9:32 AM, 19th September 2023, About 2 weeks ago 13
Hello, we have had a lot of problems from one set of neighbours who regularly display anti-social behaviour. They regularly have drinking/drug parties and light fires late at night when inebriated. The fires at times have been very dangerous and extremely close to our property. On one occasion they had a fire in their backyard and placed a 5-gallon container of petrol at one side and a motorbike at the other all within 2m of a timber-built composite-clad extension to our property.
Aware of the danger and concerned from a safety point of view we tried to liaise with the letting agent. We tried on numerous occasions but he refused to engage with us. He doesn’t answer the phone, doesn’t return our calls or reply to any communication. We reported the incident at the time to the council stating our concerns that these tenants were putting lives and property at risk. It took the council over one year to eventually reply and basically said they couldn’t do anything about it without the tenant keeping diaries.
There is a shared back lane to the properties and beyond that are the properties’ rear gardens. The neighbour has a shed at the bottom of his garden along with a touring caravan parked tight up against a 21m post and paling fence which we erected at our expense 5 years ago.
Lately, lots of different families have been staying in the caravan and parking their cars blocking access to our property. Last year the tenant cemented a concrete paving slab over the communal manhole cover in order to make it back yard level. Concerned about where the black and grey waste was being disposed of and parking issues I wrote to the owner direct at his home address. In the letter I asked him to speak to his tenants, to reinstate the manhole cover and ask them to stop blocking access and to ring me. To date, I have heard nothing and the tenants still block the lane.
On Saturday night last week, a fire broke out in next doors garden shed. It was caused by a log burner, sat on a wooden shed floor with a single wall flue protruding through the wooden shed roof. The tenant lit the log burner and left it unattended whilst he went shopping, meanwhile his 6-year-old son opened the shed door which resulted in a fireball, luckily, he escaped uninjured. His mum was nowhere to be seen but the screaming eventually managed to get her attention. By this time the dad returned but the fire was out of control and raging which quickly spread to the caravan (on finance with no insurance). Thick black smoke and explosions could be seen and heard 2 miles away. Two fire engines, 1 fire truck, 2 ambulances and an incident response unit arrived on scene. Thankfully nobody was injured.
My tenant told him he didn’t have a brain so he threatened her saying he would burn her house down and his female partner said she would rip her head off. It has been reported to the police and they are visiting the tenant to take statements tonight. Everything in their garden was obliterated but it also destroyed our fence, plants, lawn, hedge, shed roof etc.
At the time of the fire, we sent a message to the letting agent as we don’t have a telephone number for the owner. We notified them about the fire and asked them to acknowledge receipt of the message. As always, we have not heard anything, nor have we had an apology for the damage from the neighbour.
On Sunday morning we visited the property to assess the damage. Our back garden has gone from a lovely garden with flowers and plants to a chard mess. Whilst checking the area we also observed where the tenant had been dumping his back caravan waste, on a patch of land we own close by. Whilst taking photograph’s the tenant’s daughter start shouting abuse at us from upstairs bedroom window.
We always knew this would happen; it was just a matter of when. I have obtained a copy of the fire report which clearly states the log burner was left unattended whilst they went out. Surely this is negligence? I am now in a quandary. I am reluctant to claim off my own insurance as I know the insurance company won’t be able to recover their losses as the tenants have no money, so my premiums will go up plus.
If I quietly claim through my insurance the tenants just win again and we as always end up losing out and having to put up with their behaviour. I want the owner to take ownership and deal with his tenants accordingly, so would like to claim off the owner’s insurance? How do I go about it? What if he doesn’t have insurance? I don’t want to take this lying down, what’s your advice?
Thanks in advance for any replies.