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Receiving Anonymous Letters From A Neighbour


the_duke_of_hazzard

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The neighbours have had another letter. This time they claim to speak for another road, have claimed to CC in our landlord again (the neighbours that received the letter have a different landlord) and claim to be keeping a diary now.

This is getting a bit ridiculous now.

I actually think you're being quite sensible about this.. the only part of the police advice I disagree with is throwing away the letters.

People are (I think) over reacting about the Soham murders bit. It sounds as though the letter was saying that if the kids are always noisy and screaming then nobody will notice if someone walks off with them screaming. It's just a stupid passive-aggressive threat.. not really saying they are going to murder them.

I'd keep the letters, try to keep the noise down if reasonably practical just to be a good neighbour and then try not to make a big deal out of it.

The person will be someone within very close earshot of your house, probably relatively old with too much time on their hands. I might ask some of the other neighbours if they thought it was excessive or if they knew who might be upset, but that's about it.

If they actually do damage to your property or make serious threats.. then I'd step it up.

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Do the letters come via Royal Mail or by hand? If the latter, I'd be tempted to wire up a hidden camera near the front door and then check it when the idiot posts a letter. Might sound extreme but should be cheap and otherwise this sort of thing can just eat away at you, especially if they start getting worse. I suspect a quick non-violent confrontation with this coward and you'll never hear from them again.

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The neighbours have had another letter. This time they claim to speak for another road, have claimed to CC in our landlord again (the neighbours that received the letter have a different landlord) and claim to be keeping a diary now.

This is getting a bit ridiculous now.

You need to go with them to the police. Make an appointment.

Get it all detailed. Take all letters with you.

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Back in the days when the world was in PAL 25fps, me and my friends used to go and play in a field or up the woods.

Revolutionary stuff I agree.

Have three kids next door that regularly have screaming matches. That's not playing, it's noise pollution.

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Back in the days when the world was in PAL 25fps, me and my friends used to go and play in a field or up the woods.

Revolutionary stuff I agree.

Have three kids next door that regularly have screaming matches. That's not playing, it's noise pollution.

Are you suggesting we send two four year old girls into the woods?

The very occasional screaming that goes in is either due to their joy at playing, or because they've hurt themselves.

And a four-year old child is not a hi-fi. If you can find the off switch on a four year old child, then I'd like to know where it is.

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How do you suggest you prevent children from making noise when they play together?

Therein lies the problem - "noise". Is it "noise"? It's in the ear of the beholder so to speak - the local resident seems to think it's noise. But, is it reasonable noise? If you go and live in a built up area, back to back terraces with gardens, then you'll expect to hear some noise sometimes. You would not however expect to hear screaming kids all day every day.

So either

1. The complainant is genuinely being put out by the noise. So they have a point. Viewing them in the best light - they might be very nervous and don't want to actually approach you, and really upset about this;

2. They're being unreasonable, Victor Meldrew style (ref: comments about maybe having moved from a very quiet area, if they moved next to Heathrow they might also complain about the noise from the aircraft) because the noise isn't really excessive and a certain amount of noise is reasonable;

3. The complainant is not really being put out by the noise, but has decided to complain anyway because they've decided to cause some trouble and the kids are the excuse to throw the problem in your direction - think back, any rows over something like parking in the past? Made any enemies? Someone else made the point: do you have someone in the neighbourhood that likes stirring up trouble with nothing better to do - has anyone else had letters about e.g. car exhaust noise at 7am, the wrong style of roof tiling and so on..

The thing is that they haven't actually made it easy for you to resolve. Lets say they work night shifts and sleep in until 2:30 every afternoon. Solution: kids go out to play in the afternoon. Sorted. Only you can't know that. They haven't provided the information or entered into any dialog with you.

It might point to someone who has moved in recently, and someone who is in during the day when they are out in the garden. The kids have a right to play, yes, and the other person has the right to reasonably peaceful enjoyment of their airspace.

You can "turn it off". You either take them to the local park (in parents place example the local playground is 350m away) or keep them indoors.

Should you have to?

Well, you could ask all your immediate neighbours. "Are my kids bothering you?" and if a fair few say yes, then you are the problem. If they all say no, then note who you asked, and if it comes back again later on, you can legitimately say that you did your best to find out who was bothered and if you were causing a problem. And that is all you could really have done.

If they formally complain then they'll end up being identified. If they turn out to be one of the people you spoke to and they said no, not a problem, they have little case.

So for them it's "put up or shut up".

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And a four-year old child is not a hi-fi. If you can find the off switch on a four year old child, then I'd like to know where it is.

Tom and Jerry. But that's even more annoying than loud kids.

DTMark makes some great points - canvass opinion to see if other neighbours are being disturbed by the cherubs, it could be that you have been too laissez faire (passive parenting can be as annoying as overbearing control freaks) and the noise is at times unreasonable. No excuse for the anonymous letters though.

I've been on both sides of this. The worst case was back in the day when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had a record out and the kids next door played it incessantly - god that was a long summer in Portsmouth. Then my kids recently prompted a long suffering but a bit ******** Swiss passenger to ask my wife if we could make our 2 year old quiet on a long haul flight to Geneva... as if we hadn't thought of it. Boy she went on.

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Are you suggesting we send two four year old girls into the woods?

The very occasional screaming that goes in is either due to their joy at playing, or because they've hurt themselves.

And a four-year old child is not a hi-fi. If you can find the off switch on a four year old child, then I'd like to know where it is.

Don't bother wasting your breath duke. I'm assuming you're not 20stone, a mass of visible tattoos and a pit bull terrier owner so is there any reason for not speaking to you face to face rather than sending increasingly creepy stalker letters?

The miserable ***** on here can criticise all they like but don't let that bother you. All those who think children should be seen and not heard can wipe their own arses when they are infirm.

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Kids do need play and freedom. But I also note that it is not impossible to exercise some control. I have always been astounded at the behaviour of British kids and the failure of British parents to act like parents when the situation calls for it when compared to Spanish, German, French, Italian kids. Whilst not universal, it does often seem to me that we may be Island Monkeys.

EDIT: I remember when we were kids, Sunday was a real no-no for making lots of noise. We weren't allowed to see or call friends or to have them round. No one was. Shops were closed etc. etc. It was a different world when you look back. EDIT2: And maybe an even older person thinks that should be the norm.EDIT3: In Germany scythes are popular because of the limitations on mowing lawns at weekends. They have so much right, it bothers me.

The neighbours kids being complained of are French.

And my family's got many Austrian and German relatives. The idea of keeping kids quiet at home outside of church in Austria/Germany is anathema; they were appalled when I was growing up by the British attitudes to children being "seen and not heard".

I've also taught in Austrian classrooms, and can tell you that they are far from monastic places of quiet.

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Kids do need play and freedom. But I also note that it is not impossible to exercise some control. I have always been astounded at the behaviour of British kids and the failure of British parents to act like parents when the situation calls for it when compared to Spanish, German, French, Italian kids. Whilst not universal, it does often seem to me that we may be Island Monkeys.

Greek kids. You should try putting up with Greek kids.

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I think there is a distinction to be made, between the excited occasional sound of kids playing, and those who make a lot of noise with their parents screaming their names from the back door adding to the cacophony over a period of several hours as happens at parents place.

Exactly. Almost everyone seems to let their kids have free reign over screaming and shouting in the garden these days, either they are poor people with the 'i don't care attitude' or they are middle class like the_duke_of_hazzard and have a 'because I'm worth it' attitude.

This resonates with me strongly because a lot of richer parents in China treat their children like royalty and you can hear by the way the children speak that they are arrogant and have clearly never been told off in their lives. This is why I will never willfully teach young kids.

Without knowing just how noisy the kids are we can't really make an impartial judgement but it seems to me there is both a chance that they are being too noisy or a chance the person is one of those old people who just harass neighbors.

My parents were always very polite and considerate of others and I think if I was making a racket in the garden for too long a period I would be told to be quiet. Another issue is, it's not going to ruin the kids enjoyment just to be told not to scream and shout at the top of their lungs, once they are used to the quieter normal people method of playing they might even mature a little.

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How do you suggest you prevent children from making noise when they play together?

You ask them to play quieter, geez it's not rocket science. I hope you aren't one of those parents who never give rules to their children. It certainly seems that way to me and I think until we know all the facts about just how loud your children are really being then it's unfair to judge the person sending the letter to cruelly.

You say the first letter 'talks about the Soham murders' and with such subjectivity whether you like it or not you seem to be twisting the facts in your favour. For all we know maybe they just said your children are so loud that it sounds like people being murdered? It definitely seems like you were misrepresenting them, look how many people replied saying cal the police from that reference alone! I wonder how much support you would have if you just typed up the letter instead? It might show something a lot more reserved if shown in context.

I really have a good idea in my head about how your children probably sound. I've heard the loud/screaming type of children before yet the children next door to my parent's house were never a problem even with the odd shout and loud chatting.

There is something to say about social etiquette here, like DTMark says how would you like it if your neighbor played loud music all day in the garden? The only reason the police don't usually get involved is it's very difficult to prove how noisy a neighbor is being or what level of noisiness is socially acceptable. A lot of people don't even bother hanging out in the garden so it's never really become a political issue, but I can see how it's an issue for older people who like to sit in the garden.

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We've just heard that someone living on the other side of the road has had a similar anonymous letter complaining of the noise when a tree was cut down in their garden.

It's sounding more like my option (3) then. Trees have to be cut back. What would someone prefer, an hour with a chainsaw, or several hours with a wood saw... or the tree collapsing..

On the basis that people don't normally complain unless there is something to complain about - and my own pet hatred of relentlessly screaming children based on what goes on at my parents place - I was trying to walk a line between suggesting that they might be a "problem case" and that the kids might actually be a genuine nuisance.

Maybe it's a bit of both, but, if/as you get out and talk to people the letter-writers might well turn out to be the known "neighbourhood judge and jury" with nothing better to do.

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until we know all the facts about just how loud your children are really being then it's unfair to judge [...] I really have a good idea in my head about how your children probably sound.

Who asked you to judge? I just wanted advice on how to best handle getting anonymous letters complaining about something I don't think needs addressing from an unknown neighbour.

If you want to project your issues onto someone you've never met on a forum please do it with other users.

The only reason the police don't usually get involved is it's very difficult to prove how noisy a neighbor is being

The reason the police don't get involved is because it turns out the council handles these complaints. And the guidelines state that noisy children can not be deemed a nuisance.

You ask them to play quieter, geez it's not rocket science.

Do you really think this is beyond my wit?

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The reason the police don't get involved is because it turns out the council handles these complaints. And the guidelines state that noisy children can not be deemed a nuisance.

Not always pleasant though either :lol:

Presuming you just have regular kids that let out the odd squeak every now and then and don't shriek incessantly then the problem is really your neighbours, not yours. If you live in very close proximity of other people's houses you have to expect some of them may have kids and that kids do make noise.

I'm surprised that nobody on the street knows who it is.. people usually have form and become notorious for that kind of un-neighbourly behaviour. The local "character" if you will.

Hopefully it will all go quiet now anyway with the weather getting worse (presumably the kids aren't so keen to play outside when it's cold). I expect by next summer you'll have found out who it is ;)

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Not always pleasant though either :lol:

Presuming you just have regular kids that let out the odd squeak every now and then and don't shriek incessantly then the problem is really your neighbours, not yours. If you live in very close proximity of other people's houses you have to expect some of them may have kids and that kids do make noise.

I'm surprised that nobody on the street knows who it is.. people usually have form and become notorious for that kind of un-neighbourly behaviour. The local "character" if you will.

Hopefully it will all go quiet now anyway with the weather getting worse (presumably the kids aren't so keen to play outside when it's cold). I expect by next summer you'll have found out who it is ;)

You don't need to tell any parents that. My daughter has had an incredible scream since birth - even the midwives commented on it. Not sure what I can do about it though. If it were incessant I'd have been committed by now.

Not sure whether I mentioned this, but the first letter complained about screams coming from _inside_ our house.

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You don't need to tell any parents that. My daughter has had an incredible scream since birth - even the midwives commented on it. Not sure what I can do about it though. If it were incessant I'd have been committed by now.

Not sure whether I mentioned this, but the first letter complained about screams coming from _inside_ our house.

No, sorry, I missed that fairly significant detail.

And now see the situation in a completely different light.

The person complaining (given that we already know they're not your direct neighbour), is just being completely and ridiculously difficult / over-sensitive.

Some kind of OCD person with an irrational sensitivity to noise or something. Probably sits in her rocking chair complaining to the cats that the clocks are ticking too loudly.

Still surprised none of your neighbours have been able to tell you who it is :blink:

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