Nuisance and Neighbour Disputes

If you have a complaint to make about the behaviour of a neighbour or anti-social behaviour (ASB) in your area, you should start by raising the complaint with the person involved.

This should be done politely, as people are often unaware that they are causing offence. Once the neighbour is aware, they will usually take action to avoid the problem continuing.

Threats should not be made when you talk to a neighbour about their behaviour as this may only make matters worse.  An agreement reached directly between everyone involved always produces the best solution.

Stevenage Borough Council will take action on harassment which is any inappropriate actions, behaviour, comments or physical contact which cause offence or are objectionable. It is also behaviour that makes the person receiving it feel threatened, humiliated or patronised and creates an intimidating or hostile environment.

Reporting nuisance and anti-social behaviour

If you wish to report details of problems to Stevenage Borough Council, please use the online form (link available below), contact us by telephone or visit the customer service centre who will put you in contact with your Tenancy advisor. We will accept reports made by other people on your behalf.

It will help if you can provide as many relevant facts as possible, including dates, times and the location of any relevant incidents. You should give details of any action that you have taken to try and sort the problem out.

Investigation

The Tenancy advisor will investigate each complaint made. They will interview the people involved, as far as it is possible to do so in order to get a clear understanding of the situation.

If there is a continuing problem, you may be asked to keep a record of incidents. We will provide forms for this purpose; these should be completed over an agreed period and then returned to help us take action to stop the nuisance.

Action

Stevenage Borough Council will try to deal with neighbour disputes by discussion with the people involved. This may require more than one visit over a period of time.  We hope that most disputes can be settled by agreement between the people involved on the action to be taken.  Alternatively, an independent mediator service may be used.

If a dispute cannot be settled by mutual agreement, we will consider other ways of resolving it. These may involve:

  • warning letters
  • legal action, particularly injunctions and Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABCs)
  • possession proceedings if one or more conditions of the tenancy have been broken.

Stevenage Borough Council will notify anybody who has made a complaint against a neighbour of the action that we intend to take, or have taken.  In some situations, no action will be taken by us.  Interviews will be completed and action plans will be agreed with the complainant and with the alleged offender. We categorise anti-social behaviour (ASB) in three levels with different timescales to respond:

Category A - High Level ASB (for example, assault, harassment)
Visit / interview 1 working day
Action plan within a further 3 days of visit / interview
Category B - Medium Level ASB (for example vandalism, persistent nuisance)
Visit / interview 3 working days
Action plan within a further 5 days
Category C - Low Level ASB (for example, noise disturbance)
Visit / interview 5 working days
Action plan within a further 10 days

You can also seek the help of a solicitor who may suggest that you take the person causing the nuisance to court independently. Your solicitor will help you prepare a case.

Customer service standards and policy and procedure

  • we will offer to visit you at your home, in a location where you feel safe, or offer you an appointment at our offices, to discuss the issue;
  • we will categorise anti-social behaviour as low, medium or high dependent on the type of incident. We will visit you within the timescales already detailed;
  • we will work with other agencies to resolve anti-social behaviour. If you allow us, we will pass on your details to them so you do not have to;
  • we will keep in regular contact with you, at least monthly, until the issues are resolved or the case is closed;
  • we will offer the person making the complaint and witnesses advice and support, for example, completing any paperwork and contacting other agencies;
  • we will complete urgent repairs where these will help in resolving the issue and where any damage has been reported to the police. You will need to provide a crime reference number;
  • we will tackle anti-social behaviour using a range of appropriate methods including mediation and legal action.  We will explain all the options to you and no action will be taken without your permission.

How can we improve?

If you are unhappy with the service you have received, or have a suggestion about how we might improve our service, please tell us.

You can:

Make a suggestion or comment, (called a Performance Improvement Notice or PIN) using any of the methods below.

  • refer to Stevenage Borough Council’s complaints procedure
  • contact the customer service centre on 01438 242666
  • complete a complaints form available from the customer service centre
  • e-mail your comments to yoursay@stevenage.gov.uk
  • put your complaint in writing

Useful Contacts

E-mail your comments to yoursay@stevenage.gov.uk

Customer Service Centre
Tel 01438 242666
Text phone (for people who are deaf or have hearing difficulties)
01438 242150

Stevenage Citizens Advice Bureau
Swingate House
Danestrete
Stevenage Advice Tel: 08444 111 444
Appointments Tel: 01438 344238

Police Domestic Violence Officer
01438 757668

Victim Support
0845 30 30 900

North Herts District Council
01462 474000

North Herts Minority Ethnic Forum
01462 440224

North Herts Sanctuary
01462 435835

The Living Room (a charity supporting addicts and their families)
01438 355649