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Nuisance neighbour evidence..Need some recording advice

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Re: Nuisance neighbour evidence..Need some recording advice

Postby techmonkey » Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:26 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Most of the noise that upsets you will be low frequency noise, and that is quite hard to capture with typical consumer recorders because they usually automatically filter the very low freqencies to provide a better, rumble-free recording quality!

To record it effectively you'll need a boundary or pressure zone mic -- or a contact mic -- fixed to the ceiling (or maybe a wall), and recorded with something that has a flat resposne down to 10Hz or so.

There's lots of things that would do a reasonable job... but specific advice will depend on your budget.

Hugh

You absolutely right..sometimes the bass is so loud that it literally vibrates on my floor under foot, on my windows, and even on the arms of my wooden chair! It's very irritating as you can imagine never to have any peace or quiet. I get headaches from it and stressed out. If I bang on the floor she will turn it down but then it goes back up again the next day.

So I've been thinking along the lines you suggested, rather than recording the actual noise, I need some way just to record the frequency and vibration. grab suggested a meter, so that is something I will look into it. If I can get it calibrated and stamped by the supplier and film it, that might just do the trick!
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Re: Nuisance neighbour evidence..Need some recording advice

Postby ramthelinefeed » Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:36 pm

perhaps a seismograph?

Do you have a university with a geology dept nearby? Perhaps you could get some students to come and take measurements in your flat, and get it on the local news (particularly if you could somehow incorporate a roller-skating duck).
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Re: Nuisance neighbour evidence..Need some recording advice

Postby ramthelinefeed » Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:36 pm

May we ask which local council it is?
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Re: Nuisance neighbour evidence..Need some recording advice

Postby techmonkey » Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:38 pm

feline1 wrote:Another solution, featured in the BBC documentary 'The Day Today', is simply to go round to your neighbour's flat, smash in the door and unleash a TIGER.

I do sympathise re: the public sector loonery of your local Council.

B&HCC's binmen used to wake me up at 6am every morning. Which more or less contravenes the law (which basically says they should wait until 7am to wake me up ;)
Their Environmental Health people agreed, but said they couldn't do anything because "we can't take ourselves to court" :headbang:
Narrowly avoiding facepalming myself unconscious, I suggested to them that they shouldn't NEED to take themselves to court, if they just STOPPED BLOODY DOING IT, being, as they were, well aware of their own breaking of the law.
But that didn't work, so I just moved house instead.

BEST STORY EVER. :D

Oh so true, they are utter idiots! You know the worse thing is.. this tenant has breached half a dozen of the tenancy agreement conditions (drugs on premises, sub-letting/multiple friends living there, dog in the flat on 2nd floor, anti-social behaviour, drunken fights with her bf every weekend and often during the week that go on for hours and hours 11pm onwards! Like I said, neighbours from hell. She doesn't work and just sits in the flat smoking cannabis playing loud music all day. There's nothing wrong with her as I can tell apart from being bone idle and morbidly obese. It's so annoying when I'm trying to work and earn a living upstairs, while studying for a degree with the OU.

Here's how stupid the Council are.. I tipped them off the tenant was probably claiming full housing benefits and not living at the flat and was only visiting it for maybe 2 hours once a month last year (this continued for 2 years) and even offered them CCTV evidence.. they called and got no answer.. so wrote asking her to contact council within 14 days and she didn't as she wasn't there..so they served a "notice to vacate" with a deadline.. the deadline past and she contacted them with some excuse..so they canceled it and let her stay!! This despite all the dozens of complaints and breaches of the tenancy I mentioned. Perfect chance to get rid of her and save themselves a fortune in housing benefit claimed on an empty flat.

When I mentioned I had CCTV and was gathering evidence for a legal action against them (the Council) they tried to take legal action against ME to stop me using CCTV! I used a Freedom of Information Request to get all my case notes and their internal communications...they fought hard to deny it but my solicitor persuaded them to comply. I was shocked to see them discussing me with their legal department, to see if they could stop me using CCTV and whether I might be harassing the tenant!
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Re: Nuisance neighbour evidence..Need some recording advice

Postby techmonkey » Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:40 pm

feline1 wrote:May we ask which local council it is?

Redditch Borough Council
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Re: Nuisance neighbour evidence..Need some recording advice

Postby techmonkey » Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:41 pm

feline1 wrote:perhaps a seismograph?

Do you have a university with a geology dept nearby? Perhaps you could get some students to come and take measurements in your flat, and get it on the local news (particularly if you could somehow incorporate a roller-skating duck).

There's an idea! I'm determined to shame the Council up if this does go to court.. it will be all over the newspapers.
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Re: Nuisance neighbour evidence..Need some recording advice

Postby techmonkey » Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:43 pm

narcoman wrote:You live in a flat?

then the properties will be owned under leasehold. Contact the the owners of the lease or the maintenance company. It will be in breach of the terms of the lease and will affect thew mortgage on the property. If the neighbour is a leaseholder his mortgage may be in jeopardy under such a breach OR if he is a tenant his landlords mortgage will be.

Either way - contact the maintenance company or his landlord if he is a tenant.

The Council owns the building and the flats. I actually have been wanting to buy my flat for the last 3 years and hurry up and sell to move somewhere better..but I'm hesitant with this nuisance neighbour as the Council have this stupid rule that you can't sell for 5 years. I asked if they would make any exception for my situation if the problem with my neighbour escalates and they said no, no exception.
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Re: Nuisance neighbour evidence..Need some recording advice

Postby ramthelinefeed » Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:48 pm

techmonkey wrote:When I mentioned I had CCTV and was gathering evidence for a legal action against them (the Council) they tried to take legal action against ME to stop me using CCTV! I used a Freedom of Information Request to get all my case notes and their internal communications...they fought hard to deny it but my solicitor persuaded them to comply. I was shocked to see them discussing me with their legal department, to see if they could stop me using CCTV and whether I might be harassing the tenant!

Dreadful!

Well, here is their complaints procedure:
http://redditch.whub.org.uk/cms/council-and-democracy/complaints-procedure.aspx

Have you not gone through that with them?
Once you've gone through that formal process with them, you can escalate things to the local government ombudsman.
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Re: Nuisance neighbour evidence..Need some recording advice

Postby techmonkey » Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:51 pm

feline1 wrote:PS I am also slightly perturbed that your solicitor was not aware of the Local Government Ombudsman. But then I dare say they'd prefer you to pay them to take the matter to court instead...

That's the situation I'm at now.. my solicitor is just writing letters for me at moment so it's not costing me much..but it's certainly got the Council's attention! They came out last week and visited the tenant and started some dialogue with me. My solicitor gave them 28 days to take action to remedy the situation and offer alternative housing if need be, or face court action. And so I decided to try the Ombudsman now as a last resort before court.

This is what happened last week.. the Council made an unannounced visit to the tenant and asked her to put the stereo on while they watched.. they said she never touched the volume and it was "a reasonable level that wouldn't cause a nuisance". She told them she never puts it past that level and so it must be another flat. She also denied having a dog in the flat and said shes never had one there.. despite it staying there every few weeks. They took her word for it and said there's nothing else they can do. The very same day, she had the dog in the flat again brought by her bf and kept several days.. and also the loud music back on.

It seems the only thing I can do is to get solid evidence and show the Council and then if they still don't lay down the law with the tenant, it will have to be up to a judge to decide.
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Re: Nuisance neighbour evidence..Need some recording advice

Postby techmonkey » Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:54 pm

techmonkey wrote:
feline1 wrote:PS I am also slightly perturbed that your solicitor was not aware of the Local Government Ombudsman. But then I dare say they'd prefer you to pay them to take the matter to court instead...

That's the situation I'm at now.. my solicitor is just writing letters for me at moment so it's not costing me much..but it's certainly got the Council's attention! They came out last week and visited the tenant and started some dialogue with me. My solicitor gave them 28 days to take action to remedy the situation and offer alternative housing if need be, or face court action. And so I decided to try the Ombudsman now as a last resort before court.

This is what happened last week.. the Council made an unannounced visit to the tenant and asked her to put the stereo on while they watched.. they said she never touched the volume and it was "a reasonable level that wouldn't cause a nuisance". She told them she never puts it past that level and so it must be another flat. She also denied having a dog in the flat and said shes never had one there.. despite it staying there every few weeks. They took her word for it and said there's nothing else they can do. The very same day, she had the dog in the flat again brought by her bf and kept several days.. and also the loud music back on.

It seems the only thing I can do is to get solid evidence and show the Council and then if they still don't lay down the law with the tenant, it will have to be up to a judge to decide.

I took it all the way with the internal complaints to the top, and was speaking to the Director of the council. She assured me it would be dealt with and all her departments would have a meeting and work together, including the local anti-social behaviour officer.. she wrote back and said having reviewed all the case history, they have determined that no noise nuisance exists and the Council have acted appropriately.
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Re: Nuisance neighbour evidence..Need some recording advice

Postby techmonkey » Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:59 pm

nathanscribe wrote:

Anyhow, I am amazed that for 5 years the OP is still living there. I'd have moved by now if there was any way at all of doing so. My utter and absolute sympathies if not.


Aye, I've been really tempted lately to just walk away and rent private, but my friends and family say I'd be mad to give up a secure tenancy and the right to buy with a 40% discount. I'd probably not be able to afford a mortgage on my own earnings. So it's a tricky situation eh, but I have to think of my sanity I'm not sure how much I can take. The tenant knows how to play the system inside out. I'm actually taking sleeping pills just to sleep. If they're not playing loud bass music, or arguing, they're constantly doing DIY at gone 11pm. Despite having the tenancy since 2006, they have only just moved in 3 months ago full time!
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Re: Nuisance neighbour evidence..Need some recording advice

Postby techmonkey » Tue Mar 27, 2012 5:19 pm

feline1 wrote:I am pretty surprised, though, that your local council's Environmental Health people cannot witness breaches "outside office hours" - not least because one of the typical rules of legal thumb for whether noise constitutes a "statutory nuisance" is that it is occuring between 11pm and 7am...! How can they ascertain this if they only work 9 to 5!?

Brighton's lot will come round as late as 3am at the weekends.

This suggests to me another route: your council will have a formal Complaints procedure. If you follow that, and don't achieve satisfaction, you can take the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman. This would be a damn sight cheaper that taking the council to court.


I did some checking into this and it seems to vary for different Council authorities and they have no standard set of rules they work from..although you're right, they are supposed to come out and witness at "anti-social hours".

When I had the noise abatement notice issued and was wanting them to witness a breach, I called three times on different occasions when it would have been perfect. One time nobody answered as it was after 6pm I just got a recorded message saying they would call back, but nobody did..another time they said nobody was available to come out (during office hours), and another time they actually did come out but took so long the noise had dropped to a level the officer said wasn't a statutory breach unless it was occurring at that level after 11pm.

Redditch's EVH have some rule that they won't come out between 12am and 7am if my memory serves. And at the time when I was having most of my problems with the tenant it was when she had 3 people sharing the flat and they were partying hard until 2 or 3am with the music on loud.

I called the police and they said its not their job and to call Environmental Health, but gave me a crime incident number over the phone. Heh.

I actually had it out with EVH a big row with their senior guy who was a real Mr Know-All and one of those "don't question me" types. He tried to make out that their procedural rules on when they can come out, how long you can record for, over what duration etc, are all rules set down by central government under the Environmental Health legislation. When I told him they weren't and asked him to show me which parts of the Act stipulated those restrictions, he couldn't. Then he changed his tune to, "oh we know what the Courts will accept as evidence, we have to do how we think the case will succeed else its a waste of time and money". Utterly arrogant! Surely its for the judge to determine that.
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Re: Nuisance neighbour evidence..Need some recording advice

Postby Guy Johnson » Tue Mar 27, 2012 5:24 pm

Surely if they are bad, they will have a record of badness. May be an idea to pursue.

And why didn't the Council look for dog hairs, food?

Best of luck, and keep pushing!
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Re: Nuisance neighbour evidence..Need some recording advice

Postby ef37a » Tue Mar 27, 2012 6:07 pm

Just an idea but, if you have CCTV equipment get a fairly decent soundlevel meter, calibrated if possible and record the levels on video with the sound track merely proving that it is a "realtime" recording?

Dave.
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Re: Nuisance neighbour evidence..Need some recording advice

Postby techmonkey » Tue Mar 27, 2012 6:13 pm

ef37a wrote:Just an idea but, if you have CCTV equipment get a fairly decent soundlevel meter, calibrated if possible and record the levels on video with the sound track merely proving that it is a "realtime" recording?

Dave.

That sounds like the sensible approach thanks Dave. I'll start looking for a sound meter. I'm already out £200 on the CCTV stuff! I hope the Council realise they're gonne be sued for all these costs if/when they lose ;-)
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