Resolving problems between you and your neighbours
If you are a Weaver Vale Housing Trust tenant reporting problems with another Weaver Vale tenant, in most cases the Trust recommends you try speaking to your neighbour in the first instance. Good communication is often the best way to resolve issues, for example your neighbour may not have been aware of the nuisance they were causing. Most people would prefer that you spoke to them and gave them a chance to make things better, rather than reporting them to Weaver Vale.
We encourage neighbours to speak to each other in a polite and civil manner. Raising your voice or behaving aggressively will only make things worse. Explain to them what is causing the problem and how it is affecting you. Don’t rake over the past; focus on the here and now. In some cases you might want to invite them into your home so they can witness the problem for themselves.
The best outcome is for you and your neighbours to agree what needs to happen to make things better. We believe that using this approach, neighbours can come up with agreements that are realistic and long-lasting.
If you don’t feel able to speak to your neighbour face-to-face, we suggest you put a polite note through their door. Write down what’s causing you a problem and how it’s affecting you. Make sure the note is polite and can’t be taken in the wrong way. You could start the note by saying “This is a polite note to make you aware that…”. If you are able, give them chance to discuss the matter with you.
If there is a good reason you cannot speak to your neighbour or post a note, then please contact us. Please be aware that the Trust expects people making reports to take reasonable steps to resolve the problem for themselves . If you don’t then the Trust may decline to take any further action in relation to your report.
Restorative Approaches - working together
If you are genuinely not able to speak to your neighbour directly, or it was not successful or appropriate, then your Tenancy Enforcement Officer may recommend a “restorative approach”. This means we will get involved to help you and your neighbours to agree what needs to happen to make things better.
We will work with you and your neighbours to talk about issues, find solutions, and make your own agreements for the future. In many cases we’ll recommend a face-to-face meeting between you and the people who are causing you problems, with your Tenancy Enforcement Officer. This will be arranged by the Trust to take place in a neutral environment.
We believe that using this approach, neighbours can come up with agreements that are realistic and long-lasting. A restorative approach enables people affected by neighbour issues to find a way to repair the harm and take a positive way forward.
For more information please see the Restorative Justice Council’s website: https://www.restorativejustice.org.uk/
Mediation - another route
In some cases where there are disputes between neighbours, the Trust will recommend mediation provided by our partners Altogether Mediation. This is an independent service provided by Cheshire West & Chester Council. Mediation is a voluntary, confidential process where people involved in conflict are helped by a neutral third party (the mediator) to resolve their problems collaboratively.
The mediator doesn’t take sides or impose solutions, but helps the participants reach a solution that can be drawn up into a written agreement for both parties to keep to. Mediation improves communication, builds on common ground and is a proven way to resolve neighbour conflicts.
For further information please contact your Tenancy Enforcement Officer, if you don't know who that is please email us email@example.com
Case Study 1 - 'Barbed Wire'
*Before moving into her property Margaret did not feel welcome by her neighbours. This was a result of brief conversations with one of her neighbours and from hearsay. Her neighbours, Joan and Peter, had lived in the adjoining semi for twenty years and lived a very rural lifestyle. They got up early, went to bed early and loved animals, keeping dogs, rabbits and chickens. Margaret also loved animals and kept dogs.
Within weeks of Margaret moving in one of her dogs jumped up at next door's fencing and caused damage. Peter, on the spur of the moment, put some barbed wire along the fence. Matters quickly deteriorated and the next few months were a difficult time. Margaret firmly believed that her neighbours were being deliberately awkward and bullying. The landlord tried to resolve the reports made by Margaret which included Peter using foul language on two occasions, Peter using a chainsaw in the early hours of the morning, disturbance caused by the rabbits and nuisance caused by Joan and Peter's dogs.
Both parties met. Margaret's daughter came too. Initially the meeting was very tense but things began to calm down after the parties had an opportunity to discuss the issues causing them concern. Peter apologised for his bad language and agreed not to use his chainsaw on Sundays and only after 10am on other days. Joan agreed to reposition her rabbit hutches so that they did not wake Margaret and disturb her dogs causing them to bark. All agreed to be civil towards each other in the future and Margaret and her daughter would approach Joan in future if they had any concerns. At the end of the meeting the parties were talking together about their love of animals.
*names and some situations have been changed
Case Study 2 - 'They wouldn't harm a fly'
Tim lived in a ground floor flat and Paul lived above him. Tim had a group of friends who would visit him regularly and they would watch television and play on the X-box, sometimes until quite late at night. During their visits Tim's friends would go outside to smoke. Paul was disturbed by the noise from Tim's flat but was intimidated by Tim's friends who would congregate outside his flat door and smoke.
A face to face restorative meeting was held between the parties and Paul explained the impact of the behaviour upon him. Paul understood how Tim felt and promised to ensure that his friends did not smoke at the front of the flats again. He also reassured Paul that his friends would not hurt a fly'. Tim agreed that he would not report his concerns to the Housing Association in future but would go and speak directly to Tim.
Case Study 3 - 'Knocking on'
Shirley and Alan had never been on good terms with their neighbour, Barbara, since Barbara moved in seven years ago. They reported that they were regularly disturbed by noise late at night by Barbara's son (now 14) and by loud talking late at night between Barbara and her partner. Barbara felt she was being harassed as she was continually receiving letters from her landlord.
The parties agreed to meet. Barbara explained that her son suffered from ADHD and confirmed that he did not have a carpet in his bedroom. She also stated that she and her partner did not deliberately make too much noise and both parties talked about how thin the party walls were.
Barbara agreed to talk to her partner about talking loudly at night and promised to be more mindful of any noise after 11pm. She also promised that she would purchase a carpet for her son's bedroom as soon as possible. Shirley and Alan agreed to turn off the spot lights in their garden at 11pm which shone into Barbara's son's bedroom. Both parties agreed to knock on each other's door if they had any concerns in future and behave in a civil manner.