I'm a council tenant. Previous tenants here have all been from this council district but recently my council started housing people from all over the county.
We've been here 12 years. Our lovely ex neighbour lived here 20 years and never intended to move, but in the end, bedroom tax forced her out.
Our house is one of only four, between two villages, on a country lane. Sounds idyllic? And it was. Two of the council houses here were bought and two still council owned (we're in the middle, so have a council neighbour one side, privately owned house on other). We have always got on brilliantly with all our neighbours, the old council tenant and the people in the bought houses and people further down our lane.
Last Sept, our council in its wisdom gave the empty house to a young family. Woman, man and 2 kids - 3 and 1 years old. Very odd, we thought as they were paying bedroom tax from the day they moved in and every time a 3 bed house has come up round here, it has gone to much larger families and families with disabled members. In the second week, the woman waited til my husband went out one evening and when I was alone, came and knocked on our door. She said could we be quieter as her husband was complaining about the noise. Apparently we bang doors. Well never had a complaint in 30 years living next door to various people in houses and flats. But I said yes, I know you have a baby, we will tell the kids to be quieter. Woman seemed off her face on something - drugs or methodone, I think, not alcohol. Slurring badly and rambling incoherently. Opened with "I'm not being funny but..." And because I was alone in the house I was friendly to her (felt vulnerable, alone in house late eving with kids. Forgot to say but it was nearly 10om when the druggie knocked). She did let slip they had come from a private rental in York, where they had moved after being in social housing and having a dispute with a neighbour. That set my alarms ringing.
Anyway, their second week there and we started hearing unholy rows. The man calling her the worst names you can imagine. And shouting at these very young kids. A day or two later my husband was in the back garden, again after 9pm, and the man pops up IN our back garden, in the dark, getting abusive about us slamming doors (which we don't) and every other word - to a total stranger he never met in his life was the f word. My husband told him he wouldn't be spoken to like that by anyone and to get out of our garden. Man scuttled off.
I rang the council and they fobbed us off despite these idiots having an Introductory tenancy (which will turn into a secure tenancy in Sept if we can't act fast). But their dispute man did go round there and told me later the man looked him right in the eye and denied shouting in the house or garden. Should say their arguments so violent, we could hear every f and c word through the wall. More to the point - so could my kids. We're hardly thugs - my husband works ina museum, I am a carer and ex teacher, and my older kids are all at uni. These folks are unemployed and seem to feel a bit inadequate, I think, seeing everyone else go to work each day. Although oddly, when we got a new car, they got a brand new £30,000 car a few weeks later. The council bloke told me he said to them they can hear noise from us as they have no furniture and no carpets.
He reported us for banging doors, tit for tat (which I understand was his difficulty in York and why they had had to move to a detached house).
Council man told us not to worry - they'd have to record it to prove it and he neer rang back or filled in the noise diary.
That was all Sept.
Xmas, a copper knocked on our door late at night and asked us if we knew anything about some solar lights "stolen" from their garden. I don't think they knocked at the other neighbours so clearly had been sent to us (only we adjoin them so part of my problem is, the other lovely neighbours don't hear what we hear).
I said no, and in fact, I didnt think they'd ever had lights in their garden (insurance sca presumably, although my husband reckons he saw some of those Poundland lights!)
Meantime although the rows between her and him were quieter (or not right next to our wall any more), we noticed she got a job locally - which shocked me as it was in a care home for the elderly and she was clearly a druggie). And the man, left alone with the kids, was shouting the most obscene and violent abuse at the kids. It came to a head one day when the baby cried in this weird way - I have 5 kids and have never heard crying like it - followed by the man shrieking at it, for about half an hour, that it was an effing c word, and a piece of s, etc etc (bear in midn this is a one year old). I was so shaken as my 11 year old was there and heard it all and I thought if I do nothing, what message does it give my kid? So I popped next door other side where nice neighbour works with troubled kids, and asked her advice, hoping she'd heard something too (she hadn't). But she told me to not hesitate but go back in and ring SS NOW! Even though we didn;t even know their names.
So I did. Well over the next few weeks, a parade of social workers but, after a couple of months, the kids still with the druggies and in fact seemed signed off as after one epic afternoon long visit, no more social workers. The shouting and abuse at the kids seems intermittent. I feel disbelieved. We have done all we can, and didn't want to be those neighbours castigated in the press when one or both of these kids is hurt. But the council did nothing and SS did nothing (although I was told they had accessed the man's history prior to the first visit and I noticed they did turn up mob handed, which makes us think he has form). Thing is, council it turns out had only taken one previous landlord reference - and hadn't known they had previously been kicked out of/left HA or council housing due to the fact the man couldn't cope with being in a semi detached...
They are a weird couple. He is always polishing the car, a little bald, inadequate looking bully of a man looks about 60 but I suspect is in his late 30s. She is always wearing a black coat with long sleeves (hiding needle marks?) even in this heat, and told me she is 28. She screams at the kids as much as him, so it is hard to see what the dynamic is re the domestic violence. She, if anything, seems more weird and violent than him. But he is very creepy - watching my kids play football over the road and rushes to his widows twitching curtains if anyone shuts a car door out front.
Well, it went comparatively quiet. We got new car - they got new car.Our older sons came back from uni so we started our summer routine of weekend BBQs in back garden - lo and behold last week a shiny BBQ turns up in their garden.
Last night I went out. When I got back, noticed their cheapo BBQ cover had blown into my garden. No biggie. Wehave fierce winds on the Vale of York - once my kids' sandpit cover blew 2 miles across the fields. Thinking nothing of it and doing them a favour, I put it back over the wall.
Nine o clock last night just sat down to my autistic son's favourite show, he's been looking forward to that episode for weeks when a knock at the door. 2 policemen. Asked to come in. Apparently, the neighbour's BBQ cover (that thing I saw in my garden worth about 50p tops) had been 'stolen'. I explained, several times over, no it hadn't - we found it blown into our garden and threw it back over.
Coppers bemused. The man, they said was adamant he had Velcro'd it. I just thought - they have 2 toddlers. It was probably unfastened. Not my problem. Coppers I think were confused as they must have claimed it still was 'stolen' - but went back round and came back to our house, this time laughing, 5 mins later to say it was there, as I said...
Now. Someone tell me. At what point is calling the police on neighbours harrassment? Twice in six months is twice too much. We have a three foot high fence and no money to replace it.
Only after the coppers left (still laughing at the nutjobs and agreeing with me that police had better ways to spend their time) I remembered seeing the woman scurrying out and picking up the BBQ cover after I lobbed it back over the wall... Maybe she was in the kitchen window waiting all along.
Later my teenager told me he overheard the man talking to the three year old saying "Some c-word has stolen our BBQ cover" - my son was shocked to hear the man use that word to a child. (I wasn't - me and my 13 year old have heard him in the garden calling the kid "little wanker" and when he realised we were behind the washing on the line, started taking to it in a totally diff tone of voice).
Sorry this is so long. It sounds petty but the pettiness is their's (ringing the police and sending them round to accuse you of stealing a cheap plastic BBQ cover you'd already thrown back into their garden, and before that, about stealing solar lights???)
So what grounds would you proceed on? Council have offered me recording device to capture the sound of them abusing the kids verbally - but apparently we would have to have it in our hands all day and press when we heard something.
Council are coming out to see about giving me a taller fence but am told even if it's approved, I won't get it for 2 years. These NFHs will have secure tenancy in Sept so we need to act fast. Police? Council? Neither? Is this harassment? I don't thnik am being paranoid when I say, thinking about it some more, I have realised she was hovering waiting for me to throw the thing back which makes me think maybe she chucked it over in the first place (maybe unknown to him from what my son overheard). So what could they throw over the fence next to pretend we stole? My husband's birthday but he is spending all evening putting locks on our unlocked sheds, so they can't go in there at night and plant something as so far everything they have tried, to get us intro trouble, has backfired... I am willing to bet they earwigged us and the coppers laughing about them being nutjobs. But I don't think this bloke is going to give up.
It has robbed me of my peace of mind. I have loved this house - my home - so much. Now I would move tomorrow if it wasnt for the fact we have always loved it here and my autistic son takes a lot of happiness from our home and where it is. And why should I move?
Also why do councils bother with introductory tenancies if they then won't act to get abusive tenants out at the FIRST sign of trouble?
Edited by AbsoluteIdiot, 10 June 2014 - 04:03 PM.