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Remus2004, Barrister
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 71042
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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We are having issues with our next door neighbour. We live

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We are having issues with our next door neighbour. We live in a semi detached house and the house next door is split into 2 flats. The lady in question lives in the top flat.
We recently had a side return extension. The first letter we received was asking us to move the builders portaloo which was on our drive away from the shared boundary wall across to the othe side of our drive or into our back garden. We couldn't get it through the side return and if we moved it across it would block builders access. We moved it outside our lounge window. We did not respond to letter.
About 6 weeks ago she wrote us another letter complaining about noise. The noise she mentioned was: Children crying, running up and down the stairs and stair gates banging. We did not respond to her letter but removed the stairgates. We have decided not to respond as the previous occupants of the downstairs flat did this and they had a different letter every week and we don't want to engage in that sort of behaviour. we have 3 children under 5. I wish they wouldn't cry as well.
whilst we were on holiday in the middle of June the RSPCA attended our property regarding a report of our cat being unattended. We have decorators in all the time we were away who were feeding the cats for us on a daily basis. The RSPCA inspector saw this and agreed that the cat was not unattended.
3 weeks ago we received a letter from Lambeth council regarding noise nuisance. I spoke to the council, explained and they advised that the case would not be pursued as it is statuary noise and it was closed.
On Saturday just gone, the police knocked on our door and informed us the neighbour had made a complaint that she was being "targeted because she complained about the noise". Earlier last week the rear windscreen of her car was smashed late in the evening. She has more or less accused us of doing this as well as standing in our rear garden and looking at her windows. We explained the whole situation and all the recent events to the officer who said there was nothing to answer to and that he would close the file.
My question, is there anything we can do to stop her making false allegations, its causing us quite a bit of stress and we haven't done anything wrong. We don't want to engage in a constant campaign of letters and false allegations.
Many thanks
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Surely the allegations are not quite false? They are just a wild exaggeration of the truth?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

In which sense? We didn't leave our cat unattended and we didn't break her car windscreen. We might stand in our garden looking at the rear of both properties. We aren't targeting her. The thing that worries us the most is how many allegations or exaggerations can she keep on presenting to various agencies and do we keep on ignoring or do we deal with it directly?

Yes, she is a vexatious accuser. No reasonable person makes this volume of allegations.
But there is an argument that she is mistaken rather than lying? I realise that is because she is mad and unreasonable but it changes your options.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So what are our options?

Would it be possible to give me the information I asked for?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Which information? Have I missed a question? Sorry

No, I am being unclear.
Has she made any allegation that you can prove are lies? As opposed to possibly being mistakes?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

If you look at each one I guess she can say that she was mistaken ie: Unattended cat . But I cant prove that we aren't targeting her because it becomes her word against ours. It just so happens that the car windscreen broke 10 days after she complained to the council.And because it was outside our house she thought it was something to do with us. Which again she could say she was mistaken.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

How should we deal with the situation going forwards?

I do completely see why you are aggrieved about this. Unfortunately people make spurious reports to the authorities all the time and something should be done about them.
The authorities are under a duty to investigate though. There are lots of human rights authorities that say the police and the council, at least, have to consider every complaint. The RSPCA isn't a public body so not bound by the HRA in this instance.
In terms of what action can be taken afterwards, its fair to say its very limited. Its very hard to get justice for the false complaint in the UK by reason of public policy really.
There is an offence of perverting the course of justice that can be relied upon by the police. It is fair to say that its not used nearly enough basically because its expensive and has a very high evidential test. Its also thought to deter genuine reporting and also to stop people who have lied admitting their lie. The difficulty with that here is that her defence will be that this wasn't a false complaint and it wasn't really. It was just something that no reasonable person would report. Children make noise. That is their purpose in life. This was reported because she has unreasonable expectations of her neighbours and wants them to keep their children muffled. Life is not like that.
If the police refuse to prosecute her then you can take out a private prosecution but its not a good idea. It will be extremely expensive and CPS may take it over and drop it on public interest grounds.
Another option is for the police to give this person a wasting police time fine. Only the police can issue a fixed penalty fine. You can take out a private prosecution and that will be cheaper but you need the consent of the DPP which isn’t going to be available I’m afraid.
A much better option is to consider a civil action in harassment. You will find a very interesting article on the point here
Its much cheaper and has a lower standard of proof.
However, you will need to show there are at least two false reports although not necessarily both to the police - she has made a sufficient number of reports to justify this action here if you include the other authorities.
You should also bear in mind that you will have to be able to show that the intention behind the report was to harass you. Its a slightly different test from showing that it is false. She will no doubt say that she had legitimate reason to make every report but I think if you look at the volume of reports and their sporadic and diverse nature then a reasonable Judge would see that the obvious intention was to cause you to have unwelcome contact.
I have acted for people who have sued several times. This is a new area of law opening up becuase of a case called Waxman. I have been successful on some occasions although you should bear in mind that those cases did involve people who had made literally thousands of allegations of a more inflammatory nature. The one that stands out was a young lady who was driving to obstruct between a child and his father and was making endless allegations to social services, the council, the police, the school and any parent who was made enough to listen of child abuse. However, the principle is the same. There only need to be two occasions of unwelcome contact either directly or indirectly.
A cheaper option at the outset is to get a solicitor to write to her warning of the laws that apply and suggest that she stops making false or vexatious claims. If this is something she has been doing all her life then that will fail obviously basically because vexatious accusers lack the judgement that it takes to see the difference between the type of thing they should be reporting and the type of thing they should sort out themselves. If she has just started on a career of making reports of this nature then this might well be enough to stop her.
Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.
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