFHs personality and his weaknesses.

Every NFH situation is different to some degree but we hope we’ve now been able to put in some sort of order how your NFH operates.

NFH’s believe they are clever, far above anyone else. All part of their fantasy ideal self. What we need to distinguish between is the reality and your NFHs fantasy.

This is why it is absolutely vital that you arm yourself with unequivocal 100% true information. As we’ve pointed out, narcissists are superhuman in their ability to concoct a highly plausible story based on the available facts.

But the psychological pillar on which they stand is very fragile and its very easy to break a narcissist. They believe that everyone should cater to their whims.

Should you ever have to deal with your NFH in a legal framework, then if your evidence is absolutely incontrovertible then your NFH will react with rage and a desperate attempt to re-establish his ideal self will expose facts he had no conscious intention of exposing.

Also any insinuation that your NFH isn’t special will make him lose control. If you say he is boring, his needs aren’t everyone’s priority, no special concessions will be made to him, that the court can decide what to do with him as you can’t be bothered to deal with it will all drive him into a rage.

“But if all this drives him into a rage, then won’t this make him worse?”

It could do, but the intention is to deter the NFH. NFHs live in a state of constant rage, repressed aggression, envy and hatred. As they believe everyone else is like them, they are paranoid, suspicious, scared and erratic. To act effectively, one has to strike repeated escalating blows at the NFH, until they let go.

If you react to his provocation them you are letting him know that he is important. The trick is to let him know that he isn’t important, he’s an irrelevance as far as you are concerned. As we know the NFH will play a series of short term games to try and provoke you. Each time you don’t react, his rage builds up until it gets turned in on itself and his ideal self is seriously under threat. If you won’t defer to his ideal self then he will do what he can to protect it and withdraw.

Should your friends or neighbours ever be drawn into a conversation about the NFH, treat it as a minor annoyance. “Oh you mean Mr. NFH next door? Well, he’s not that bad. He’s only a (insert career here). Shame he’s not succeeded in life…If he only realised what we know about him”. That sort of thing. But don’t engage in a full blown character assassination. And only raise it if the other neighbours raise the issue first.

You can also drop hints that you are in possession of information that will finish him off. “Well if we ever got to court, we’ve a mountain of evidence to use, but no big deal”. As long as you maintain a casual air, that you aren’t in the slightest bit bothered by your NFH, he will feel threatened. Of course all of what you say won’t all get back to the NFH but as he is so suspicious and paranoid, he will be wanting to see how you react.

Another way to attack if you’re having vandalism problems is to make out you’ve installed CCTV. NFH’s are so paranoid that they won’t want their antics exposed so will withdraw. How you do this is up to you. By using a fake sticker or fake cameras for example. But make sure these are pointing into your property only. Of course you can always install real cameras. Have a look at the guidelines we have on NFHiB.

You could also do this with noise. If your NFH is playing loud music outside then set up a fake monitoring equipment arrangement. A few wires and speakers out of a briefcase in the garden would probably do. Again your NFH will be after a reaction so he’ll be watching you. In his paranoid mind, if he sees you with what looks like expensive monitoring equipment monitoring him, he’ll withdraw.

What we need to point out is that most of the drama takes place in the paranoid mind of the NFH. His imagination runs amok. He finds himself snarled by horrifying scenarios, pursued by the “vilest” certainties. The NFH is his own worst persecutor and prosecutor.

You don’t have to do much except utter a vague reference, make an ominous allusion, delineate a possible turn of events. Your NFH will do the rest for you. He’s like a little child in the dark, generating the very monsters that paralyse him with fear. Sounds like we’re back on our “quest” again!

Detailed look at narcissists

As you will now know your NFH better than any of us, we’re sure you can think of other methods to deter your NFH. But make sure they are legal. We cannot emphasise this enough.

We hope you’ve now been given the insight to know how your NFH operates but if we go into Lord Of The Rings mode, with this knowledge comes great responsibility.

There are of course, the usual ways of fighting back such as contacting the Environmental Health Department of your local Council and calling the police. The police, as we’ve already mentioned, will often not want to get involved but it’s important that you make them file a report and give you a reference number. Should you end up in court, this will be vital.

If your NFH or a gang is involved in any kind of violence against you, call 999 immediately.

8. KEEP A COOL HEAD

It’s easy to become totally engrossed in the antics of the NFH but we’d like to conclude by saying that whilst your NFH will be paranoid and your reaction, or lack of it, will be dominating his every thought, its important that you get on with your life.

We hope we’ve provided you with the understanding and the tools to combat most of your NFH problems.

Our ultimate aim at NFHiB is that you can recognise that you’re not the only ones to be suffering at the hands of NFHs and ideally we don’t want you to have to visit NFHiB at all. Make sure that you make the time, most of your time, to be with your friends or family or doing what you enjoy. Your NFH should occupy only a small percentage of your life. If you do feel the need to rant about your NFH, then that is what we are here for. To offer advice and above all to listen knowing that we know what you are going through.

You now know how your NFH operates so hopefully you’ll be better prepared to deal with him.

And remember…

“I AM NOT ALONE”

Ok,OK; so you did remember!

Barking Mad!

barking_dogsArticle Covers:

– Have you got a noisy dog next door?

– Find out why you hear dog noise!

This article has been reproduced with the kind permission of David Appleby of The Pet Behaviour Centre.

David has excellent pet behaviour advice on his website (no longer active as of 2015) and is the author of “Ain’t Misbehavin’: a good behaviour guide for family dogs”. David’s book contains excellent advice and information for dog owners and non-pet owners alike, who are seeking further details regarding preventing/resolving separation problems and territorial aggression, etc.

“Barking Mad”, by David Appleby

Do you get complaints from the neighbours when you go out, or wish you could hear yourself speak while on the telephone? You’re not alone! Barking comes naturally, but many people find it one of the most difficult problems to treat.

Did you know that dogs can communicate by using ten different types of sound, ranging from whimpering to growling.

By varying the tone of those sounds, they can convey no less than 39 different meanings. For example, a dog can use one type of growl if it’s being defensive, and a slightly different growling sound if it intends to be aggressive. The complete repertoire of canine audible communication is grunting, whining,yelping, screaming, howling, growling, tooth snapping, panting as a form of play soliciting and a type of cough that is some times used in defence, or as a threat. What most dogs excel at, of course, is barking. Dogs bark for a variety of reasons. The only time dogs won’t bark to communicate, is when they are displaying submissive behaviour.

Although barking is useful and normal as a means of communication, in excess it can be a nuisance for the humans who live in the dog’s pack, and for their neighbours.

Barking to deter people from entering the owner’s property is fine if there’s an occasional intrusion up the garden path, but if there’s a succession of people passing the property and the dog barks at them all, it can become an annoyance. Unfortunately, owners often attempt to silence their dog by shouting at it, but as the dog’s communication skills don’t extend to understanding English, it simply assumes the owners are barking too, and continues undeterred, or even redoubles its effort.

Others discover barking makes their owner give then attention, if only to shout ‘Shut up!’ Eventually the dog may seem to develop an imagination, and bark at nothing at all, just to get a response from its owner.

However, the main reason why dogs learn to bark excessively at every person who passes their territory is the simple fact that most of those people go away again. The dog doesn’t realise they didn’t want to come in – it thinks it has successfully chased them off.

Dog owners often fall foul of the local environmental health department because their dogs bark incessantly when left alone. Such dogs are attempting to call their owners back home again, but because they do eventually come back, the dog thinks that barking was effective – so barks with even more determination next time. The cause of this problem behaviour normally lies in the dog’s overly close relationship with its owners when they are at home. This causes anxiety when they leave, because it cannot cope without them.

In the wild, the dog’s ancestor, the wolf howls to enable it to communicate and relocate its pack. As permanently immature versions of their relatives, dogs generally tend to bark rather than howl, just as adolescent wolves do For some owners however, their dog’s company craving vocal behaviour is not limited to when they go out. No doubt you have visited a friend’s house for a chat, only to find their dog drowns out the conversation by barking for ten minutes after you have arrived, or throughout the entire visit. In an attempt to stop the deafening barrage, your friend rugby tackles the dog, tells it to be quiet, or puts a hand down to stroke it. Of course, any of these strategies will simply encourage the dog to continue barking as soon as it is ignored again.

Plenty of couples also have to check carefully where their dog is before they have a kiss and a cuddle. If they are observed, their affectionate display is likely to be quickly terminated by an apparently jealous dog, shouting at the top of its voice. The same sort of attention seeking barking can occur if the owner is on the phone, watching television or concentrating on driving the car.

QUIETLY DOES IT

For example, if every time your dog barks for attention you get up and walk out of the room, or silently turn your back, it will eventually learn that barking is counter-productive.

However, more entrenched displays of vocal behaviour may require some means of inhibition, with specialised help from a behaviour counsellor, such as a member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors, and should be sought via your veterinary surgeon.

I would not recommend any device to stop vocalization without an attempt to address the reasons for the noise. For example, if a dog has a tendency to bark for attention, it would be harsh to try and stop the barking, without showing the owners how the dog tries even harder to get noticed when they are preoccupied. Giving attention when the owners decide improves their dog’s capacity to cope with being ignored. Only when this has been achieved is it time to think of ways of stopping the habitual barking that remains. To use an analogy, you have to disengage the drive from the engine before it’s safe to apply the brakes.

Believe it or not, one of the simplest ways to teach a dog not to bark is to teach it to bark on command. First, find a way of enticing your dog to bark. You may find it will bark out of excitement if you hold its food bowl up in the air, or you may only need to use a titbit, or a toy. Tying your dog up safely may also increase frustration, and stimulate it to be vocal. When, with a bit of friendly teasing, your dog does bark, praise it and repeat the word ‘speak!’. If you do the exercise often enough, your dog will associate the word ‘speak’ with the act of barking and you will be able to get it to bark on command. The point of the exercise is then to introduce the word, ‘quiet!’ or ‘stop!’ while your dog is barking, and give it a toy or food treat. If the exercise is repeated often enough, your dog will associate the signal to be quiet with the cessation of barking and a reward.

Reward is, of course, the best motivation of behaviour, so it’s important to praise the dog at the time it’s doing the right thing, not afterwards. This means rewarding it when it stops barking, and also when it doesn’t bark in a situation which would normally set it off. When your dog is lying quietly and allowing you to chat to visitors unmolested, or when your neighbours come home and your dog doesn’t bark, you can praise and reward it, which will encourage your dog to remain quiet the next time too.

Good luck, and go in peace!

© David Appleby – Reproduced with kind permission from David Appleby