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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46207
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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We run a guest house in York. We have been refurbishing rooms

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We run a guest house in York. We have been refurbishing rooms on an off for some time. Our next-door neighbour has complained about the noise from time to time. We do try to keep any noise to a minimum and only during daytime working hours. Recently he came to our front door and verbally threatened retaliation. Today a review appeared on TripAdvisor from him complaining about the noise and warning future guests that he is to embark on a four year campaign of mess and noise at his property. I don't believe he is going to do this and this is a purely a tactic to hurt our business. TripAdvisor have removed the review upon our request. This has caused us a great deal of distress and we believe he actions are illegal under the malicious communications act. We don't know what else he might do. My wife wants to report the incident to the police. I think a stern warning letter from a solicitor would be more appropriate at this stage. I want to nip this in the bud and avoid escalation. Should we report this to the police anyway? Your opinion would be valued. We will have completed our refurbishment in a couple of months in any case.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Would you say that the noise is actually at an unreasonable level?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I would say the noise is not excessive loud or prolong. If there is any work we considered noisy the workmen only starts after we finish breakfast at 10 am and must stop before 2 pm which is Check-in time. Generally I would say noisy work do not exceed 1 to 2 hours in total each time and noisy work is not an every day thing, only during the start of refurbishing a room and thereafter probably once or twice a week lasting an hour or two spread out over the day. The normal noise are from sawing wood, nailing floor routine stuff a home builder does. Our workmen (a builder and a plumber) don't work evenings or weekend and only start work after 9 or 10 am.

We are however doing essential maintenance work, reroofing our building being pretty old (1895) but the roofers are not that noisy and they are only working one or 2 days a week. We expect work to finish next week.

The neighbours are retired his Mrs is home all the time and he works part time. They been here a long time and as usual thinks they own the whole street and even object to us cutting down out hedge which is not adjacent to them but facing the main road. They could not even tolerate the slightest of any noise and is very aggressive. He just rant and shout and is impossible to have a reasonable discussion about anything with him.

I would not think they have much money so the threat to make alot of noise on their property is just a threat to our customers. But I feel we should not have to put up with this malicious behaviour we are just going about our doing our business.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. This is unlikely to be seen as an offence under the Malicious Communications Act and I do not believe the police will take this any further. Of course you have nothing to lose by contacting them but do not be surprised if they do not believe this is a criminal matter and ask you to resolve this via other means. At the same time they could just issue a warning to the person to try and prompt them to stop their campaign, hoping that would be the end of the matter. In any event, it is very unlikely to result in formal action, such as any charges being pressed. Before you consider the police I would agree that perhaps a strongly worded letter, either from you or a solicitor, may be a better option. Getting one sent by a solicitor should not cost too much so you can get any local lawyer, be it a High Street one or more specialist (at more cost however) to write such a letter. You could also do this yourself. I would say that his behaviour is more tantamount to harassment than anything else so you could make that clear to him in your correspondence. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the law on harassment and what things you can mention should you decide to write to him, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46207
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. As mentioned, this conduct could potentially amount to harassment, which could be both a civil matter and a criminal one. The law states that a person must not pursue a course of conduct which amounts to harassment of another and which he or she knows or ought to know amounts to harassment. Although there is no definition of what specifically amounts to harassment, it would usually include alarming a person or causing them distress and must have occurred on at least two occasions. Under criminal law, and if this is reported to the police who then take action, the punishment for harassment can be imprisonment and/or a fine. A court may also impose a restraining order for the purpose of protecting the victim. In addition to criminal action, a civil claim can also be brought against a person who is alleged to be guilty of causing harassment. The courts would award compensation to the victim, something that is unlikely to happen if this is pursued as a criminal issue. So in the first instance the police can be contacted and this matter reported to them as harassment. However, they will not often get involved in trivial disputes so if they believe that this is not serious enough they could refuse to help and advise you that this is a civil matter. In such circumstances, the victim can warn the harasser that their actions are being treated as harassment and that unless they refrain from such behaviour in the future they will be reported to the police and legal action under harassment legislation taken against them.

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