Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Neighbour Problems

(53 Posts)
Seb2015 Tue 07-Jun-16 11:06:43

I've never done this before but reading the forums has made me realise what a wise bunch you are, so here goes.

About two years ago I got new neighbours in the house that is attached to mine. They are a young couple with two children and are pleasant. The bloke's FiL, however is a nightmare. My daughter once visited me and parked in front of their house (not blocking the drive)and the FiL went ape, screaming abuse in the road. (He doesn't even live there and his Son in law and DD daughter do nothing to stop him). Horrific - and intimidating. He has continued to be abusive every time I see him.

Anyway, moving on - my Son in law has been working on my garden and has put some garden netting around some vegetables so my two dogs stay off it - and he has tacked it to the dividing fence, which belongs to my neighbours. The FiL immediately jumped on this and demanded it was taken down - again shouting, abusive etc which got my SiL's back up and he refused. Consequently, they have cut my side of the hedge in the front garden down so I have no privacy and say it is because of the nail in the fence. What would you so?

Seb2015 Tue 07-Jun-16 11:07:26

What would you do? is what that last sentence was supposed to say!

sunseeker Tue 07-Jun-16 11:25:38

Can you speak to your neighbours when the FiL isn't there? Tell them you don't wish to fall out and that you would not want this unfortunate misunderstanding to escalate. Is he like this with other people in the street? Of course, he may be suffering the beginnings of dementia which can cause outbursts.

Atqui Tue 07-Jun-16 11:28:33

Poor you. How stressful. I wonder if your Son in law could have a word with the husband on a day when father in law isn't there, and tell him how much anguish the behaviour is causing.

ninathenana Tue 07-Jun-16 11:29:48

The FiL is obviously an overbearing oaf.
I would not have presumed that it was ok to attach something to the neighbours fence without permission though.
We have a good relationship with our neighbours and I know it would be fine but I would mention my intention before going ahead and if asked I would remove it.
Not much you can do about the trimmed hedge. You may well have a legal comeback on that. Perhaps consult a solicitor under the free half hour scheme.

Stansgran Tue 07-Jun-16 11:32:49

I think it might be worth logging it with the police. It sounds extreme to do so but threatening behaviour can escalate and it really is nothing to do with him. He has damaged your property.

NotTooOld Tue 07-Jun-16 11:38:21

Sorry to hear that, Seb. I've had a few similar problems myself in the past and know how unpleasant it is to fall out with neighbours.
I have two suggestions:
1) Go round and talk to the owners when the older man is not there. Explain how you feel and ask them if there is anything they or you can do to alleviate the situation. Obviously this is a peace keeping mission so you need to be very calm and to listen quietly to what they have to say. Avoid anger at all costs.
2) Talk to the neighbours on their other side. They may be having similar difficulties and perhaps you could come up with a joint strategy.
You might also hope that the FiL will cut down his visits when the young couple are settled in. He is probably helping them do moving-in type jobs at the moment as well as flexing his FiL muscles at your expense.
Good luck - and don't let it get you down.

annodomini Tue 07-Jun-16 12:06:19

The cutting down of the hedge sounds like harassment to me and could be worth mentioning it, in conjunction with the FiL's abusive behaviour, to the police.
You will find a definition of harassment and what you can do about it on this site.

Seb2015 Tue 07-Jun-16 12:17:44

Thanks for all of your advice - I tried talking to the son in law this morning but he was quite aggressive too - which he never has been before. His wife was apologetic, she'd been at work and come back to it done. I hate this kind of thing, really don't like confrontations but it just seems like the more they get away with the more they do. I've asked my SiL to remove the nail and he will do. What a palaver - a nail that had nothing to do with me and my hedge gets destroyed - some people really need to grow up. Anyway, rant over - thanks again for the useful tips x

Greyduster Tue 07-Jun-16 12:37:33

I am so sorry to hear you are going through this. It is what, quite literally, forced our hand when it came to moving four years ago. After twenty odd years of good relations with our neighbour, she got married again and everything went down hill and she became a nightmare. Like your neighbour, she screamed at my daughter, who had, just once, parked in front of their house, and reduced her to tears. DH went round and read the riot act to her while the meak little husband, who we suspect egged her on, hid behind the door! My daughter's M-i-L called on me one day and she also parked her car outside their house, so she got a broadside as well, being told she was breaking the law, so she said "well, I'll just ring my husband who's a JP and he'll clarify that for us, shall I?" Whereupon she scurried indoors. She would harangue anyone working on our property and in the end, after one particularly nasty incident in a catalogue of many, I blew my stack and went around in a towering rage to see her son (by this time, the meek little husband had disappeared off the scene - we think she may have eaten him!) and threatened to sue her for harassment unless he reined her in. I came very close to having a nervous breakdown so DH decided we would move. I hope that you don't have to do anything so drastic. They sound like they might be reasonable people once the horrible F-i-L is off the scene. But as someone said upthread, it is threatening behaviour and they need to put a stop to it before it destroys your peace of mind.

Seb2015 Tue 07-Jun-16 14:40:08

It's awful isn't it Greyduster? My sons went round and had a word after the car incident and they backed off for a while. Then my two dogs were upsetting them with barking when I left them alone for any length of time (I didn't know until they told me quite aggressively) and I have never left the dogs alone again - they go everywhere with me or to my daughter's house when I can't take them. This morning the delightful chap told me he would rip out the fence panel if the nail wasn't removed (not over the top at all) and when I told him that would mean that my dogs would get into his garden he told me what he would do to the dogs.

M0nica Tue 07-Jun-16 14:59:45

SEb2015 This is escalating, Take the advice of previous responses and speak to the police. It doesn't mean laying charges, but logging that this behaviour is happening and is getting close to harrassment.

Then, get a book, or open a file on your computer and log every contact with your neighbours including all the details of any acts or words of aggression towards you.

If you have to take any action at any point, there is nothing to beat a good well kept diary with dates and times and behaviour.

And finally, cultivate the calm of a saint and no matter what the aggression or provocation shown by your neighbours do not get angry or shout back at them. They will magnify your responses and throw it at you as a defence if you do have to take legal or police action.

Visit your local CAB, Citizens Advice Bureau, they are a treasure of information legal and otherwise and can best advise you how to deal with this situation.

Seb2015 Tue 07-Jun-16 15:21:40

You're right, M0nica. I was kind of hoping that least said, soonest mended but that doesn't seem to be working.

Welshwife Tue 07-Jun-16 15:23:12

I certainly would agree with the suggestion to visit the CAB as they usually have a solicitor you can speak too. The keeping a log is a good idea but maybe a written one in a notebook as it is obvious if it is altered and also it is portable should you need to take it anywhere with you.
It is an awful position to be put in particularly when it is by someone who doesn't actually live there. It is amazing how irate people can get about parking and generally I have found that most people are very considerate about it. Cutting your bushe down was a step too far. I love 'green boundaries' as opposed to fences.

sunseeker Tue 07-Jun-16 15:31:33

Are they like this with the other neighbours or do they see you as an easy target? Have you spoken to the other neighbours - are they aware of the problems you are having to put up with?

Seb2015 Tue 07-Jun-16 15:50:12

I've no idea Sunseeker. I'm making notes right now and going to keep a log. Just hope it all goes away :-)

Newquay Tue 07-Jun-16 16:58:20

Some councils have a sort of neighbour mediation service. Is it worth speaking to your local councillor to see if such a thing exists in your area?
Jaw jaw better than war war and all that.
But it does need to be addressed you can't carry on like that can you?
Certainly don't give them any grounds for complaint-which you've adressed with the dogs barking. And, as others have said, don't do anything like attaching things to their boundary fence unless you've asked first.
I would certainly speak to the neighbour's on the other side to see if anything is going on there.
Do you know where FIL lives? Is he local? Wonder if he's like this with own (poor) neighbour's?

sarahc446655 Tue 07-Jun-16 16:59:34

To Seb2015 - this neighbour has already committed several offences and should be reported to the police immediately. These are verbal assault, threats of violence and a public order offence, if they are shouting on the street. The police and court can get a Restraining Order which means if this character comes with in a certain distance of yourselves, they can be arrested.
That's what the law is for and its usually the only thing this sort of person understands.

sarahc446655 Tue 07-Jun-16 17:01:53

One more thing get CCTV or a sign that makes them think you've got it.

Seb2015 Tue 07-Jun-16 17:06:46

Newquay, I would love to know where FIL lives - my daughter wants to send him a letter filled with pink glitter - that would do his testosterone macho image of himself a world of good! Sarah44, I agree that this is the only thing that these types of people understand - I'm leaving work for home now and if there is just one thing out of place or not as it should be then the police will be involved. We did report it when the FIL kicked off in the street over the car so there is a log of that. Oh, and my Son in Law has just rung to say that he has removed the nail - so does that mean my hedge will be glued back haha. And there could have been birds nesting in it!

vampirequeen Tue 07-Jun-16 19:13:37

FIL is a bully and your neighbours are more scared of him than of you so are bullying you as well.

You need to make a police report even though you don't want to press charges. You need to make it official because that's when the record keeping will start from. As previously said he has already committed several public order offences. Also he has threatened your animals even though he has said that he intends to open the fence. That is ...I can't remember the phrase..but he's setting your animals up. If he removes the panel your animals are bound to go through. You need to take advice.

Were the cars parked on a public road? If so, he has no right to demand that they be moved as long as they could still use their drive.

Get a CCTV and don't rise to his bait. Log every incident and record as much as possible.

How do you know it's their fence, btw? Is it definitely on their land. What do your deeds say? I ask this because the council fence posts are actually on the land belonging to my landlord. The miscalculated when they put them in. He's left them in situ but made sure the land is still registered in his name.

Grannyben Tue 07-Jun-16 19:47:38

I am so very sorry to say this but I would put the house on the market and get away as quick as I could. I once had the most terrible neighbours and they pushed me to the edge. I tried being nice, arguing back and everything in between. I finally moved and slept soundly for the first time in a long while. Not for one moment do I think anyone should have to do this but in my case peace of mind won out. Good luck.

Iam64 Wed 08-Jun-16 09:09:22

I empathise Seb2015 as our neighbours love a shouty row, not something we indulge in but very unsettling. They also seem to think the pubic road outside their house is their private land which is immensely stressful if we have either a family gathering, or worse, delivery vans etc.
I don't understand the nail in the fence issue. Is the fence the one they're responsible for on the deeds. If so, that usually means the person responsible replaces fence panels as and when its needed. How on earth you putting a nail on 'your' side of the fence can cause offence is beyond me. Cutting your hedge down is criminal damage.
Don't let these bullies drive you out of your home. The advice above about logging incidents and never rising to the bait by shouting back is useful. The fil does sound like a bully but the sil doesn't sound any better to be honest. Keep any communication with them to the absolute minimum. (I leave radio 3 on for my dogs when I'm out, it seems to help)

Lupatria Wed 08-Jun-16 10:24:08

this is anti social behaviour and your local council should have a department to deal with this.
it may mean you keeping a log of everything which happens but if it solves the problem then it's worth it.
i did this a few years ago when my then next door neighbour and her visitors were subjecting me to anti social behaviour and, eventually, she was evicted fron her house (social housing although i own mine).
another thought though is i think that if you put your hoyse on the market you are now required to make any 'dispute' with neighbours known.

Seb2015 Wed 08-Jun-16 10:57:04

I think the overall advice here is to get it logged with the police, so that's what I will do - thank you. Vampirequeen - that's an excellent point about setting the dogs up, and it certainly needs to be logged. The fence belongs to him because he replaced the existing one when he moved in (didn't ask me if I minded or even whether I would contribute, which I would have done). The cctv is an excellent idea.

The Son-in-law has always been moderately pleasant before yesterday, I think he was being defensive because he knew he was out of order with the hedge.

Grannyben, I really sympathise with you at having to move; awful neighbours make being in your own home horrible. I would love to move but I'm not in a position to at the moment. Iam64, I don't get the nail issue either tbh, it wasn't creating any damage.

Thanks again for all of your advice - you're a great lot!