Case study 4

John is resident Julie's neighbour. The nuisance started almost immediately following John moving into his flat above.  The flats are sheltered housing for the over 55's and are supervised by a scheme manager during the day. Some of the residents witnessed John's behaviour and feel that he is trying to bully or intimidate Julie in the flat below.

Although the antisocial behaviour and intimidation started early in John's tenancy the situation became intolerable after two years when Julie finally reported the matter to her landlord.  The complaints related to loud noise, music, television and hammering from inside the property at all times of the day and night.  Julie also complained about John's drunken behaviour namely staggering about, using foul and abusive language and falling over outside his flat. The music continued on and off for almost a year. Despite a warning from the landlord John continued.  John was also seen throwing household waste and food out of his kitchen window, which would land on the grass outside the flats. Sometimes, the food would bounce off his neighbour's windows. On one occasion, the food landed on Julie which left her drenched with food waste and very distressed.

The situation got intolerable for Julie who eventually went to stay with her daughter, as she was exhausted and felt intimated by John's actions. When she returned, John continued with banging and stamping about and repeatedly playing pan-piped music at all times of the day and night.  The landlord took action against John and instigated possession proceedings.  John then bought himself a car that he parked outside Julie's window and began revving his car engine each day. He left the engine running for up to an hour on many occasions whilst he returned to his flat and left the car unattended.  Julie witnessed John verbally abusing the scheme manager when she approached him about his behaviour, which was retaliation for them reporting him to the landlord.

The landlord acted swiftly and applied to the County Court to obtain an injunction against John to protect Julie and the scheme manager.  John breached the injunction on many occasions, and on one occasion, Julie feared for her life as John was trying to mount the kerb in his car and she thought he was trying to drive the car into her flat wall.  Julie provided a statement to her landlord and attended court to give evidence regarding the breaches. She was cross-examined by John's barrister, which she found very distressing and was traumatised by the whole experience.  John was sentenced to 4 weeks imprisonment.  On release from prison, John continued with the antisocial behaviour and deliberately played his music at full blast.  John then began to play his music and leave the music playing whilst he was not in his property. The volume gradually increased throughout most mornings and escalated as Julie was trying to settle down and watch some television.  John was re-arrested and held in custody until the possession hearing. The incident left Julie very shaken and tearful. She could barely stand and was physically shaken and could not think straight and had to take a sleeping tablet to relax and aid her sleep.

She felt very low and depressed by the whole situation and on many occasions considered terminating her tenancy as she no longer enjoyed living in her flat.  Her health also deteriorated due to the stress of the situation.  Julie was referred to the police support team for witnesses who are deemed as "at risk of self-harm".  The landlord worked closely with the police and social services to provide support for her.

At the possession hearing, John agreed to a possession order and agreed to vacate his property within six weeks of the court hearing.