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My Nfh Fifteen Years Ago

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  • My Nfh Fifteen Years Ago

    My neighbours from hell experience happened 15 years ago in an East Coast town. It has many of the sadly all too familiar features, mainly dirt / rubbish, persistent verbal abuse and threats, but in my case also included physical assault which seems thankfully rarer.

    I don't really want to go into the details of the perpetrators or the events, especially as it was so long ago, but thought I could usefully detail some of the interaction I had with police/council etc. which may be of interest in terms of how typical a response i got and whether things have improved.

    I was a private homeowner of a right-to-buy council house on a council estate (bad move !) NFH's were council tenants as were other neighbours.

    Background : I moved in and had no trouble with NFH's for the first year.

    Incident 1 - NFH female throws rubbish (inc. used nappies) on top of shared brick shed repetedly.

    Reported to : Environmental health

    Action taken : nothing

    Was i satisfied: no

    Incident 2 - Verbal altercation between me an NFH female about dirt issue. More rubbish thrown, also into garden. Verbal threat by NFH male. Part of fence mysteriously vanishes giving NFH access to my garden.

    Reported to : police, (threatening behaviour, criminal damage)

    action taken : nothing (too trivial !)

    Was I satisfied : no

    Incident 3 - Verbal abuse by NFH female and male, leading to physical assualt by NFH male holding my collar tightly and shaking me, damaging clothing but no physical marks.

    reported to : police (assault)

    action taken: police interviewed NFH (not under caution)

    no further action as he claimed i'd hit him and only female NFH witness. 'My word against his' did not consult solicitor (second mistake - as this was my last chance to prevent escalation)

    Also : reported this and previous incidents to council.

    Incident 4 - House burgled, no damage 2000 pounds worth of things stolen, NFH's suspected, though not proven.

    Reported to : police

    action taken: usual (fingerprints etc..)

    Incident 5 - verbal threat by female NFH for being a 'grass'. Threat was that male NFH would assault me.

    Reported to: Council

    action taken: I was re-assured that family were about to 'be moved' because of anti-social behaviour.

    Incident 6 - Unprovoked, planned assault by male NFH and male accomplice. Witnessed by female NFH and NFH daughter (about 16) and NFH-related female, also witnessed by 2 other neighbours (retired couple). Assault was designed to humiliate/frighten me not lasting physical harm. NFH had a plastic toy cricket bat from child's cricket set (I know this doesn't sound a fearsome weapon in hindsight !) and silver spray paint. Result of the attack was bruising and soreness from strikes with the bat, spray paint on the skin and a sore shoulder from an arm lock. Shaken.

    Reported to: police (did not report spray paint element of attack)

    action taken : NFH were interviewed under caution. Police removed 'cricket bat'. NFH Largely denied assault. Denied other attacking party's presence. Other neighbours declined to be witnesses. Police less dismissive than usual, bring charges of common assault as evidence of bruising and damage to clothing. Photographs taken. Access to victim support and counselling offered.

    Reported to : Council

    Outcome : Family were moved by the council at last (about 3 weeks after incident6). According to council, it was because of 'anti-social' behaviour and burglary. Was told by police that someone connected with them, but not them had admitted to the burglary of my house. Do not know if charges were brought in connection with burglary. Assault charges were dropped (again I did not consult a solicitor) - embarrasment was a factor here.

    Timescale : From Incident 1 to family being moved 7 months. I didn't keep a diary so dates not exact.

    Conclusions/ Lessons for dealing with NFH:

    Police / Council were too dismissive of first assault. Had they or i got a grip earlier it wouldn't have deteriorated. Always keep evidence/diary. Assault charges must be supported by evidence of physical harm. I believe in this particular case, the hatred directed at me was 'displaced' from other people. They had trouble with a number of neighbours and it all got focussed on me. Also family members were in trouble with the law for criminal activity. There was no reasoning with them, you have to use the law and not be intimidated.

    I genuinely did absolutely nothing to deserve this, except for remonstrate about the dirtiness and report them to police/council.

    I realise that, as I don't know why exactly they were moved, I can't really gauge how effective my complaints were. I can say, though that the council did not keep me informed. My feeling that, when the possibility of real violence became so great they couldn't ignore it, that was the clincher. Either that or the burglary connection did for them.

    I don't know if it would have been different had i handled the original dirt issue in a different way. With hindsight I'm amazed I survived this as well as i did, however I certainly should have seen a solicitor and pressed charges more determinedly. Also amazing was that that i lived next to them for nearly a year (before first incident) and hardly gave them a second thought during this period !

    What happened to me :

    I moved away one year after the NFH and now live on the West coast !! And not in an ex-council house. And my neighbours are lovely.

  • #2
    Hi Philip

    Thanks for sharing your story. I am glad you are now happily settled and your new neighbours are nice.

    It gives me hope for the future that there is life after nfh.




    • #3
      Hi philip_J and welcome to the Forum

      Thank you for relating the problems you had with your neighbours from hell (NFH) - I'm so pleased that you are now living somewhere else with "normal" neighbours, it must be such a relief for you.

      I think many members will be able to identify with the inaction of both the Council and the Police - even now.

      Thank you for adding your advice about recording everything. I think it is the one most important thing that people can do. In this day and age, authorities want evidence (in some shape or form) - the more you can give them, the more notice they will take of you.

      Thanks again.


      • #4
        Hi Philip

        I am so glad you got away and seem happy now. It is good to read a follow up. What started with filth being thrown escalated into an actual assault. I must say I do believe this shows how the initial incident developed and is a lesson to me that my fears are justified in my own situation. If you had been under the impression early on that it was going to lead to an attack but couldn't prove it, I wonder what you could have done to prevent it??

        Theres a good question to all. What can you do to prevent a fairly iminant altercation. Do you just wait for it to happen? Do you hide?

        Philip you highlight what I am sure so many fear and struggle to cope with




        • #5
          Hi Philip and welcome

          Thanks for telling your story. I'm glad to hear that you got away and now have nice neighbours. Like you we bought our council house and like you we'd say 'big mistake'. I'd encourage anybody thinking of buying their council house to think again. You could find yourself trapped in a situation with NFH and rapidly deteriorating property prices.

          Unfortunately things don't seemed to have changed much since you had NFH. We are still hearing of inaction from police, council and HAs. I don't know if it's apathy on the part of the various agencies or too much red tape strangling any efforts they might take. But it has to change before people start taking matters into their own hands.

          "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


          • #6

            In reading through the stories in the 'What's your story?' section, again and again the same broad discriptions are used to discribe the situations people on the forum are facing - it's very tragic. The government's response (forcing people to declare any dispute when moving) is proof that neighbour discord is not only very common but is on the increase. It's difficult to imagine what could be done to prevent some of these situations.

            In America people who can afford it move into gated communities in which living conditions are strictly regulated; you will not allow your grass to grow above three inches, you will not plant that kind of shrub/tree in that position, etc. Could this be a solution for some here? If people were forced to sign up to a code of conduct would there be less room for conflict?

            For many noise is a problem, altering the building regulations for new builds increasing the amount of sound insulation would surely help. The increased sound insulation would also decrease the amount of heating necessary for each home benefiting everyone in two ways. The dwelling would cost a little more to buy but the increased heat efficiency would make up for the extra spend over time and the occupants would not be able to hear each other so clearly.
            'The only kind of courage that matters is the kind that gets you from one minute to the next.' - Mignon McLaughlin


            • #7
              Hmmm..interesting thoughts Spook! Not sure I'd want to live in one of those gated communities...probably wouldn't last long if the grass has to be a certain length Seems to me that it would be a great idea 'tho if modern dwellings had to be built to a really high standard of insulation, as it often seems poor right now!



              • #8
                I'm a bit miffed with all the comments about council housing .

                True, you do often get the dregs of society dumped onto your estate, but more often than not lots of nice people too .

                Wile-E and I bought our council house, (nice street, lots of houses bought already),

                we got 38% off the price, have done alot of work and have a really nice house. We have one NFH out of the whole street, and I think they're losing interest in harrasing us now because we just ignore them completely.

                My father lives on a private estate, he has lots of inconsiderate neighbours.

                Just my rant on the subject


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Redwitch@Aug 21 2003, 11:36 AM

                  I'm a bit miffed with all the comments about council housing¬* .

                  True, you do often get the dregs of society dumped onto your estate, but more often than not lots of nice people too¬* .

                  Agreed Redwitch.

                  There are good and bad everywhere.

                  Just because people are living in local authority or Housing Association accommodation does not mean they are going to be a NFH or will automatically suffer from one.

                  Can everyone please bear Redwitch's comments in mind when posting.

                  Thank you.


                  • #10
                    Hi Again

                    Redwitch I too was a little concerned that just maybe some people think all council tenants/HA tenants are all like the morons most of us have had to endure.

                    I am fairly certain that many if not most are decent socialable people. My housing association lists teachers and nurses as people it will consider for housing.

                    One only has to look at the news papers, media and walk down most streets to be aware that these animals are not confined to as many call it 'Social Housing'.

                    My heart goes out to the many people who have posted which own their own property and are working their guts out to pay for it only to find their stuck next door to a moron


                    • #11
                      One thing too, more and more the councils and housing associations are starting to actually enforce their tenancy agreements. One major angle you have in the situation of having bought your place is the legal documents both you and the council/HA sign upto - when we bought the documentation stated clearly that neither side was to, in any way, do anything which would devalue the other parties properties. Now if we were at a stage where no other line of resolution worked then that would be the first paper I'd be waiving at the council via a solicitor. Its legally binding, it's a condition impossed by the council and there is no way in hell they could argue around it - if there was a dispute with a tenant neighbor that needed to be declared at the time of sale then that would devalue the property.. open and shut case i'd say.

                      But as Redwitch says, we've one problem family out of an entire street, a large number of the properties around us are bought and people are fairly decent in this area. We thought long and hard before buying, if we'd been in the middle of some huge estate I'd have passed on the opportunity, but where we are now is a nice area overall, is currently undergoing a lot of upgrades to the council owned properties and given the current house prices I think we've made a wise decision. Whether we chose to sell or just rent the place out when/if we move on there is little risk of losing money.


                      • #12
                        Hi Redwitch

                        Agree with your comments! And the converse is also often true,,,,just because you buy in an area where all others are privately owned does not ensure you are in a nfh-free zone where everyone's behaviour is considerate and social!!!



                        • #13
                          There are gated communities in England too. I know of two in London, there must be more? The one in America founded by the Disney corporation, can't think of it's name, there was a documentary about it and yes there were couples moving in who were sick of noise and hassle from neighbours and crime in particular. A year into the project rows were happening as someone painted a fence in shade 'not agreed by the residents' to name but one sin. It came across as extremely claustrophobic and almost a scarey place to live. I would hate to live in one, the feeling of no freedom and being frightened to do anything out of the ordinary at all would wear me down. As an alternative to NFH it surely is one, but the lesser of two evils for me.