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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 4:41 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?

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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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Re: Nuisance neighbour evidence..Need some recording advice

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Mar 27, 2012 6:15 pm

feline1 wrote: This is an excellent point - but conversely, will the court have a PA rig with bass bins and subwoofers capable of reproducing sound down to 10Hz ? :round1:

;) No, of course not... but if you don't record it you can't measure it! :headbang:

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Re: Nuisance neighbour evidence..Need some recording advice

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Mar 27, 2012 6:23 pm

techmonkey wrote: 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.

What price sanity and a good night's sleep? In any case, if you buy and then sell you'll be legaly obliged to inform any potential purchasers of your on-going and long-lasting noise nuisance problems... and who'd want to buy your discounted flat then?

I think I'd either be asking the council for an alternative flat, or just cutting your losses and renting privately elsewhere.

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Re: Nuisance neighbour evidence..Need some recording advice

Postby hollowsun » Tue Mar 27, 2012 6:34 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!
Yup.

My pensioner in-laws had exactly the same problem....

Being harassed by hoodlums who smashed windows, were in and out of their garden, vandalism, verbal abuse, abuse from their ignorant parents ... 10 year olds hanging around the streets at 11am on White Lightning, that kind of thing ... you can guess the type.

Had the police round who said they can't do anything ... they need evidence, to see an offence being committed (even though these louts and their families were known to the Plod, they couldn't do anything) ... so the in-laws installed CCTV...

And were told it would be inadmissible as evidence and infringes the perps' right to privacy so it had to be switched off.

The council were even more hopeless and even accused the in-laws of provoking the little tosswits. It's all upside down and mad ... like Htrae (or Planet Bizzaro) in the DC comics where everything's arse backwards

I had to chuckle at you being told the various council departments will work together on this...

That'll be a f'ckin' first!! :roll:

You have my every sympathy, techmonkey.
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Re: Nuisance neighbour evidence..Need some recording advice

Postby Yago » Tue Mar 27, 2012 6:51 pm

hollowsun wrote: ... so the in-laws installed CCTV...

And were told it would be inadmissible as evidence and infringes the perps' right to privacy so it had to be switched off.

Good UK Plod , they love to get this law wrong as it helps them break the law .

In UK if you are in a public place , you have no right to privacy .
So well known that most photographers carry a copy of the laws around with them , and Amateur Photographer (UK magazine) had a give-away of a lens cleaning cloth with this law printed on it !
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Re: Nuisance neighbour evidence..Need some recording advice

Postby ramthelinefeed » Tue Mar 27, 2012 7:03 pm

techmonkey wrote:
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.

Yeah, I am familiar with the type :)
Just keep at it. He will eventually take a job elsewhere and get a £90k golden parachute to go with it :D
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Re: Nuisance neighbour evidence..Need some recording advice

Postby Jeff Ling » Tue Mar 27, 2012 7:06 pm

If you have an iPhone or something similar, there are a few free spl or dB meter apps that might work. I've got several and they work great for me.
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Re: Nuisance neighbour evidence..Need some recording advice

Postby nathanscribe » Tue Mar 27, 2012 7:19 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
techmonkey wrote: 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.

What price sanity and a good night's sleep? In any case, if you buy and then sell you'll be legaly obliged to inform any potential purchasers of your on-going and long-lasting noise nuisance problems... and who'd want to buy your discounted flat then?

I think I'd either be asking the council for an alternative flat, or just cutting your losses and renting privately elsewhere.

Hugh

My thoughts also. If there is an alternative, why put your energies and money and time into battling some cretin who clearly does not give the slightest t*ss what anybody thinks, says or does? You're wasting your life battling things that it's likely will not change in any kind of hurry. The tenant, the council and the police are all failing to make your life any easier, so do what;s right for your health - and it *is* a health issue, noise pollution and other factors cause stress, and you're being forced to purchase and consume medication to alleviate it already.

For your own good, get out, and go somewhere better. I have had enough trouble with neighbours in the past to be saying this with absolute sincerity. They are damaging your health. Nobody's going to give you a special prize for carrying on.
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Re: Nuisance neighbour evidence..Need some recording advice

Postby necromunger » Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:42 pm

go round and knock on there door with this say turn it down and empty the clip.

http://www.anticsonline.co.uk/1873_1_17128.html
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Re: Nuisance neighbour evidence..Need some recording advice

Postby ramthelinefeed » Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:01 pm

Also - I'd point out that you shouldn't be surprised that the Council's own complaints procedure has not done f(ck all - because generally the procedure is that the department responsible "investigates" itself (i.e. the person who you are complaining about has to write you an email restating why the won't do their job), and then the next level is for a Complaints Officer to get that person's boss to write you a 2nd email explaining why they won't do their job...

...it wastes time, and is intended to put you off - but you then go to the Ombudsman.

Bear in mind you should also have 1 or 2 (or 3) Councillors in your ward.
You can find them here http://www.redditchbc.gov.uk/democracy/mgMemberIndex.aspx?bcr=1
Go and meet them personally. Show them this thread. Vomit on them if you have to. :angel:
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Re: Nuisance neighbour evidence..Need some recording advice

Postby Folderol » Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:22 am

nathanscribe wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:
techmonkey wrote: 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.

What price sanity and a good night's sleep? In any case, if you buy and then sell you'll be legaly obliged to inform any potential purchasers of your on-going and long-lasting noise nuisance problems... and who'd want to buy your discounted flat then?

I think I'd either be asking the council for an alternative flat, or just cutting your losses and renting privately elsewhere.

Hugh

My thoughts also. If there is an alternative, why put your energies and money and time into battling some cretin who clearly does not give the slightest t*ss what anybody thinks, says or does? You're wasting your life battling things that it's likely will not change in any kind of hurry. The tenant, the council and the police are all failing to make your life any easier, so do what;s right for your health - and it *is* a health issue, noise pollution and other factors cause stress, and you're being forced to purchase and consume medication to alleviate it already.

For your own good, get out, and go somewhere better. I have had enough trouble with neighbours in the past to be saying this with absolute sincerity. They are damaging your health. Nobody's going to give you a special prize for carrying on.
Absolutely agree with this. Get out while you still can. Knowing that you have complained, the low-life is now probably deliberately aggravating you for 'fun'. Living under constant stress is a main-line route to your first heart attack, and no amount of 'saved' money on cheap rent will buy that back.
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