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Help and advice with Neighbours From Hell

Added: (Fri Aug 26 2005)

Pressbox (Press Release) - Neighbours From Hell, commonly shortened to NFH. For many people this term conjures up images of shaven-headed thugs, with tattoos on their tattoos, who play loud music day-and-night and have pit bull terriers on chains.

Whilst it is true some NFH fit this stereotype, in truth, the reality of many NFH is very different. There is no real 'average' NFH.

A NFH can be: A well-respected retiree who has won awards for his or her charity work, a normal housewife, a former or serving police officer, a bank manager, a solicitor, an army officer or company director. There was even a case were the NFH was a council's own environmental enforcement officer, whose job had been to police NFH in his own community! NFH can and do come from all walks of life.

What constitutes anti-social or un-neighbourly behaviour? What makes a NFH? Inconsiderate parking, persistent and deliberate acts of trespass, aggressive or threatening behaviour, harassment, violence, loud music, smoky bonfires, unacceptably loud noises, especially at inappropriate times, and late night DIY. These are only a few examples of the ways neighbours can shatter our peaceful and quiet enjoyment of our own homes.

Sometimes people are thoughtless and don't realise their behaviour is causing distress to their neighbours. In this case, perhaps a quiet word will ensure the inconsiderate behaviour stops. These people arenít really NFH. Just inconsiderate.

But some people revel in the idea that they are causing misery to their neighbours. Or they are aware they are causing misery, but don't care enough to stop. Or they have some ulterior motive for causing distress. These three latter types are undoubtedly, NFH.

What can be done about them? Some people suggest mediation. Whilst there is a place for skilled, sensitive mediation provided through professionally trained mediators, one might be forgiven for thinking that if a person was reasonable enough to abide by the results of mediation, surely they would have been reasonable enough not to cause problems for their neighbours in the first place?

If you believe you have a NFH, what can you do? More than you might think. For thereís a website operated entirely by volunteers who have themselves suffered from abusive neighbours.

The website is called the Neighbours From Hell Information Board, or NFHiB, for short. It can be found at www.nfh.org.uk There is a very active discussion board and also a wealth of information, advice and resources that you can access, all for free.

The one thing visitors to the NFHiB soon realise is that they are not alone. There are, unfortunately, many, people suffering from abusive neighbours. Currently the website has some 7,000 members. This is, of course, the tip of the iceberg of the untold misery NFH inflict on their innocent victims.

The advice on the NFHiB website is based on personal experience and shows how you can make written records of anti-social behaviour (useful to provide evidence of their to the authorities) and useful tips on how you can get the police and local authorities to take your case seriously, and useful contact numbers of organisations that can help people with antisocial neighbours. It also shows how you can make a complaint against councils, housing authorities or the police if you believe your problem with your NFH isn't taken seriously by them. An all too common problem, sadly.

If you have a NFH, remember... you are not alone and expert help and advice might only be a phone call or a click of a mouse button away.

Submitted by:Martin Scholes
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