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Resolving disputes between neighbours

Neighbour disputesP1000769

Problems can sometimes arise between neighbours. These are usually caused by nuisance or anti-social behaviour. If these are not dealt with at the earliest opportunity, the situation can become more serious.

In some cases, your neighbour may be unaware that they are causing a disturbance. Simply speaking to them in a reasonable way, or even writing to them, is often all it takes to solve the problem.

How we can help

If after speaking to your neighbour your problems still persist, or your neighbour has been abusive, it is time to contact your Housing Officer. All complaints are dealt with in confidence and we will not disclose who you are.

We need as much information as possible about the problem. This will be logged on our Neighbour Complaints/Anti-Social Behaviour Register. The action we can take includes:

  • Tenancy agreement – Ensuring tenants are fully aware of their tenancy obligations and our policies. We will do this by visiting the tenants involved and usually issuing written guidance. This is often enough to resolve the problem.
  • Mediation – this is an attempt by all involved to discuss the cause of the problem and find a solution which benefits everyone. Housing Officers usually organise a meeting which everyone attends. Sometimes we will also include a professional mediation service like Fife Mediation Services.
  • Keeping a log – we will ask you to keep a log of the incidents giving the date, time, duration and nature of the problem. It is important that the evidence is detailed, as it may be used if the case comes to court.
  • Witness support – we can refer witnesses of anti-social behaviour problems to Victim Support for emotional and practical help.
  • Involving other agencies – occasionally we investigate complaints involving more serious issues such as drug dealing, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence or the neglect of children. Such cases are usually referred to our Housing Management section which works closely with agencies like the Police, Fife Council’s Social Work Service or Fife Health Board.

 Eviction and court action

We do everything we can to resolve nuisance and anti-social behaviour problems without having to go to court. Even when legal action has started we will continue to talk to the people involved to try to get them to reach an agreement

In some cases, where previous warnings have been ignored and the problem has got worse, we will be left with no choice but to take legal action or seek to evict the problem tenant.

Such actions will usually require the full co-operation of the surrounding neighbours, who may need to attend court as witnesses.

The eviction process for anti-social behaviour is lengthy and usually involves many agencies. We will remain objective during these proceedings and make sure that all parties get the opportunity to be heard and give their opinion.

Harassment

Harassment can include threats of violence, verbal abuse, physical assault, damage to property or attempted arson. You or your family could be targeted because of your race, colour, religion, gender, age, disability or sexual orientation. Harassment is both a criminal offence and a breach of your tenancy agreement and includes behaviour outside your home or immediate community including at work, school or on the street.

If you either experience or witness harassment, call the Police or your Housing Officer.

Racial harassment

No resident should have to live in fear of racial harassment or violence. We will not tolerate such behaviour and will always take firm action to end it.

The Race Relations Act 1976 also means housing associations are responsible for preventing unlawful discrimination while promoting equality of opportunity and good relations between people of different ethnic backgrounds.

What will we do:

We will take immediate action to identify those responsible for racial harassment and take action against them. This will include:

  • Supporting and offering help to the victims of racial harassment
  • Monitoring all reported racial harassment incidents and taking the relevant action
  • Asking the victims to keep a diary of incidents
  • Providing an interpreter if required
  • Working closely with the police and other agencies to resolve the issue
  • Using legal remedies if required, including eviction.

We are committed to:

  • Fully investigating all complaints
  • Respecting confidentiality
  • Responding to all incidents within 24 hours
  • Ensuring our colleagues are sensitive and treat all complaints seriously.

Right of appeal

If you feel that you have been racially harassed by one of our colleagues, you should write to our Chief Executive.

If you believe you are being, or have been, racially harassed in connection with your tenancy, you should write to us and we will investigate your complaint.