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WA What to Do With Neighbour Who Invades Our Privacy?

Discussion in 'Other/General Law Forum' started by sujay, 2 June 2016.

  1. sujay

    sujay Member

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    Our problems with neighbour started the day we took possession of the house 3 years ago. We turned up to open the house so removalists could get in and the neighbour was over with phone in hand saying she has called the police as it is a vacant house and she has caught us trespassing and breaking in. To say we were gobsmacked is understated!

    We told her that we are legally entitled to be there as we are the owners and that she was the one trespassing and that unless she wants to be the one charged when the police arrive, we suggest she leave. It has gone downhill from there!

    We live in a rural residential area on 5-acre blocks. You can't really see most of our neighbours' houses due to bush and trees.

    Our car is too loud (we had a vintage race car, road licenced and certainly wasn't as loud as some that drive down our street). We unloaded it off the truck and my husband drove it around the subdivision and before he had reached the end of our street, she was over screaming about the noise. We have too many visitors. A visitor's dog barked during the night, rubbish on her verge had to have come from us, our tractor is too noisy, etc., etc .

    We live on a bush block and have been clearing bush and burning heaps, planting trees, pruning trees, raking up leaves etc trying to make the place as fire safe as we can make it. We are legally allowed to burn in fact our local council ask people to clear their blocks and to make them fire safe as possible.

    We advised her in writing that we would be burning heaps, etc., whenever the weather is dry and fine. We try and only burn when the breeze isn't blowing directly over her place but the breeze drops or changes direction slightly and we get complaints about the smoke. It is more than complaining now. She is entering our property and screaming profanities at us.

    We have now received a letter from her telling us we are bad neighbours and she will be glad when she can get rid of us. She admits to taking photos of us and documenting everything we do so she can build a case against us to force us to move. We own this place so I don't see how she can force us to move.

    We have spoken to our other neighbours who don't have an issue with us, haven't noticed any noise coming from visitors and who all commented on how nice we are getting the place looking. And as for smoke, they all said we live in a rural area and for 2 months of the year. Most people are burning and tidying their blocks. Not an issue as far as they are concerned. Long story that isn't going to end anytime soon, unfortunately!

    We have tried our hardest not to aggravate her but this taking photos of us working on our block and documenting our movements is a violation of our privacy. Tonight we were sitting out the back of our house with a small fire ( We have a small screened area out the back with a small fire pit, the ones you buy from Bunnings and some chairs) with some friends and there was a flash of light and she was over here taking a photo of us by the fire!

    There was no noise, friends had come for tea and we were sitting out by the fire chatting and drinking coffee. So how do I handle this?

    We are not doing anything illegal on the property (or anywhere else for that matter).Should I get a lawyer to send her a letter to stop, ignore her or what?

    Sorry that has been bit of a saga.
     
  2. Gorodetsky

    Gorodetsky Well-Known Member

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    Hi Sujay,
    I'm not a solicitor. I had similar experiences several years back.

    This woman has a personality disorder. She does not have a normal sense of boundaries. If she is sending you "hate mail", coming onto your property uninvited, and documenting your perfectly legal behaviour, she is stalking you.

    Have a read of WA stalking laws.

    Have a read of some stalking advice pages, ege a solicitor to send her a "no contact - no interference" letter. Don't bother with the solicitor past that, costs too much and probably won't help.

    Start getting the police involved. Stalking is a crime.

    You can't fix this on your own. You need help from authorities. But police are usually not interested, maybe ask for a DV officer...they might "get it".

    You need to document every time she comes onto your property. Film her when she does, do not communicate except to tell her she is trespassing and you are instructing her to leave immediately.

    She thinks your property is hers, and she says what you can and can't do on it.

    It's going to get much worse before it gets better.

    Regards
     
  3. sujay

    sujay Member

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    Thank you for your reply. Will have an informal chat with our local police and see what they have to say.
     
  4. Gorodetsky

    Gorodetsky Well-Known Member

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    Hi Sujay,

    Great start.

    Try to make an appointment with a DV officer...I know it's not domestic violence, but a constable in the front desk won't "get it". They tell you "it's not a criminal matter, get
     
  5. Gorodetsky

    Gorodetsky Well-Known Member

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    ! Whoops phone dropped out...

    They say "it not criminal, get a solicitor and sue for nuisance or privacy or something else, but don't bother us.". You go away, get a solicitor, spend lots of money, lots of time, the harassment continues and you get nowhere....but at least the cops didn't have to drive around there and enforce the law.

    here are WA stalking laws: Stalking

    note: intimidate = hinder you from doing something you can lawfully do, like entertain in private at the back of you house or clear and burn trees.
    pursue = repeatedly communicate with that person, whether directly or indirectly and whether in words or otherwise....like continuing to harp on about trees or fires, and sending you hate mail.

    Here is a good advice page: General advice for victims | Stalking Risk Profile

    Here is a list of tactics and behaviors these sort of people commonly use:
    http://outofthefog.website/traits/

    I really hope I'm wrong and that your situation is not that bad and things sort themselves out quick-smart. I do not intend to scare you. and I don't want to scare you.

    Regards,
     
  6. Gorodetsky

    Gorodetsky Well-Known Member

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  7. Clara Barton

    Clara Barton Active Member

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    Gorodetsky may have a good point. Unfortunately any action, criminal or civil, will take months and probably years to change her behaviour. It's not worth it. You need to seriously consider selling up and moving on. If you don't there may be a high price to pay with your health, happiness and well being. And probably a big legal bill or two.

    Down the line any new buyer may want to know about your neighbours, and having court orders in place to protect you from one of them may affect your ability to sell as you may need to declare the issues.

    Taking the legal route and dispute resolution may get her to pull her head in but there are many ways she could continue to intrude into your life. Court orders won't stop every small intrusion and she will always be your neighbour. You will always be on edge waiting for the next thing to happen which is not a good place for you to be for your mental health.

    I known it's a very big cost to sell and move so soon after buying but sometimes you just have to accept it. Move forward to a happier life. Move now and in 5 years time you won't remember the cost or issues.

    Also, what was the reason the last owners gave for selling? Might be worth looking into. I'm guessing they weren't playing happy neighbours either and there may be some recourse if they weren't honest with you.
     
  8. Gorodetsky

    Gorodetsky Well-Known Member

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    Move out?

    Yeah, weigh it up. (I'm guessing Clara had a problem once too.)

    Cost me a about $2000 to deal with my problem person...(cctv system, 3 solicitors letters, replacing some property that was damaged). Took about two years. Stamp duty on buying a new property would have been more.

    But...my problem person also tried to get me sacked, tried to get my wife sacked, tried to turn the neighbors against us. Failed on all because we had told our employers/neighbors we were being stalked. Hell, even tried to break up our marriage, so the potential was there for much more cost than stamp duty....

    So yeah, consider moving out...

    Once the police finally acted on my problem, (and I don't mean, 'well, we'll go round there and hear their side') it was like a switch had been flicked. They didn't even look in our direction. There was no 'on-edge-waiting', there was nothing, it was like they had moved out.18 months later they did.

    Dispute resolution / Mediation?

    Do not consider any form of negotiation / mediation with this person. This person cannot be reasoned with. This person is not a reasonable person. This person has delusions that they say what can and can't happen on your property. Do not communicate with this person again. Do not agree sit sit in a room with this person, (unless they are in the dock, and your are in the witness stand.) It's listed on the stalking advice page under "mistakes victims make" : Trying to reason or bargain with a stalker.

    So move out? Maybe but why should you? We have laws for this sort of problem, and we have police who are meant to enforce them.

    Also listed on "mistakes victims make": Expecting police to solve the problem and not taking responsibility their own safety

    I found the police to be almost completely useless. I hope your experience is different.

    I hope this helps,
     

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