Anti-social behaviour and nuisance neighbours frequently often go hand in hand because it is often your neighbours who are acting in what you believe is an unacceptable way. First, don’t assume the other person knows their behaviour is inconveniencing or upsetting you.
It’s natural for young people to hang around street corners and they can be boisterous without realising it. Dog lovers might not notice their pets are barking from dawn to twilight. Frequent barbecues, loud music, overgrown gardens ... all can be very frustrating but are they really anti-social behaviour?
It’s always worth making an informal approach to neighbours to see if you can resolve your differences amicably. And be prepared to listen to their point of view too.
If you are having serious problems with your neighbours or any other anti-social behaviour is taking place in your community, keep a written record. Note down what is being done, by whom, the time and date and whether it’s the first time it’s occurred or not.
When anti-social behaviour is a criminal offence
The Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2013 has criminalised many forms of anti-social behaviour so that it is now easier to get the local authority or police to take action.
The following are criminal offences:
- vandalising a vehicle
- all kinds of harassment
- dealing drugs
- setting off fireworks if it endangers others
- using premises for prostitution
- riding motorbikes on public footpaths
- drinking alcohol on the street
- revving car engines or racing.
Are you being harassed?
Harassment can include verbal abuse, threats or vandalism against your property; it must have occurred on at least two occasions and have caused you alarm or distress.
The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 makes it illegal for someone to behave in a way which amounts to harassment. If you are being harassed, it’s important to report each incident to the police as it happens to build up the evidence.
Mediation and advice
Some social landlords provide mediation to neighbours who are at odds with one another. If you are a social housing tenant, ask about it.
Sound Advice on Noise offers advice to people experiencing problems with noise.
ASBHelp advises on how to deal with anti-social behaviour, including looking after your own well-being.
Reporting anti-social behaviour
Report noise problems to your local council’s environment department.
Report other incidents of anti-social behaviour to the police on 101, raise it at a PACT meeting or contact the local council. In an emergency, call 999.