Advice on how to deal with bad neighbours?

CrankyCanberran 13 April 2015 14

I’m at a loss as to what to do and looking for advice from fellow Rioters who may have been through a similar situation.

I live in a Weston Creek suburb and have done so for several years. Upon moving in we weren’t aware of the government houses around us. Big deal. Residents of these homes were all normal, working people, until one family moved out and a younger non-working family moved in to one of the houses. It’s a three-bedroom government house, so quite fit for a family.

This young family had no care for themselves, their house or their family. Over the years the kids were removed due and the mother moved out. The remaining occupant now has a number of free bedrooms, which have attracted his “associates” or so he says.

With many short visits to the house both in cars and on foot from early in the morning till late at night, we suspect that drug dealing is taking place. The visitors don’t seem to care at all about what they’re doing, dealing in broad daylight in the driveway. We overhear people walking up to the house talking about how they’re going to conceal it and who sent them so they can get it cheaper.

The house is now a mess with broken down cars in the front yard, metre high grass, collection of road-side “freebies” that they decided to pick up and then dump out the front.

The housing department has been contacted by a number of neighbours who respond with generic “we’ll look into it” causing the occupant to do a quick cleanup and grass cut so it looks half decent when they get their inspection, then goes back to how it is. There are four dogs in the backyard all sharing a single dog house with mess everywhere and they bark late at night keeping fellow neighbour’s awake. Many years of reports to the authorities about the drug dealings finally ended up seeing the place raided by the police. However this hasn’t made the occupant care one bit. It still continues to this day.

I feel for the neighbours of this place – either side and in two houses across the road of this government house has young children who are exposed to the drug dealings and bogan swearing of the visitors to the house. Absolutely no place for young children to be around.

I’m amazed that given the number of families in need out there that the housing department doesn’t take a three-bedroom house off this single person and give it to a needing family (and therefore preventing “guests” moving in to the spare rooms) and their lack of care about whats going on. Mentioning the drug dealing to them simply returns a “refer to the police” but I see them at fault for not properly managing their properties to client’s requirements.

Has anyone else been through this and if so, any pointers as to how to try and do something about this (legally)? Reporting over and over the activities to the police as well as untidiness of the house to the housing department time after time after time is going nowhere. Of course I can pack up and move but I like my suburb and neighbours, and good luck renting or selling a house which is next door to a tax-payer funded drug house.

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14 Responses to Advice on how to deal with bad neighbours?
Evilomlap Evilomlap 1:38 pm 15 Apr 15

I know you mentioned ‘legally’ in your original post so I reckon you’re intelligent enough to already realise this, but for posterity: no matter how desperate you get mate, please DO NOT think about sabotaging their water/power etc. This is illegal and the potential problems it will cause for you will far outweigh the minor inconvenience it will be for them.

zllauh zllauh 1:05 pm 14 Apr 15

email or write a letter to the authorities, call the cops whenever you smell something fishy !
Those dogs can smell anything bad :p
this problem can be solved by a joint effort by all the neighbors !

zhimmyd zhimmyd 11:12 am 14 Apr 15

Hi All,

Thanks very much for your replies. Thinking the RSPCA is the way to go (even thought the animals seem of reasonable health, there is still not enough shelter for 4 dogs). Calling the police/crimestoppers I have done, over a 5 year period, which ended up having the place raided and yet they’re still there.

Making the dog “end up” in my backyard I like hehe.

Thinking a letterbox drop/contact with politicians is the way to go. Agree that the eviction process would be drawn out and long – and mention of the tennants getting a copy of the letters I agree – the tennant (when we were talking many years ago) did say he gets to see them so thats kind of poor. Really a lose lose situation!

tooltime tooltime 10:27 am 14 Apr 15

Bennop, Mate I’ve heard of people leaning a couple of planks of wood on a gentle angle on their side of a fence, any dog worth his salt will just walk right up it and jump out of the yard. Ranger picks him up, end of that problem. But its a numbers game, you’ve got to get the whole street involved in your efforts – think of how harmful that behaviour is those innocent children. And then watch the movie Bad Neighbours :0)

Madam Cholet Madam Cholet 8:32 am 14 Apr 15

The RSPCA is a good suggestion. They act very quickly in my experience – like the same day and they report back to you if you wish about the outcome. In the case that I called them about the owners were told to improve the dogs living conditions within two weeks otherwise the dogs would be seized. Neighbours chose to get rid of one of the dogs themselves.

Anyway, that will get them on the radar. But also continue with the police. and go higher if you think it warrants it…implicate an inactive housing department…which they are (and I know that from experience too).

Kalliste Kalliste 7:08 pm 13 Apr 15

I once knew a guy who applied for emergency housing because he needed someone to live with his kids.. except that his kids didn’t live with him, they lived with his girlfriend (who at that time he was living with, he just didn’t want to live there) so they found him a 3 bedroom place and let him live there for basically nothing and it was a similar situation, lots of guys hanging around, drugs etc.

So one thing you pointed out was this

The remaining occupant now has a number of free bedrooms, which have attracted his “associates” or so he says.

Are his ‘associates’ living there? And is he charging them? The person the situation above started charging people a bit of rent to live with him and I guess the government didn’t like that so much so, although they didn’t evict him, they made the others move out and cut off his rent assistance until he could prove they’d moved out and he was using the house as intended (for his family) – I can’t recall if that was through housing or centrelink though.

Given that his living situation has changed and he no longer requires a house for a family, housing may be able to get him moved to a more suitable residence.

If that fails I’d start with Alexandra’s suggestion to help with the dogs and then when desperation hits, go with Bennop’s tactics.

Heavs Heavs 5:46 pm 13 Apr 15

The issue for Housing is that they can’t just kick the bloke out, they have to go through the process of applying to evict. And do that they need evidence to satisfy the Tribunal. And to do that the neighbours who are concerned need to go on record with letters, affidavits etc that form part of the file. And those complaints/letters/affidavits are supplied to the tenant as part of the due process. With your name and address unredacted. So the tenant now knows who is complaining about them and which house they live in. This understandably often frightens off the complainants. It’s pretty rubbish really.

Benop’s suggestion is the way to go.

Rollersk8r Rollersk8r 4:46 pm 13 Apr 15

I once wrote a simple letter, basically saying nobody should put up with this rubbish and here are the details of who to complain to – ACT Housing, RSPCA, police etc. I then made about 40 copies and put them in all surrounding letterboxes in the neighbourhood. Could’ve be pure coincidence but the noisy neighbours were soon gone.

Alexandra Craig Alexandra Craig 4:22 pm 13 Apr 15

I assume calling the police each time you see a drug deal would be the way to go. I could be wrong though. Re the dogs, I would call the RSPCA and speak to an inspector. If the dogs are essentially living in their own filth I’d say they’re probably not well-fed or vaccinated etc so I presume the RSPCA would be keen to investigate. Explain to them what else is going on at the house too so they can turn up with protection if necessary.

jgsma jgsma 3:49 pm 13 Apr 15

You need to become a nuisance yourself – one call to the police, housing or RSPCA (re the dogs) may get you no-where. Repeated calls (many of them) may have to be the way to go. Police calls can be to the designated number or to Crimestoppers. I would also be taking photos of cars which call repeatedly.

Unfortunately these tenants have ‘rights’ and for Housing to have them evicted is a long drawn out process which takes an enormous amount of time and resources. Sadly it is not possible for Housing to just ‘take the house off them’.

Hmmm – Bennop’s suggestion………………

Bennop Bennop 3:17 pm 13 Apr 15

I have heard of people pushed to extremes in these circumstances, and they dealt with it by repeatedly sabotaging the power and water of the occupant till the till they moved, as housing was forced to put them somewhere that was serviceable.

watto23 watto23 1:57 pm 13 Apr 15

I’d have thought calling the police is the best way to go. They may not turn up straight away, but will use the info and may help them bust bigger operations and or raid the house. The problem is if you come across as another person having a whinge they are less likely to help. Call when you suspect some drug dealing is going on and they may send someone around, maybe hint you feel unsafe and can’t leave your house…. If nothing happens, see if you can complain higher up.

As for ACT government housing. Absolutely useless to deal with, even from a Body corporate point of view. We had one place in our complex causing issues. ACT gov housing did nothing. Luckily we actually solved the issue ourselves and actually helped the resident. Another owner helped her get a job, helped with getting restraining orders out on the men who would turn up and do burnouts etc. We now have a friendly resident who has turned her life around. I realise this doesn’t help you though!

Weatherman Weatherman 1:42 pm 13 Apr 15

I think what often happened in that situation is that the neighbours needed to be involved too, such as getting them to sign petitions and presenting them to people in authority, such as police officers or politicians, because it then becomes an issue with the whole community, neighbourhood, towns and suburb. The state level governments would then become involved in the gentrification process, such as replacing aged community infrastructure to improve the environment and aesthetics.

H2O H2O 11:46 am 13 Apr 15

1. “Tax-payer funded drug house”? Yes, they exist, but please don’t forget, drug dealers also rent or own private houses.
2. You whinge and whine, but you like your “suburb and neighbours”. You can’t have it both ways. OK, fine, move to another street in Weston Creek if you have to, but do your research and ask a lot of questions. What happens in 6 months, and who moves in and out cannot be helped. That’s life.
3. Housing ACT residences are scattered throughout the suburbs, ever since they stopped building the “cluster” housing of years gone by. Good luck with that.
4. I’ve learned to just live my own life and mind my own business. It’s way easier that way.
5. Yes, Housing ACT is the biggest bullshiate, inadequate excuse in the history of government.
6. If in doubt, scared for your life, or it’s impacting on your life in such a way that you can no longer bear it, then move.
7. That is all.

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