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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 14799
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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I have an issue with the neighbours, its a housing

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I have an issue with the neighbours, its a housing assosiation .
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Manchester
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: up to the Concillor of the area all the stages
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: yes the house in question burned in 2018 and the tenant was found guilty of arson in a court case

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer. I will be the lawyer working with you today.
Sorry to hear of the issue. I will set out my written answer shortly.

If the neighbours are causing you problems / harassing you then you could apply to the local county court for a civil injunction.

However, before you do this, send the neighbour a cease and desist letter to warn them of your intentions unless they stop (and give them 14 days to stop their conduct to allow them to seek legal advice). A template “cease and desist” letter is available at LawDepot

If you go to the search box in the top right corner of the site, it will bring up a list - you want the "general" letter.

You can use your own letter if you wish - it just has to make it clear this is a cease and desist letter, that you demand they stop their conduct, and that if they do not within 14 days you will apply to the court for the injunction and seek your costs.

That letter may well be enough to stop the conduct - as an injunction is a serious legal remedy. The judge will want to see that you have sent the cease and desist letter given an injunction is a last resort.

Assuming they continue, you will need to complete the application for the injunction and send to your county court.

If the injunction application is successful you can ask the court for a costs order to be paid by the neighbour.

The court will list a hearing where you attend and ask the District Judge for an order and the injunction. The application would be made under Section 1 of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. Harassment is defined as “unwanted conduct designed to cause the victim alarm or distress”. There needs to be more than one incidence of the harassing behaviour but based on your question it seems that to be the case so you would be fine with applying in my view.

If granted, the Order is then served on the individual concerned and they are bound by the court order - if they breach the order, they are in contempt of court and could well face a fine and a prison term. The order will say they must stop their conduct with immediate effect. They are very effective given the consequences of breaching the terms of the injunction.

The cease and desist letter will hopefully work so you may not need to apply but if you then I recommend you ask one of the following law firms to step in - they should be able to claim their costs from the neighbour so would be worth asking them to help you with this:

  1. https://www.luptonfawcett.com/commercial-disputes-litigation/injunctions/

  2. https://www.gannons.co.uk/commercial-litigation/injunctions/

  3. https://www.ibblaw.co.uk/service/commercial-dispute-resolution/applying-injunction

If the Housing Association (HA) is not doing their job - you can avail of the Housing Ombudsman service - which is free to use, quicker than court action and their decision is binding on the Home company (as it is an arbitration scheme).

The Ombudsman will not accept the claim however until you have the Housing Association’s (HA) final response to your complaint.

You therefore need to make a complaint to them now and set out in simple terms which you feel they have not acted properly with the neighbour issue.

Once you have their final response and assuming it does not help, you can then go to the Ombudsman, who will investigate the facts and they will make a decision which if you accept, is binding. You can reach the Ombudsman by email here:***@******.*** or via their website : https://www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk/residents/make-a-complaint/

If the Ombudsman does not uphold your complaint then you can consider court action - you can issue "Judicial Review" proceedings which is where you involve the court, and a senior judge or panel of judges looks at the legality of a housing association's decision. If the judge(s) find in your favour, they will make an order which is binding on the Association (e.g. they may say the decision was invalid or indeed, illegal) and they are then forced to act to sort the problem out. Further, if your human rights were breached then compensation may also be payable.

The issue with judicial review is that the cases are quite complex, but as a result of that, a law firm can usually recover their legal costs from the Association if they win the application. You should be able to have a no win no fee agreement with the law firm, to sue the HAl. Or if you are in receipt of means tested benefits then legal aid may well be available to you.

Here are a few firms who specialise in this area :

I hope this helps - please feel free to ask me anything else.

JimLawyer and 2 other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you

I hope this helps and answers the question - my goal is to ensure you are happy with the answer and have the information you need. If you have any follow up questions then please let me know. I will reply as soon as I can to help with any further queries.

Many thanks,
Jim

Please let me know if the answer helped or if you need me to cover anything else?. I am happy to clarify the answer or if you have any follow up questions. If so, I’d be grateful if you would let me know. I am free most days, including weekends, so feel free to ask me anything you are unsure of.

Best wishes,

Jim