Being a Good Neighbour and Anti Social Behaviour
As Clydebank Housing Association’s tenant base becomes increasingly diverse, it is natural that different age groups and lifestyles are living next door, or in close proximity to each other. This is a healthy thing, in that it can create balanced communities with diverse opinions, attitudes and ideas. If correctly harnessed, for example through a local residents group, this diversity can give tenants a positive voice, as well as an ability to enhance their community.
Most residents live in harmony a majority of the time, however from time to time given the mix of age and lifestyles it is likely that residents may experience some kind of difference with their neighbours.
This guide intends to offer residents a few simple tips on maintaining good neighbour relations, as well as advice on what to do if things do go wrong.
Radios, TV, Stereos
- Keep the volume as low as possible especially late at night. Use headphones (wireless give more freedom of movement) or listen to music on a personal piece of equipment such as your phone.
- When not using headphones, the bass control should be set at a low level.
- If you are having a party or barbeque, remember the neighbours - let me know beforehand or better still invite them. Most people are willing to accept more noise occasionally if they know when the music will end and that will be able to get some sleep.
In the Home
- Site fridges, freezers, washing machines and loudspeakers well away from partition walls.
- Stand washing machines/ spin dryers on a solid floor or place on a carpet/ rubber mat to reduce vibration. If people live below you, fit carpets and underlay.
- Close doors gently, don't slam them.
- Carry out noisier operations during the day keeping the evening (from 7-11pm as a guide) for less noisy work such as painting and decorating.
- Complete the work as quickly as possible - don't let it drag on for months.
- Let your neighbours know beforehand if you are carrying out potentially noisy operations, using power equipment or working on party walls or floors. Use hand tools if possible.
Cars and Car Repair
- Don't rev the engine excessively.
- Close doors quietly.
- Use car horn only for emergencies.
- Keep music levels down, keep windows closed.
- If possible, carry out necessary and noisy operations during the day and avoid Sundays and bank holidays.
- Don't let your dog bark or whine for long periods of time or leave it alone.
- Keep your dog indoors if it barks when unattended or disturbed. If your dog still barks when indoors make arrangements to leave it with a neighbour or friend or get someone to call in - leave its favourite toy or put the radio on at very low volume.
- Move the kennel or erect a fence so that your dog is disturbed less often by passers-by.
- Try an ultrasonic collar to alter the dog's behaviour.
Acknowledge your neighbours - this can be as simple as a friendly hello as you pass, or if you prefer a conversation on a topic of interest.
Respect your neighbours - if you know you are having a party let your neighbours know about it. Better still invite them! This will promote a good relationship as well as show respect. Remember that guests coming and going must also respect your neighbours. This is particularly important when using the lift and stairs on arriving at, and leaving your home.
Understand your neighbours and accept they are different from you. Not all teenagers hang around drinking and looking to cause trouble, by the same token not all pensioners sit in silence waiting to complain about the least wee thing. 10pm may be bedtime for some, but for others this may the start of their day, for example if they work nights.
Help your neighbours out. This could be carrying a bag of shopping, allowing them to use your phone, or even lending the stereotypical cup of sugar!
If you do have problems with a neighbour try and approach them first about it. Most of us are reasonable people, and a majority of disputes can be resolved without having to involve the authorities. In actual fact sometimes involving the authorities before talking can make matters worse. Before complaining ask yourself if it is reasonable to do so. If so, address the issue with your neighbour as soon as possible so that the problem does not escalate. Remember your neighbour may not even realise they are doing something wrong, and in most cases will not deliberately be trying to annoy you.
Try and be as tolerant as possible. A lot of complaints tend to be about one off events, e.g. a New Years party, or an audible argument between partners. Whilst it is not right that residents are disturbed as a result of these events in most cases residents are unlikely to repeat the offence.
Know your rights! If talking does not work ensure you know what steps you are able to take. West Dunbartonshire Council operate a Noise Team accessible through the Police. For serious incidents you have the right to phone the Police. You can obtain further advice and assistance from your Housing Assistant at our office.
If the worst comes to the worst - the Association relies on evidence from residents experiencing the problem. Keep proper notes including dates and times, the facts on whether you spoke to your neighbour or not, were the Police or other authorities involved - if so ensure you note their details and pass these on. Clydebank Housing Association has a strong Anti-Social Behaviour Policy, which exists to protect all residents and ensure they can enjoy their tenancy. Complaints are required to be submitted in writing. We do not accept anonymous complaints.
This guide is not intended to detract from serious neighbour complaints. We understand that some residents may not be comfortable in talking to their neighbours first hand, however, very often this can be more successful than making a complaint. If there are serious problems such as drug dealing or violence then approach both the Police and ourselves in the first instance.
We cannot guarantee good neighbour relations, but most residents do get on a majority of the time. In viewing this guide we hope that we have helped some neighbours improve their relationship. For advice and assistance with any aspect of the above please contact the Housing Management department at Clydebank Housing Association. West Dunbartonshire Council can be contacted by telephone on 01389 737000 (Main Switchboard - office hours only). The number for Police Scotland is 101.