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Any Ideas Please ....

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#1
helenandhercat

Posted 03 May 2014 - 09:48 PM

helenandhercat

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Hi. Glad to have found you. - long story follows ......

 

Since Christmas 1999 I have lived in a ground floor flat which I own (well part of it anyway) on a shared ownership basis with one of the large housing associations (not sure if allowed to say which one here).

 

For the first two years of living here I (together with my then smallish son) was troubled by regular, loud music from the flat upstairs. This was, in the main, played by the sharing owner's at that time partner. It took time but with the help of the HA this was eventually resolved and things took a marked turn for the better when this girlfriend left. For several years we all lived in harmony then one day about four years ago I saw said former girlfriend walk past my window. I spoke to the sharing owner of the flat upstairs and he assured me that she had come to stay as a lodger as he was struggling financially and she needed somewhere to stay. He promised that he would not allow her to cause any problems.

 

Unfortunately about three years ago he decided to move out (whilst maintaining ownership) and stay with his new girlfriend. Eventually the woman upstairs moved a new guy in, married and has had two children (aged 2.5 and 1 respectively). All was well until last May, a time which co-incided with my son moving away for work. Since that time the woman upstairs (name of GD) has waged what  I consider to be a war of attrition against me.

 

This started with banging on the floor, slamming windows, running heavily up and down the stairs, slamming the door etc. More or less anything you would do if you really wanted to annoy someone. This has become progressively worse with all this on a regular basis plus a 2 year old running around and playing on what is, apparently, a heavy rocking horse for hours on end. On my days at home I have noticed that the children rarely leave the flat and when they do they seem only to go as far as the local shop and are strapped in a pushchair, hence the seemingly hyperactive children, I guess. (The police told me there was a rocking horse and a large trampoline up there).

 

I approached the HA twice in writing about this and received no response - this is not the original HA but a much larger one that took them over. Therefore I complained about the lack of a response via their official complaints procedure. This generated a phone call from their Property Manager who initially seemed very interested in what I was saying and who explained to me that although they did allow such properties to be sublet it was only for a minimum period of 6 and a maximum period of 12 months. At that time he seemed confident that the current tenants should not be in the flat and that something could be sorted out. Unfortunately about two weeks later I received a letter from him stating that, having spoken to their legal dept., the HA would not be taking any action at this juncture. He suggested I contact our local Council's antisocial behaviour dept. which I did and one of their representatives visited me and heard my story. The following day he visited my neighbour (who I know was in at the time). She elected not to answer the door so he left her a note. He informed me later that she had called him back and, of course, said that she was the innocent party in all this etc., etc. His take was that it was difficult because small children were involved etc., - end of that line of enquiry.

 

Things then jogged along for a few weeks. However she has recently moved on to calling the police out and I have had three visits in the past three weeks. I have not spoken to this women for years but have retaliated by banging on my ceiling when the noise was really bad. During the first visit I was advised to have no contact with my neighbour and assured that she had been given the same advice. I say she because on each occasion the police have been aware that her husband has been in their flat but that he was remained in the bedroom and not spoken to them! I was, therefore, surprised to return home from the work the following day to find an A4 sized "poison pen letter" from her which I later took to the police station. The last visit occured last Sunday no more than 20 minutes after I had returned to the flat from five days away. Each time the police visit they are very pleasant but, nonetheless, I would rather they stayed away. They tell me that under their Community policing initiative they have to visit when a complaint is made.

 

I am regularly woken up very early in the morning by noise from upstairs. This morning the noise from upstairs was dreadful and to cap it all I heard the woman upstairs (who must have been talking loudly out of an open window - I too had my window ajar) saying to someone, maybe she was on the phone I don't know, that she didn't care what happened, she was going to do exactly as she pleased because the police were on her side!

 

I have written again to the HA outlining the fact that the police are now regular attenders, pointing out that this carry on is lowering the value of my property and asking that, as they have failed to help in any way, they buy my flat from me. However given past experience I anticipate this will go unanswered until I go through their official complaints procedure again.

 

The co-owner of the flat upstairs has refused to speak to me about this. I was reliably informed that he pockets £500 a month in rent in what he describes as "cash" so the Inland Rev are now aware of this. However I am at my wits end and haven't got a clue what to do about this situation which, after living here for over 14 years, now leaves me feeling unsafe in my own home.

 

Although I really don't want to as this flat is ideal for me, I am considering moving but due to financial restrictions will have to wait until a suitable place on the same shared ownership arrangement comes up - far and few between apparently so even this will take who knows how long.

 

Thank you anyone who has managed to endure this tale, I actually feel better for having put it all down. If anyone has any ideas at all, I would be very, very grateful.

 

 



#2
PENITAR

Posted 04 May 2014 - 12:16 AM

PENITAR

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Hello Helen and moggy.

 

I would suggest, as a cheap starting point, you study of the terms of agreement / conditions etc relating to your co-ownership of flat as the same would probably apply to all in the 'block'.

 

If any circumstances relating to the flat above appear to be contrary to such terms etc then write again to the HA / Property Manager raising those matters and ask for specifics as to why the legal department is not recommending necessary action to be taken by the HA.  Perhaps also enclosing a copy of 'poison pen letter'.  Do require everything to be in writing.

 

Action by the HA need not even be formal initially to perhaps achieve remedy, it does appear that no genuine interest has been afforded to the matter....far easier to 'pass the buck' to the Local Authority.

 

Kind regards.



#3
helenandhercat

Posted 04 May 2014 - 10:41 AM

helenandhercat

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Hi. Thank you very much for your reply, I'm really grateful as I sometimes feel so alone in this.

 

Last Monday I did do as you suggest and wrote yet another letter to the Property Manager at the HA outlining what had been going on etc. I also asked, in view of the fact that their own T & Cs clearly state that a co-owned property can only be sub-let for a maximum of 12 months (after which time the co-owner has to decide either to sell or to move back into the property) and in view of the fact that I can prove that they are well aware of the issues here, the HA appear not to be implementing their own regulations. I also asked if they would buy back my flat as I feel it is their inaction that has allowed this situation to fester. I don't realy want to sell as this flat was ideal for me and I am aware that their blanket policy is not to buy back flats. However I just hoped that this might galvanise them into taking the matter more seriously. I didn't enclose a copy of my neighbour's letter but will now do this.  I will also ensure that any response from the HA is in writing.

 

Given past experience with the HA they will not reply to my latest letter. In the past they have admitted to scanning my correspondence but not acting on it! At the moment my plan of action is to give them a reasonable time to reply to me then, assuming no response, to go through their official complaints procedure (again) primarily about the fact that they have (yet again) failed to reply to me. I note from their web site that they are officially run by a voluntary Board and, if I do not receive the reassurance I require, I am planning to find the name of the head of the Board and contact them myself. I may well also seek assistance from my MP.

 

In my situation the HA are clearly failing to implement their own regulations - to be fair they may have done so already - I do not know anybody who could tell me what is actually going on upstairs and I know they will have difficulty removing a family with two small children if that family digs its heels in - so although I often feel completely deflated by all this carry on I actually intend to take my case as far as I possibly can in an attempt to be able to feel settled in my own home once again.

 

I will keep you updated, thanks again for your reply. If anyone has any further ideas I would be really happy to hear them.

 

Thanks again.