What you should do if you are suffering from anti-social behaviour, neighbour nuisance, or harassment.
People react differently to anti-social behaviour and nuisance. What causes annoyance or distress to one person may hardly be noticed by another. You may also find that behaviour which you feel is disturbing may not be nuisance in the legal sense, or a breach of tenancy.
In the first instance, the best course of action is to talk to the person responsible for the nuisance. If this is not possible or if it does not work, it is important that you keep a written record of the dates, times and duration of the nuisance.
Also make a note of what is disturbing you and what action you took yourself to get the nuisance stopped.
If the problem continues, you should contact us and provide us with as much information as you can. You will need to tell us your name, address and details of the nuisance. We cannot easily deal with anonymous complaints but we will offer guidance on what you can do.
What we can do to tackle anti-social behaviour, neighbour nuisance or harassment.
We will take all the details from you and we will investigate the problem. This may involve visiting you and other neighbours to gather more details, taking photographs, talking to the police or other agencies and supplying you and other neighbours with incident diaries. Incident diaries are for you to use to keep a record of the incidents that disturb you. We may ask to see any supporting evidence such as photographs, video footage, doctors’ letters etc.
If the person causing the anti-social behaviour or neighbour nuisance is one of our tenants and there is a breach of their tenancy agreement, we will usually then visit them to discuss the problem. We may also write to them asking them to stop the nuisance.
If the person causing anti-social behaviour or nuisance is not one of our tenants, there may be less we can do. However, we will offer you advice on action you can take.
Before taking action through a court for breach of tenancy, or where the behaviour is less serious, there are other actions that you and we can take to deal with anti-social behaviour, nuisance and harassment.
Mediation is a voluntary process in which trained, experienced mediators act as a neutral third party to help people who are in dispute to work together to solve their problem. In some cases we may consider offering mediation to resolve a dispute.
Working with other agencies
We work closely with the police, local councils and other statutory and voluntary agencies to tackle anti-social behaviour or nuisance. If the nuisance is a persistent noise problem, we can refer the matter to your local council’s environmental health department. They can take action for statutory nuisance.
Magistrates’ courts can also decide that a noise nuisance is a statutory nuisance and should be stopped. For more information on this, contact the community safety team, your local council’s environmental health department, your local Citizens Advice Bureau or the magistrates’ court.
Acceptable Behaviour Contracts
We may use an Acceptable Behaviour Contract (ABC). This is a voluntary written contract between the person(s) involved in the anti-social behaviour and us. The ABC sets out the anti-social acts which the person agrees not to continue. If the contract is breached, this can be used to support any future court action.
If the nuisance or other problem is caused by one of our tenants and is persistent, we may consider it to be serious enough to take legal action. In such cases we may seek possession of your neighbour’s home. If we take this course of action you may be required to attend court as a witness and we may need supporting evidence from other residents affected by the nuisance. They may also be required to attend court.
Court action is a lengthy process and there is no guarantee that a court will give us possession of your neighbour’s home. We will only take this action as a last resort.
Demotion of tenancy
In certain circumstances, we may be able to ask the court to reduce your neighbour’s security of tenure. This would then make it easier for us to get possession of your neighbour’s home if the nuisance continued.
In some cases we may be able to seek an injunction to stop the nuisance, or to stop the person responsible visiting certain areas or having contact with the person they have harassed.
You may be able to obtain an injunction yourself to restrain people who cause serious problems. You may need legal advice for such action, in which case you may be able to claim legal aid, depending on your circumstances.
Magna is committed to safe neighbourhoods and to keeping customers safe in their homes, working towards eliminating unlawful discrimination; promoting equality of opportunity; and promoting good relations between people of different cultures and backgrounds.
Our hate incident policy sets out clearly what we regard as a hate incident and how we will respond to such incidents. Having a policy on hate incidents is part of our response. Our response also includes training for colleagues, taking a multi-agency approach, victim and perpetrator support and tenancy enforcement where necessary.
The policy forms part of our approach to ensuring that the safety of our customers and colleagues is always our main priority. It has close links to our community safety policy and safeguarding work. Through the development of this policy, our aim is to demonstrate that Magna is committed to safe neighbourhoods and to keeping customers safe in their homes, working toward eliminating unlawful discrimination; promoting equality of opportunity; and promoting good relations between people of different cultures and backgrounds.
Our hate incident policy applies to all Magna customers, members of their households and their visitors. It also applies to all Magna colleagues and external contractors, any person interacting with our colleagues or customers and any person whose actions or behaviour interfere with our housing management function.
What is a hate incident?
A hate incident is any incident which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility, hate or prejudice. If a hate incident breaks the law, it becomes a criminal offence and therefore a hate crime.
We record hate incidents within any one (or more) of the following categories (this is not an exhaustive list):
- Religion / faith
- Sexual orientation
- Transgender identity
- Alternative sub-culture, eg Goth or other
Hate can manifest itself under many different names (homophobia, Islamophobia or racism). All hate incidents are serious: everyone has the right to live their life without fear of prejudice, discrimination and hate. Some hate incidents are obvious, such as openly racist attacks. Others are less obvious, such as name-calling, teasing, so-called banter and bullying. Some are aimed at whole communities, some are targeted at individuals. Some involve attacks on people or attacks on buildings.
The UK government’s definition of domestic violence is 'any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional.'
Domestic abuse can take different forms, including:
- Physical abuse: pushing, hitting, punching, kicking, choking and using weapons.
- Sexual abuse: forcing or pressuring someone to have sex (rape), unwanted sexual activity, touching, groping someone or making them watch pornography.
- Financial abuse: taking money, controlling finances, not letting someone work.
- Emotional abuse / coercive control: repeatedly making someone feel bad or scared, stalking, blackmailing, constantly checking up on someone, playing mind games. Coercive control is now a criminal offence under the Serious Crime Act 2015.
- Digital / online abuse: using technology to further isolate, humiliate or control someone.
- Honour-based violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
We work in partnership with a number of support organisations, specifically around helping residents who experience domestic abuse.
For Dorset and Somerset, support and advice is available online from Paragon: https://www.paragonteam.org.uk
If you live in Devon, support and advice is available online from Devon Splitz Support Service: https://www.splitz.org/devon.html
Help is also available from The National Domestic Violence Helpline, which is run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge. Their websites are http://www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk/ and https://www.womensaid.org.uk/ or you can call 0808 200 0247.
For support specifically for men, there is ManKind Initiative: http://new.mankind.org.uk/ Tel: 01823 334244.
Support and Signposting
As well as dealing with reports of anti-social behaviour, neighbour nuisance, or harassment, we aim to signpost you to support you if you've experienced such behaviour. This may involve offering advice and information, putting you in touch with other agencies that can help, providing extra security for your home, or talking to the police about what they can do.
Crimes committed against someone because of their disability, gender-identity, race, religion or belief, or sexual orientation are hate crimes and should be reported to the police. We will work in partnership with the police to deal with these issues.