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Hell In An Idyllic Rural Village

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  • Hell In An Idyllic Rural Village

    My partner and I have just found your site. Congratulations, we wish we’d known about it before. We thought we’d share our experiences with you.

    We moved to a beautiful village after 2 years of hell suffering noise problems in London – the neighbours above us used to accommodate up to 20 people in their one bedroomed flat. On occasion, the neighbour even laughingly told me that there were so many visitors that people were even sleeping on the kitchen floor. The building was a converted house with no sound insulation, only wooden floorboards separated the flats. After one particularly horrific weekend we decided enough was enough and decided to move. We found a semi detached in a tiny village in the countryside which was everything we ever wanted, and moved in last winter.

    Talk about out of the frying pan! Initially everything was great, but as spring turned to summer we realised with horror that the NFH story was repeating itself. The neighbours (they’re housing association tenants) with whom we shared a common wall starting having parties every weekend. A 5000 litre swimming pool (portable) was erected 2 feet from the common fence (about 6 feet from our living room windows) and a shed was placed in the garden housing a permanent hi-fi in the garden. The neighbours would turn up the volume and party.

    The party on Good Friday this year was unbelievable – the music was so loud we couldn’t stay in the house, went for a walk and the music was booming in the fields some 400 yards away. This went on from 12am nonstop to 11 pm that night. Confronted the neighbour politely the next day and were told to “P^ss off”, “F”*k off back to London” etc. My partner talked me out of reporting the neighbours to their housing association (its a small village and we didn’t want trouble, we thought that with a bit of luck it wouldn’t happen again). But it did, just a week or two later. I guess the neighbours thought that the housing association had refused to take action. The next party started on Friday at about 5pm and went through to Sunday. We didn’t approach them, not much use after getting verbal abuse. At this stage we started logs and wrote to housing association. On the Monday after the party I was confronted by the wife outside our house who bizarrely accused us of writing down their car registration plates. Her husband stood in the doorway and screamed “a*sehole” at me. I blanked her, and she responded by saying that she would take further action.

    What happened next was really horrifying. A terror campaign was launched against us – rubbish thrown over the fence, husband tried to dislodge our fence posts, music played nonstop (loud then soft, up and down, not even like they were listening to the music). The scariest part was that everytime they did something, and we didn’t respond they went one step further – at this stage we honestly thought we were going to end up being the victims of violence. No response from the housing association – we got a letter saying their housing officer was away on leave for 2 weeks. Over a 5 day period we had to get the police out 3 times. The PC was great – he said “They [our neighbours] don’t like you and are trying to get you out”. Matters came to a head when our NFH took a hammer to the common wall of our sitting room and just hammered starting on one side and worked their way along. It was really frightening – it sounded just like someone was trying to break into the house. Your instinctive reaction is panic, get out of the house, you’re in danger, then your brain kicks in and tells you “it’s only the mad NFH”. I called the police while this was happening and the operator could hear the hammering over the phone. Police despatched, neighbours warned again.

    Went to the housing association in person 9am next morning (after taking the day off work). Completely stressed out, its amazing how you just stop eating and sleeping under these circumstances. Initially the housing association reaction was favourable, letter issued warning that they could be evicted. But that’s about it – we never even got written confirmation from the housing association about the outcome. The PC involved then phoned me to say that he had called again to the NFH – he said they “weren’t happy” with the letter. The PC said that the NFH had no excuse for the hammering incident. This worried me (sounded like he was warning us) so I phoned their housing officer to find out what had happened – she simply said that the NFH had been warned, but at the same time told me that the next party was going ahead in 4 weeks time. Their housing officer even disputed the PC’s account – apparently our neighbours had claimed that they were breaking up a shelving unit. She wasn’t prepared to speak to the other neighbours who had witnessed the verbal abuse.

    One month’s relative peace followed, but it’s all starting up again. Slightly different this time, the NFH’s barbeque has been pushed up against our fence so we can’t open our windows without smoke and fumes coming into the house. Music still loud but not as bad, now on weekends we can’t sleep because there are people screaming and jumping into the pool up to 1:30am in the mornings. Crackers and fireworks are let off after midnight. I have come to hate the summer weather now, we haven’t been able to use the garden for months now. We escort the dog out to do their business in the garden, when the dog even gives a muted bark, the husband shouts “Shut that dog up”. And on and on and on ......

    This time round we have got a solicitor. So we’ve arranged to stay with relatives in London and we’re getting out for safety’s sake. We strongly suspect there are mental health problems, but it’s impossible to verify and impossible to gauge whether we are safe in our home. Can’t sell without taking a loss (we’ll have to disclose the dispute).

    We’ve logged everything meticulously, photos etc so we have plenty of evidence. We resigned to the fact that we might have to get out, really sad because our dreams of a happy life in our 1st home are pretty much shattered.

    One last thing – if you read the horror stories on the site, no matter what the details are, there is one common thread. Under the present legislation it’s pretty clear that you have no adequate protection from the actions of unreasonable people. And so often these actions are criminal. What do the moderators/senior members think about forming a pressure group to lobby MP’s to review current legislation? The technology exists to email MP’s with a minimal inconvenience. There are say 500 members of, so surely if we got members to email their MP’s (every month if necessary) something could be achieved? I’ve seen something like this set up on an anti-cruelty to animal web site where you had the facility to look up your MP and email/fax him/her directly. What do other people think?

    This is the 2nd time in a row we’ve gone through this. If we have to move again, the chances are the new neighbours will be OK. But there are no guarantees and we are painfully aware that under the present legal set-up reasonable people are not adequately protected. It’s insane!

  • #2
    Hi Archie and welcome

    What dreadful neighbours you have moved next door to. It must be absolute hell for you to have to put up with this sort of behaviour and especially since it is worse than the last neighbour from hell that you had

    I'm sure the others will be along soon and will be able to advise you on how you can take further action. I think it may be a very good idea to contact the local Environmental Health Office and report what is going on etc. It sounds as though you already have the backing of the local PC, which is a good thing

    Good Luck :clover:



    • #3
      Hi Archie and welcome to the forum

      From the sound of it you not only have NFH but dangerous NFH as well. The HA don't seem to be taking you seriously enough. Have you approached your MP or local councillors?

      I don't think there's much advice we can give because you seem to have done all the right things so far.

      This is the 2nd time in a row we’ve gone through this. If we have to move again, the chances are the new neighbours will be OK. But there are no guarantees and we are painfully aware that under the present legal set-up reasonable people are not adequately protected. It’s insane!

      I can't agree strongly enough with that statement. It's ridiculous how difficult it is to get the appropriate authorities to deal with NFH in a swift manner.

      A pressure group seems a good idea although there is, hopefully going to be some legislation in the near future that might help some people. I think we'll have to discuss this further amongst the members.

      Have to go now, it's late, but I'm sure others will be here to give their advice. Take care

      "Almost anything you do will seem insignificant, but it is very important that you do it. You must be the change that you wish to see in the world." Gandhi


      • #4

        Oh dear, I feel dreadfully sorry for you and your situation.

        These people have eroded your peace of mind and that is horrendous. :sad:

        Sounds like you are a victim of the 'you don't belong from round here' NFH type. :unsure:

        I hope your solicitor can help you out here - I am sorry I can only offer you my sympathy and not much advice but you are sure to get all the help & support you need right here .




        • #5
          This is so awful....your solicitor, police, EH and the HA MUST do more, keep on at them.

          I know you have to live there in the meantime and it isn't pleasant.

          If you don't have a video recorder or web cam GET ONE.....this helped our case and the 'bully' turned on his heal and run (their house is up for sale) and it's been so quiet since.

          Hang in there.....stick around because there is so much support here.




          • #6

            Just gutted for you with all of this.

            My neighbour does have a mental health problem and his wife helps him along that bit further by winding him up into the process.

            However, I was having a chat with our solicitor on Tuesday and he told me that if you do come to sell, when it comes to making the declaration on the sellers information booklet you can declare what has gone on there, you don't need to say anything when the buyers come to look at your home or even when they put in an offer. Generally the buyers are so emotionally attached to the house by then that they will just go ahead and buy anyway.

            Apparently its all in the wording and you can get your solicitor to help you out when filling it in - it will also cover you for the future too.


            • #7
              Thanks for all the replies and support, it really helps us keep going ... we only had a couple of hours of sleep because of screaming, foul language and (new development) fireworks/crackers after midnight. Also thanks Scooby, what you said confirms what our solicitor told us re declaring disputes.

              Re: the comments about getting EH involved. We initially forwarded our complaints about the insane noise levels to EH, the HA and our local councillor. Of all the relevant local authorities, EH were most effective. As described above, the HA haven’t even responded in writing as to the outcome of their investigation, the local councillor, well, we emailed immediately after we made the complaint (no answer), followed up with a recorded delivery letter (it took him 3 weeks to reply that it was entirely up to the HA, basically washing his hands of any responsibility), so....

              The situation at present is one in which because we had the “nerve” to say something, the NFH decided that they would drive us out of our home. Thank goodness for the local PC, but having said that, at the end of the day, there’s nothing he can really do, until there is actual violence or we can prove criminal damage.

              The situation has now degenerated into full-blown anti-social behaviour in which the noise nuisance is just a manifestation.

              But the truly insane part of this is after phoning numerous solicitors, we’ve established the following:

              (1) There is no law protecting us from the action of NFH i.e. it is very difficult to seek legal redress because there is no legislation covering these situations. OK, the local council has provisions for anti-social behaviour under section 152 of the Housing Act, but they hardly ever use it, because it makes their lives too difficult.

              (2) One of the solicitors we phoned immediately asked what the value of our home was – he told me he had a case which was going to court. Expected time in court will be 5 days, his fees will amount to £40 000. So unless your home is worth in excess of say, £ 1 million, it’s simply not worth it.

              (3) Another solicitor pointed out that even in cases of criminal damage (like our NFH trying to dislodge our fence posts), one has to insist that the police investigate properly (because often they don’t). His parting words were “In cases like these, the dispute can only be resolved when one neighbour moves”. So why does the reasonable, peaceful party usually have to go?

              Thank goodness the lawyer who handled our conveyancing felt in some way duty bound to help, she had to make a special application because we live in a conservation area.

              Why is there no effective legislation protecting victims of this kind of abuse? NFH clearly have terrible consequences on people simply trying to lead normal lives. Some of the stories on this site are horrendous, lighted cigarettes thrown through letter boxes, noise emanating from suspected child abuse and local council unwilling to take appropriate action etc etc (depressing I know, but that doesn’t suprise me anymore).

              I remember reading about a case in London in a council tower block where someone who was subjected terrible noise, flipped mentally, poured petrol into his/her NFH’s letter box and set their flat alight ... people burned to death, others died after jumping (don’t remember details but there were fatalities). It sickens me that we see that NFH programme on TV where people are seriously injured by their NFH (case where someone was left permanently brain damaged by some NFH after assault as a result of local council’s failure to act). It’s truly ghastly, it’s not entertaining. It’s in NOBODIES’ interest that it should come to this.

              We need legislative protection: we pay our council tax and our MP’s and local Councillors are supposed to represent our interests. Victims of NFH have rights which are trodden on left right and centre. And it’s precisely because we don’t have protection of the law that NFH situations can end up with violence, injury and in some cases death.

              The idea I was trying to promote is this: it’s possible, using technology to locate one’s MP and with a couple of clicks email/fax him/her. I was thinking of some pro forma letter stating our case and maybe follow it up with details of each complainants case (open to ideas here). I’ve seen it done before .... racking my brain but can’t remember exactly where .... think it was an animal rights/Greenpeace web site. If one person complains, nothing happens, but if we all complain, surely we have a fighting chance.

              As far as I can see, unless one can call the police/local authorities and demand action in terms of some Act, the tales of horror and abuse will just continue.

              P.S: One last thing, what we found is that it’s no use relying on support of other neighbours. We live in a tiny village in an isolated row of only 6 houses. Our other neighbours are aware of the problem, but as long as they don’t have to bear the brunt of it, it’s easier to look the other way. To some extent I can understand this: 1 very old man living alone, a middle aged spinster, single mum (our immediate adjoining neighbours) are in no position to fight the intimidation we have been subjected to. I also believe that because we will not tolerate the behaviour of our NFH, our neighbours hope that the situation will be resolved without their direct involvement.


              • #8
                I wonder if the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 might be appropriate in your case? Have a look at it in the resources section of the site. It's helped some but from what Scooby has said it's a long hard slog. Still, it might help a little. Have a look and ask the local PC about it as well.

                Good luck

                "Almost anything you do will seem insignificant, but it is very important that you do it. You must be the change that you wish to see in the world." Gandhi


                • #9
                  Spot on Misty, I was going to recommend this myself, but you beat me to it.

                  * Archie

                  There is no law protecting us from the action of NFH i.e. it is very difficult to seek legal redress because there is no legislation covering these situations. OK, the local council has provisions for anti-social behaviour under section 152 of the Housing Act, but they hardly ever use it, because it makes their lives too difficult.

                  There is some protection with this legislation. I have it against our neighbour and as I type this I am waiting for the police to come out, once they have the statement from us they will arrest Madhatter (hopefully) and then stick him before the courts.

                  We have had a long list of damage, violence and abuse. Since the PFHA was brought in to action against him I have logged 13 seperate violations to this act, now the police will act. Its been long and protracted but, having this in place gives us some comfort.

                  Speak to your local police officer and tell him that as you have had more than two seperate incidents logged against your NFH you want this act placed on them.

                  Both Thorneyside and I have it and it has been a real boon for Thorney I know, he has had so much comfort and help out of it. I really think its for you too.

                  You can Pm me anytime if you need to ask anything that you don't want to logg down here just click on my name and then it will come up with all my details and then click e-mail.


                  • #10
                    Scooby and Misty (and all the other posters), thank you so much for your help!! The Protection from Harrasment Act sounds like an excellent lead. We're getting out of our home this weekend for a bit of respite. Will be seeing solicitor on Monday and will definitely raise this with her. We've got many more than 2 incidents attended by the local police so from an initial layman's look at this Act it seems to be applicable.

                    We also emailed our local MP this am and will try this as well. I guess I'm idealistic, but something seems to be terribly wrong with the whole legal setup as it stands at the moment. We have become experts in letter-writing and my partner is now sending all correspondence and photographs to Cherie Booth-Blair. Ok, it may not do any good but we need to bombard any possible source of help to make them aware of inadeqacies in the law and the erosion of standards.

                    Thank you all very much, you've been wonderful! It is amazing how much strength you can draw form others who have similar experiences and are willing to take the time to offer advice and sympathy.


                    • #11
                      Hi Archie.

                      I can only offer my sympathy and I totally agree with you re the pressure group.

                      Let me move house and get away from the hassle that surrounds me and I will be able to give some energy and time to this. Why should us decent people be forced out of our homes and have all the upheaval stress upset and financial cost? anti social people need to be stamped on, and us owner occupiers are in particular need of help.

                      I am wondering what was said by the previous owners of your property when you bought the house. where these divvies living next door at that time? if so, you might investigate whether they moved because of the neighbours. if they didnt disclose a dispute, there are plenty of precedents set whereby you can sue them.

                      also dont give up on the housing association, these people do not have the right to be nuisances and it will be written into the terms of their tenancy. if you succeed in getting a protection form harrassment order and they then break it, well i feel sure the housing association cannot argue against that and will have to get off thier botties and do something!!!!!

                      i bet you are like me, i wonder why i moved out of London to a nice quiet place only to find it a nest of vipers!!! so i am moving back, at least you know where you stand in London!!!

                      take care

                      I decree today that life

                      Is simply taking and not giving

                      England is mine - it owes me a living

                      But ask me why, and I'll spit in your eye

                      Oh, ask me why, and I'll spit in your eye ~ Morrisey/Marr

                      Politics is Showbusiness for ugly people ~ Jay Leno

                      I don't like liars, I don't like cheats. I don't like bullsh***ters. I don't like schmoozers. I don't like ar*e-lickers. ~ Sir Alan Sugar

                      "Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford." ~ Samuel Johnson

                      The secret of success is the capacity to overcome failure ~ Noel Coward

                      An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn’t happen today ~ Laurence J. Peter

                      Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine ~ Lord Byron

                      Better bread with water than cake with trouble ~ Russian Proverb

                      There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a cup of tea ~ Bernard-Paul Heroux

                      Carpe Diem

                      Give Yourself to It ~ Sue Gadenne


                      • #12

                        You are SO right. We never experienced anything like this in London (and my partner was born and lived there for nearly 40 years). Energy levels is a real problem for us because we spend every waking moment thinking about what has happened, what will happen next and how to resolve the situation. One thing we are sure of is that we won't forget this horrible situation and will not just relax when it is over for us - We all have a responsibility to society so we will fight for change even if our NFH drown in their own swimming pool tomorrow (sorry, but hope keeps us going!).

                        The previous owner of this propoerty was over 80 years old, profoundly deaf and lived in the USA for half of the year with his family (guess which half... Yes, the Summer months). So, seeing as the property was sold by his relatives in the USA we doubt that there is any comeback there. The Housing Association has already stated that there were no previous complaints (but that's no surprise, under the circumstances).

                        The Housing Association is the key issue here, in our books. The NFH may be responsible for the nightmare that we are enduring but the Housing Association is reponsible for its tenants, their actions and their visitors. That is the approach which we are taking with our solicitors - We are doing our utmost to ensure that the Housing Association is held to account and takes action. These NFH are already in breach of their tenancy agreement and the Housing Association must carry out their responsibilities.

                        We're sorry to hear about you going back to London because that ruins your plans. This makes me SO angry - No-one has the right to drive others out of their home.

                        We really have no idea how we have both held down jobs throughout this whole experience - I have had to speak to my bosses about the situation and ask for tolerance because I know that I am not focussing on my job as much as I should. So far I have been fortunate in their understanding.

                        We both wish you luck and hope that you get some peace of mind when you return to London. Draw strength from the knowledge that there ARE other sane and decent people out there who understand how you feel and will not give up. Good luck, Annabel.


                        • #13
                          WOW!! welcome Archie!

                          what utter idiots you have as neighbours!

                          you sound like you are doing a lot of stuff, its good to be empowered!

                          have you managed to get the EHO out of hours number yet?

                          this group was set up as a support group but slowly we are becoming a pressure group as well.

                          we are having a lot more press coverage now, and only last week 3 members of the board went to a local council meeting

                          officals are starting to know who we are and what we want!!! :nfh1:

                          I always start by inviting councillors etc to vist the site and see the extent of the problem, then once they have looked you ask "so....what you going to do about it!!!"

                          we are involved with several other noise groups and we have just heard about national noise awareness day next year (more to follow soon!) next year its going to be a whole week, so watch out all you politicians!!

                          it will be power to the people!

                          BTW, bet its tempting to pop the pool!!


                          • #14
                            Hi Beth,

                            Yes, "idiots" is the word. These people do not work, so their rent is presumably paid for by the DSS and they have a three bedroom semi-detached (their two children were taken into care at a young age, apparently). They are living the life of Reilly and don't even have the sense to shut up when their Housing Association has told them to. Common sense would tell you "let's play it quiet this year because our new neighbours will probably move after what we've done anyway". It sounds terrible but what really gets me is that we are struggling to function at work, to pay for a mortgage on a house which we have come to hate, AND we're paying for them to live in such an anti-social way. Crazy.

                            Hmm, as for the EHO: The out of hours number is an emergency number and (wait for it) is actually another district altogether. It seems like unless you have someone using a piledriver outside your house at 3am, calling their number is a waste of time. The Police don't have any real powers to solve this situation (unless one of us is attacked) and we don't want to alienate an excellent local Policeman who grapsed the situation right off that bat. We'll continue with the logs and keep pressurising the Housing Association through our Solicitors.

                            Our local councillor suggested mediation but what is the point with people who are probably on benefits for depression or some other mental problem? None and in our view you can't live next to people like this after they have waged a war of intimidation on you. One of us has to move. Ideally it would be them because this place is absolutely ideal if you remove them from the equation. However, we want to get to the point where we can sell and not lose money (or fear comeback from the purchaser) or, better still, get the Housing Association to buy the property from us. That would be sweet because neighbours have told us that there were plans to develop more social housing at the back of the property before we bought this house and that would cut the NFH garden in half. This is one of the worst things about this situation: You know that this is where you want to be but can not carry on this way. One day you feel like packing everything and getting out and the next day you think "Why should we? This is our home". One thing is for sure, it can not continue the way it is. Sorry, I'm rambling, now!

                            Congratulations on having the strength to be so active in the war against noise and anti-social behaviour. It's reassuring to read about other people being so active and good to read about organised, decent people fighting for a right to live in peace.

                            ps he-he Yes, a slow leak is very tempting but we're trying to get it removed on the ground that it devalues our property (a much better and long-term solution!).

                            We're off to stay with friends for the weekend in a few minutes (driven out of our own home again!) so we probably won't get a chance to reply to any more posts until Sunday night when we get back. Thanks again, everyone, for the support.


                            • #15
                              Hi Archie

                              Have a good weekend