Antisocial behaviour: Frequently asked questions
You are not alone, many people before you have felt what you are feeling but have come out the other side into a happier, healthier neighbourhood. Here we provide some real life examples of what people have been through and some common questions with possible solutions.
My neighbours are very noisy and are driving me mad! How can I get them to be quiet?
Firstly we would suggest that you approach your neighbour and explain politely that you are troubled by the noise. Although you may find this difficult it is surprising how often neighbours are unaware of the disturbance they are causing. However, if this does not work you can report it as antisocial behaviour to us. From there, we will investigate. We will ask you to keep an incident diary and may issue you with sound recording equipment so that we have evidence. We may issue your noisy neighbour with a warning, arrange mediation, or even begin legal proceedings if they continue to be a nuisance. The action we take will be based on the time of the noise, the duration and frequency of the noise, the type of noise, and the level of noise.
There are fights and shouting outside my home. It’s very worrying, what can I do?
I’ve been threatened with violence by my neighbour, can you help me?
We consider this kind of behaviour to require an urgent response and so, will be in touch with yourself and the perpetrator within 24 hours to begin our investigation. We will take all reports of violence seriously and we will take a victim-centred approach to our investigation. We will deal with you as discreetly as possible, keeping all information confidential. We may ask you to keep and incident diary and possibly issue you with CCTV equipment and extra security for your home. Depending on the extent of the issue, we may issue warnings to the perpetrator, involve mediation or the police, begin legal proceedings, or even evict the tenant.
I would like to report problems of antisocial behaviour but I’m scared they will retaliate, what should I do?
We aim to make reporting antisocial behaviour as simple and straight forward as possible, you can report antisocial behaviour on our website, in writing, in person, over the phone by calling our contact centre, or someone can report on your behalf. If you are reporting a serious incident, we will arrange to talk to you within 24 hours. Otherwise, we will talk to you within five working days. You can choose where we talk to you, it can be at your home, at our office, or over the telephone. Everything we talk about will be confidential and will not be discussed with anyone else without your permission. We will ensure we listen carefully to your report and record it accurately.
We do not tell the perpetrator who has made the complaint. However, should the initial actions fail to stop the problem, identifying you and other witnesses may be necessary, especially if the case needs to go to court and evidence and witnesses are needed. Your neighbourhood Officer will fully explain this process at a later stage. We will never reveal your involvement to the perpetrator without your knowledge and permission. We will do all that we can to keep you safe during the investigation and through any actions taken.
Once the investigation is underway, we will update you regularly on progress by telephone, email, text, visit or letter. We will explain clearly and carefully reasons behind all our decisions. We will ask you to complete written records of further incidents and we will help you keep excellent records. If you report threats, violence or serious intimidation during the investigation we will investigate these quickly (no longer than 24hrs). We will discuss with you whether any additional support or security measures are needed.
My neighbour’s dog barks non-stop, day and night. It’s a real problem, not to mention the chickens they have, is that even allowed?
- “Your pets must not cause a nuisance, annoyance or disturbance to any person living in the locality of your home”
- “You must keep you pets under control at all times”
- Not to keep pets or “any animal without written consent”
- Not to “keep or tether any livestock (including a horse or horses, pony or ponies, donkey or donkeys)” at your property or on communal areas
- Failure to comply with these tenancy rules could result in legal action against you
In the case of the dog, try talking to the owner of the animal in a reasonable manner and discuss your concerns, what some people consider to be acceptable behaviour from their animals by be different to someone else. They may not realise it is a problem. If you do report the incidents, we may ask you to keep incident diaries or issue you with sound recording equipment so that we have the evidence of the problem. Our recording equipment has a time and date stamp so we can prove exactly when it is happening. The owner will be issued with a warning and if the barking continues we may begin legal proceedings.
My tenancy management officer wants me to sign a witness statement and attend court. Should I do it? What does that even involve?
Before going to court we will provide you with information about the legal process, weigh-up any risks, and look at what support we need to provide you with in order to make going to court as pain-free as possible. We will talk you through what happens before, during, and after the trial, and explain the legal terms and phrases to you without all of the jargon.
I think my neighbour is a victim of domestic violence, is there anything you can do?
Most problems are best solved by discussing your concerns with the person or people involved. However, if you are scared or feel threatened by their behaviour, do not put yourself in potential danger and contact Yorkshire Housing to report the problem. Domestic violence can come in many different forms and often involves power and control. We will take all reports of domestic violence seriously and we will take a victim-centred approach to our investigation. We will deal with the victim as discreetly as possible, keeping all information confidential. It is something that we take very seriously and once investigations have been completed we may look to issue a warning, begin legal proceedings and possibly involve the police and domestic violence charities. It may be necessary for us to provide the victim with extra security measures or emergency accommodation.
I have been verbally and racially abused by my neighbour, it was really quite horrific. I am going to tell my landlord but I also want to tell the police, is that a bit excessive?
As always, we suggest discussing your concerns with your neighbour before involving other parties and may be more reasonable if they know there may be consequences for their actions if the complaints go any further. Try and talk to your neighbour first but do not put yourself in danger by doing so and in this case it may not be the right option. We may issue a warning, involve mediation or Restorative Justice, issue CCTV equipment, take out an injunction (county court order) against perpetrator, or begin eviction proceedings.
The police have extensive powers under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and the Telecommunications Act 1984 to caution and potentially prosecute those who harass. Yorkshire Housing will seek to use these powers as well as our own remedies to prevent and stop harassment when it occurs.
We recognise there is a growing problem of cyber stalking and bullying or harassment perpetrated through social networking sites. We will work closely with the victim and police to prevent and stop harassment through these means.
My neighbour’s garden is an eyesore! It’s completely overgrown, can I report it to you?
You can report this to us and we can take action going forward. We suggest you speak to your neighbour first and see if you can resolve the problem between yourselves. However, if it is just the case that they have not cut the grass in a while, it is unlikely that we will class this as antisocial behaviour. If we do get involved we will speak to your neighbour. In a worst case scenario we may have to apply for possession of their home but what is more likely is that we will clear their garden at their expense.
My neighbour has accused me of causing noise nuisance, what should I do?
- don’t slam doors
- put down carpets and curtains to help absorb sound
- play and practice musical instruments during normal waking hours (8am to 9pm) and negotiate with your neighbours if you need more practice time
- make your children aware their noise can disturb others
- avoid screaming and shouting
- don’t sound car horns unnecessarily; or slam car doors or rev car engines, especially when others are trying to sleep
- Keep the noise down outside, a barbeque is a great idea in summer but make sure your music is not disturbing others- not everybody has the same taste in music!
- Don’t have regular, loud or late-night parties. If you are having a party consider inviting your neighbours, or warn them in advance and let them know when it is likely to finish. Keep the windows and doors closed during the party to minimise noise. If someone complains be prepared to apologise and turn the music down
- Keep noisy household tasks to during normal waking hours, such as using washing machines or doing DIY. If you need to do it later in the day, try and agree on good times with your neighbours
- be aware of the law and that you have responsibilities as well as rights
- make sure all of your visitors understand and follow these same tips
Don’t forget your responsibilities as a Yorkshire Housing tenant. If you regularly cause unnecessary noise and nuisance to your neighbours then this represents a tenancy breach and you could end up losing your home.
Report antisocial behaviour
If you or your neighbours are suffering from any of the issues described – we want to know. Report antisocial behaviour online or call 0345 366 4404.
We believe that everyone has the right to enjoy their home, free from nuisance or antisocial behaviour. Find out more about how Yorkshire Housing deals with antisocial behaviour.
Read some of our antisocial behaviour success stories.