There are many ways of solving neighbour problems. Sometimes disputes between neighbours can be as a result of a difference of lifestyle, or an argument about something that's not a tenancy issue, and in these cases the Association can only give general advice.
Our policy is to try to resolve issues between neighbours informally, and to try to reach a resolution and/or compromise wherever possible. However, if a tenancy has been breached and one of our tenants is responsible for serious nuisance, we will take firm action according to the tenancy agreement.
If you are experiencing racial harassment or abuse we have a special policy to help you. Please ask your Housing Officer for advice.
I'm having problems with my neighbour - what should I do?
If a problem arises between you and your neighbour, you should first try to discuss the matter with them. Often problems can be easily resolved by communication at an early stage.
If you feel that speaking to your neighbour would put you or a member of your household at risk, or if it does not resolve the problem, you should contact your Housing Officer to tell them about the problem. Please put the details in writing to your Housing Officer wherever possible.
Your complaint will then be recorded and responded to promptly by your Housing Officer.
What will my Housing Officer do?
Your Housing Officer will visit all parties concerned to investigate your complaint and attempt to resolve the situation.
If your neighbour has breached the terms of their tenancy agreement, they will be warned of the possible consequences of their behaviour, and legal action could be taken against them.
If the problem is with noise, your Housing Officer can involve the Council's Environmental Health department in extreme cases.
Sometimes disputes between neighbours can be as a result of a difference of opinion or lifestyle and not related to your tenancy, or the result of a personal disagreement. If this is the case, we will not be able to intervene other than to offer general advice and refer you to a Mediation service if appropriate.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is where all the parties get an opportunity to talk about the problem, and attempt to resolve it with the help of a trained Mediator from an outside agency.
Mediation can be very helpful in resolving neighbour disputes, and the Mediator does not have to arrange a joint meeting with you and your neighbour - they can meet with you individually. Please ask your Housing Officer if you would like more information about Mediation.
What should I do if the problem continues?
If the problem continues, it is important that you tell us and keep a record of these problems. You should always give as much information as possible, and tell us if there were any witnesses, and who they are. Your Housing Officer will give you an 'Incident Sheet' to record any incidents.
If the police are involved, you should keep a note of the incident number. This make it easier for us to investigate, and helps us if we have to take any legal action against your neighbour.
If you experience threats or physical violence from neighbours or other people or if your personal property is deliberately damaged by a neighbour or another person, you should report it to the police straightaway.
If you experience damage to your property caused by another person's negligence, you should make a claim against the other person or his/her insurance policy. If you have your own insurance, the claim should first be made to your own insurance company. The Citizens Advice Bureau can advise you on making an insurance claim (contact details are at the end of this page).
What will you do if my neighbour continues to cause problems?
Lochaber Housing Association will do all it can to ensure that our tenants and residents are able to have quiet enjoyment of their homes.
If a tenant persistently breaches their tenancy agreement, and fails to conduct their tenancy in a manner acceptable to the Association, or harasses any of their neighbours, we can take legal action against them, which could include an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO), or an eviction action. An eviction action will be the last resort, when everything else has failed. An order for eviction or an ASBO can only be granted by the courts, when the Sheriff has considered all the evidence in the case. If we are pursuing an eviction action we may need to ask you to be a witness.
Building up evidence to take legal action can be a prolonged process, and the Association has a duty to ensure that all parties in the process are able to have their say about what's happening, and be given an opportunity to amend their behaviour.
Where appropriate, we will also inform the police or other authorities for further action.
We will always keep you informed of what's happening throughout the process.
What is an Anti-Social Behaviour Order?
An Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) is granted by the court to stop an individual from behaving in an anti-social way which is causing alarm or distress to someone. When granted, it forbids the person from specific behaviour, for example playing loud music. If the individual breaks the order and continues their anti-social behaviour, they can be prosecuted and may be sent to prison.
The Highland Council
Commission for Racial Equality
Lochaber Citizens Advice Bureau
Banavie - tel: 01397 702361
Highland Alliance for Racial Equality (HARE): 01463 702094
Shelterline: 0808 800 4444