7.12.2017

How to intervene in the actions of harassing neighbor?

A troublesome neighbor might torment people living in apartment house, terraced house or detached house. A neighbor may be noisy even at nights or spend otherwise disruptive way of life. Sure it is also possible that the harassment goes personal, and a neighbor, for example, insults or observes his neighbor in tormenting way.

What can be done against harassment?

In a limited liability housing company, it is much easier to intervene in such behavior than in a residential area of detached houses. The matter should be brought up in the board and addressed at a general meeting. In the case of rental apartment, the shareholder must be informed of the situation in order to be able to get involved with a warning, and if necessary, initiate eviction proceedings.

The general meeting of a housing company can initiate the procedure of taking possession of an apartment, no matter the disturber is a tenant or a shareholder. The grounds for taking possession of an owner apartment can be, for example, that the apartment is cared for so badly as to cause loss to the housing company or to other shareholders. Furthermore, taking possession of the apartment can be done if the way of life of those living in the owner apartment creates a disturbance or the shareholder or tenant living in the owner apartment violates the rules necessary to maintain order in the housing company’s facilities.

Before a decision is made on taking possession of the apartment, a warning must be issued to both the tenant and the shareholder. Taking possession of the apartment is possible for a period of not more than three years. If a shareholder contradicts the matter, it will be processed in court. An important part of the testimony is neighbors’ reports about the actions of the disturber.

It is more challenging to intervene in your neighbor’s actions when living in a detached house. On your own property, it is mainly possible to act the way you think is the best. Ultimately, it is possible to intervene in the harassment with police investigation, if neighbor’s actions fulfill the essential elements of a crime. Sure, the harassment may continue even after a possible prison sentence, so unfortunately in reality the only effective way to get rid of harassment is to move elsewhere.

Legal cases of neighbor harassment

In 2014, the District Court of Varsinais-Suomi has given judgments in two interesting cases concerning neighborhood relations. Both took place in detached houses. The first case was relatively severe, where the life and health of the neighbors were at risk. The troublemaker yelled insults, broke the mailbox and threw clods of mud towards his neighbor’s car, house and resident. The harassment culminated to a point where the man ran after his neighbor with an ax. The man was also shouting insults at night under his neighbors’ window and revving a string trimmer.

The case was handled in the mediation office and, at the end, those who had been harassed applied for a restraining order. The disturber did not care about the obtained agreement or the restraining order, but continued his actions. The District Court sentenced the disturber to a conditional imprisonment of up to a year and also 30 hours of community service. The judgment concerned a total of eight crimes, the most serious of which was illegal threatening. The convict had to pay a total of 2 600 euros indemnity.

The second case was a slightly pettier case, but it also caused the neighbors great inconvenience. The disturber shouted insults to his neighbors and made loud noise. The troublemaker, among other things, revved his car, motorcycle, lawnmower and chainsaw just to cause disturbance. It came up in the recording, which was a piece of evidence, that the lawnmower was not moving and the neighbor refueled it twice during the disturbing running. The District Court sentenced him to pay fines for violation of domestic peace, two defamation and breach of restraining order. He also had to pay compensation for anguish of 1500€ to each party, as well as 4300€ for legal costs.

Matters of harmony in the neighborhood can sometimes be difficult. Primarily, you should try to get along with a troublesome neighbor. Ultimately, you should start procedures of an eviction or taking possession of an apartment, or take the case forward to a police investigation.

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