ASB and neighbourhood disputes

We want all our residents to be able to enjoy their homes in peace. We take all reports of neighbour dispute, illegal or anti-social behaviour seriously. We look into incidents thoroughly and take tough action to tackle the problems. We comply with the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 and have signed up to the government’s Respect charter.

Anti-social behaviour

Anti-social behaviour is behaviour that causes serious nuisance to a person or household in and around their home, and where there is evidence to suggest that there has been a breach of tenancy or lease.

If the problems you are experiencing are about clashes of lifestyle and differences of opinion, see the section on this page about neighbour disputes. See also, our page on <hate incidents>.

Reporting anti-social behaviour

We categorise reports of anti-social behaviour into three categories (see table below). This helps us to respond to the most serious cases first and as quickly as possible.

Category

Examples

Our commitment to you

Category A

 

Threat to life. Actual or serious threat of violence. Hate crime (for example because of race or disability, or domestic violence). Selling drugs. Illegal use of premises. Offensive graffiti. Prostitution.

We will speak with you within 24 hours.

 

Category B

 

Vandalism. Damage to property. Abusive behaviour. People in groups causing a nuisance.

 

We will speak with you within 3 working days.

Category C

 

Pets causing a nuisance, abandoned cars, repeated and persistent unreasonable noise at a level which breaches noise nuisance legislation. Littering and fly-tipping

We will speak with you within 5 working days.

 

 

What will happen after you report anti-social behaviour to us

We will ask you to give us permission to meet with all the people involved and any witnesses. We will try to establish all the facts of the case. We will treat everything you tell us confidentially.

If you are having problems coping with the situation, we will put you in touch with support services that can help.

We will agree a plan of action with you and give you an update at least once a fortnight. The ways we can help depend on the type of problem and how the person you are complaining about responds. Examples include:

  • securing your home if it has been damaged
  • mediation, if you and the other party agree to this
  • involving other agencies who can help, for example the police or environmental health
  • asking the person you’re complaining about to sign an Acceptable Behaviour Agreement
  • giving a warning about breach of tenancy or lease
  • taking legal action, such as applying for an injunction or anti-social behaviour order, which can lead to eviction.

We will only close the case when the anti-social behaviour has stopped or we cannot find sufficient evidence to take further action. We will always offer to meet with you in person before we close the case.

Neighbourhood disputes

Neighbour disputes are problems with neighbours where the person causing the problem is not doing so intentionally, the problem is not persistent and no serious harm is caused. If the problems are deliberate, persistent and pose a risk to someone, they are anti-social behaviour (see above).

Neighbour disputes often involve clashes of lifestyle or differences of opinion about what is or is not acceptable. Examples of a neighbour dispute include:

  • noise that happens during normal working hours and is unintentional, not persistent and does not breach noise nuisance legislation
  • smells from cooking
  • untidy gardens
  • children playing at reasonable hours.

How we can help

We cannot take legal action about a neighbour dispute, but we will advise you on what can be done and offer possible solutions. If you report a neighbour dispute to us, we will aim to meet you within 10 working days to discuss the problem and how it can be resolved.

We will stay in regular contact with you to keep you updated on what we are doing to help resolve the problem and to get updates from you.

We will always offer to meet with you before closing a case. We recognise that situations can change and that what starts as a neighbour dispute sometimes develops into anti-social behaviour. If this happens, let us know so that we can help.

Finding practical ways of resolving disputes

We will talk to the other people involved, to help you all reach agreement about the best way forward. In many cases we will encourage you to talk to the neighbour about the problems they are causing you, so that you can try to resolve the problem yourselves.

Neighbour disputes can only be resolved through discussion, leading to understanding and sometimes compromise. Everyone involved has to be willing to take part in this process. We can refer you to a mediation service if you would like someone to facilitate discussions. Mediators are skilled at helping people in dispute to talk openly and find solutions

Examples of practical ways in which we may be able to help resolve neighbour disputes include:

  • for noise problems – discussing what hours are reasonable for certain activities to take place and whether modifications such as door closers or carpeting might help to reduce noise levels
  • for problems with children playing in shared areas – discussing what hours are reasonable for children to play in shared areas, or what are the most suitable local areas for them to play in
  • for problems with untidy shared areas – you may be able to bid for funding to improve the design of the area
  • for lifestyle differences – talking to everyone involved to develop a ‘good neighbour agreement’.

Our commitment to you

If you report anti-social behaviour or a neighbour dispute to us, we will ask for your feedback to find out if you are satisfied with our service and to find out what we can do to improve.

For all reports, we promise to keep in regular contact with you to tell you what we are doing to tackle the problem and to get updates from you.

Where possible we want to make sure problems don’t occur in the first place. We do this by:

  • informing new tenants about their rights and responsibilities, and what will happen if they breach their tenancy conditions
  • issuing starter tenancies for an initial one year period to general needs tenants who have not held a social housing tenancy before
  • publicising our strong approach to stopping anti-social behaviour and the cases where we have taken legal action
  • organising projects for young people and other groups to encourage positive community involvement.

The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 gives victims of Anti-Social Behaviour the right to request a Community Trigger, a review of their case which brings agencies together to find a solution. Victims can use the Community Trigger when there has been at least three complaints of Anti-Social Behaviour in a six month period and there has been no adequate response. Our partners in the local authority are the first point of contact for anyone who wants to use the Community Trigger. We will work with local authorities and other partner agencies, and we will be responsive to the findings of any review.

Anti-social behaviour is a community problem and we will always need the support of residents to tackle it. The majority of neighbour disputes can be resolved by discussion, agreement and compromise. Together we can stop nuisance problems and make a difference, creating communities that we all want to live and work in.

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