Vexatious Neighbour - What Are My Options?

Hello brains trust,

EDIT 1:
Thank you all for sharing your insights with me. I really appreciate how this community has provided me with feedback that I can make use of. To be honest I kind of already knew where I stood - but it's good to have the validation.

Looks like the best we can hope for is he sells his house. Otherwise we would be moving out for sure..

EDIT 2:
After reading and sifting through all the great responses from the community I have come to the following conclusions:

1. He can access our real names by getting a certificate from landrata.vic.gov.au.
2. He may be mentally ill.
3. I may be up against an uphill battle here.
4. My sanity is also important.

I do appreciate each and every one of you adding valuable input into this discussion. Even the ones who think I smoke like a chimney because they didn't read the rest of the thread (couple of you - not even worth pointing out but just to set record straight).

I will be signing off this thread now however feel free to direct message me with ideas on how to deal with him - even if it just for amusement! Our brains are tired from trying to think of the next move when all we want to do is think about living our life and planning our future. I think we will be moving out when our 12 month tenure is up (first home buyers). Hopefully we can go back to where we were renting!

Thank you all again!

Hoping to get some help from the community as I get a bit emotional and irrational at times when I think about my situation. I have seen discussion topics on this forum offer the full spectrum of feedback and even the cynicism is welcome if it sheds some new light! Like I said - I am at a bit of a loss on what my options are..

My wife and I moved into our first home about 4 months ago. What was meant to be a new chapter for us has very well delivered on that front but not what we were expecting. We recently bought a duplex townhouse in the Brunswick Area. There are 8 units on the block - broken into 2 rows of 5 units and then 3. The units share walls on the same row (expect for the ones on the end). Our unit is at the end of the first row.

When we first moved in our neighbour introduced himself to us as a VCAT member - all very cordial and stuff - but I realised that he had gone through our bins as he was using some cardboard boxes that seemed familiar. I asked him if he fished them out of our bin - and he said yes and that it's a good thing I forgot to put our bins out (perhaps a passive transgression - but I didn't think too much of it).

The week after he saw me and my wife having a cigarette on our balcony. He poked his head around the shared wall and exclaimed "I didn't know you smoked!". Before I had an opportunity to say anything he had turned around and walked back into his unit slamming the door behind him. The next day I said hi to him and he just gave me the death stare saying he doesn't speak to smokers. I said I didn't mean to upset him - if my smoking is an issue (maybe it's getting into his house through windows or whatever) that I would adjust my habits as I want to get along with my neighbours. He scoffs - and then slams the door in my face again.

At this point I was a little worked up - but didn't act on it as I have a wife and a dog and don't want any unnecessary trouble. I was also confused that my smoking a cigarette got such a reaction out of someone. A few days later as I walked past the front of his house (we share a walkway at the front of our units) I brushed one of his plants (it was sticking out) as I was walking my dog in the morning. There was no damage to his plants. He catches up to me - looks dead straight ahead and says "the next time you touch my plants I'm gonna chop your fingers off". I pick up my dog and ask him "are you alright in the head mate? What if I threatened you with loss of your digits?" He said "I'm standing right here come say it to my face." At this point I said "not worth it - come back when you understand what civil discourse is" and walked off. I called the police and went to the local station to do a report. The police officer whom I spoke to said he can definitely attend but at this stage, without evidence, it is my word against his. And - erring on the side of caution - I decided not to proceed but made a statutory declaration of the event and this was certified by the officer. I also thought to myself that if this person is even a little bit unhinged - I wonder what his next step would be if I triggered him more? I didn't want to find out. From this point onwards the harassment/intimidation/stalking/berating took on new heights.

A few examples:
1. Banging on my door at 6pm on a Friday night whilst my wife is watching TV - multiple times
2. Banging through the shared wall on weekdays - again when my wife is watching TV - multiple times
3. Calling us "typical smelly Indian c$%ts" - we are brown skinned but not Indian (fair mistake but not the point) - at least a handful of times
4. Making noises as he walks past the front of our house to trigger our dog - ALL THE TIME
5. Going through our bins (which we don't have evidence of - but we have evidence of him going through at least 2 other residents' bins - both female - at least twice
6. Spending inordinate amounts of time doing gardening to the common areas - which he is unauthorised to do as he is not licensed/insured/contracted - ALL THE TIME in defiance of explicit instruction from the BodyCorporate (of which I am a committee member)
7. Spraying the front of our unit as well as another unit w/ a pet cat with chemicals and white powders excessively - evidence will show he purposefully goes back to these units to spray additional quantities - singling us out - at least WEEKLY but on occasion 2-3 days in a row.
8. Testing the infrared sensors on our cameras by testing how long it takes for the motion sensor to switch off - SUPER CREEPY
9. Stalking my friends and, more importantly, my wife's friends a whole lot more - videoing their cars as they drive off
10. Doing works to common property at odd hours - e.g. spraying chemicals in front of our unit at 10pm (amongst other incidents)

Now he has made false allegations about our Body Corporate Manager which prompted an investigation but ultimately resulted in no action as the basis of the complaints were of a vexatious nature and lacked substance. Clutching at straws as it was put to us. We have come to learn that out of the 8 units in the block - the neighbour has ongoing disputes/issues with residents from 4 units. And that is not counting the people who have moved out because of his antics. Once he finds out the name of whoever he has an issue with - he takes it further by making complaints of a vexatious nature that ultimately don't go anywhere but obviously take up time and resources.

We have been advised to take out a Personal Safety Intervention Order a few times now. I have found that this means releasing our real names to the respondent which we are not very keen on. We have very unique names and as such - wouldn't take too much snooping around online to find out where we work and what else we get up to including social media.

There is definitely more to this - but again I am not being very objective here because of my proximity to the situation. I would love to hear from people who have anything to add to this.

Many thanks,

S

Comments

    • +8 votes

      Well done - I'm glad you didn't venture any further lest we run the risk of you trying to read.

    • +2 votes

      but still made the effort to comment. Thanks for sharing.

  • +3 votes

    Sorry to hear about your situation. I hope you figure something out. I was in a somewhat similar but less severe than yours. My neighbor was noisy at random times and cutting grass all the time, but there were 3 single guys living in 3 of the units including me so he didn’t dare to take this any further.

    Your neighbor does not have any mental problem and a good old beating will fix him up (unfortunately most civilised people are not going to take it this further and I would not recommend violence as he may come back for ‘revenge’). His main purpose is to annoy and harass good civilised people. You can ignore him, install cameras, discuss this with other neighbours to make a joint complaint.

    If all fails, rent the unit and move somewhere else (I understand that this is the last option). All the best.

    • +2 votes

      Hi,

      This is what it has boiled down to. We are looking to move out and rent the unit by end of next year when our 12 months are up.

      Thanks for your well wishes.

      •  

        Though it sounds like your future tenants will be hard to keep around, or may raise issues from the neighbour with you.

    • +2 votes

      " a good old beating will fix him up "

      I was going to post this exact same thing. For some people who are annoying twats they only understand being shown their place in the pecking order. (Un)fortunately the OP appears to be calm, reasonable, rational and non-violent, and this means the neighbour will only continue to take advantage of their good nature.

      That said, I live outside Australia most of the time in a place where the 'unofficial' way of dealing with similar matters is actually a real option, and the one case I know where someone employed it they ended up regretting it (even though the person on the receiving end thoroughly deserved what happened). The problem was solved, but at what cost?

      Sometimes it's better just to avoid the potholes in the road, and move out / on. Good luck, OP, hope your Xmas isn't ruined by this idiot. You and your wife and doggie will get past this. :)

      •  

        Well said. In non-western country, e.g. asian country, this type of situation will most likely not exist (reasons outside the scope of this thread). If this is the case, the neighbours sometimes take the matter in their own hands.

        •  

          It is taking every fibre of my being to not take matters into my own hands. I do not live alone..

      • +1 vote

        @mikeoz Thanks :)

  •  

    There is a very easy thing you can do. He works at VCAT? Take a photo of him while he is in a public place. Post it on facebook, include quotes and dates of what he has said and when. Watch him lose his job over things like "Smelling indian (profanity)"

    Or bait him into punching you and get him done for assault

  •  

    Sorry you've had to go through this mate but I think you are out of luck. Sure, you can record everything etc etc but I'm not really sure what you can do with all that information. Even if you're 'right', and you have it all on record, and the police and strata and everyone are on your side, fact is you're going to be miserable and stressed out at home while you're dealing with all this rubbish and the (profanity) next door will still be ruining your life.

    My advice: it sucks but just move.

  • +2 votes

    If it's to the point of moving out, maybe it's worth trying a few tactics to annoy him first, if necessary maybe have your wife and dog stay at a friend or family members when you aren't going to be there, leave music on a little loud pointing towards his apartment (baby shark comes to mind) when he isn't there and light up some stinky insense when you are heading out, the trick is to make sure you don't do things that if caught look deliberate but by the sounds of things he should be easy to annoy, take up gardening (in a bad way) and "help out" with the gardens, if it's his thing it will annoy him to no end and all the while keep the camera's rolling to catch any retaliation he tries to take on film. If you are looking to move out anyway then I think it's worth a roll of the dice.

  •  

    Damn was hoping this was in St Kilda ha! RE: https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/425287

    But in all seriousness i feel for you bud.

  • +2 votes

    Might be a little left field, have you considered calling A Current Affair? (identity issues aside but i'm sure they can blur your faces)

    A slow news day might make them care about government employees abusing their power, and the government not caring even after repeated submissions of evidence.

  •  

    I really feel for you…hard to say don't leave but if you decide to leave, it would be a shame😡 or you could use fight fire with fire approach…get his email address and sign him up to a few or a lot of unsavoury sites😁 or do one of those pick an iPhone for no cost for doing a survey spam sites. Waste his time for him, I'm pretty sure a phone company 'leaked' my number to one of those with Funeral insurance, finance and Medical insurance companies, took months to stop them ringing me, they claimed I applied for the Survey they were following up on leads.

  • +1 vote

    Long Game: Organise a collective effort amongst the other neighbours he has wronged (and therefore will have motivation to put him down). Have everyone log all incidents, such that you not only build a large case of personal sleights, but also have corroborative evidence (i.e multiple logs of any one given incident). Eventually, you’ll either come across the one or two pieces of evidence which will turn the tables, or you’ll have built a big pool of smaller infractions and/or weaker evidence which, when given to the authorities all at once, will force their hand. Coming to them, on multiple occasions, with small evidence typically never helps.

    Short Game A: Bluff that you have a big piece of evidence, and offer not to involve authorities if he modulates his behaviour

    Short Game B: Coax him into physical action which generates the evidence you require. If someone was so inclined, baiting him into some form of assault should give concrete evidence of wrongdoings, and said person could easily deny any kind of baiting as he will have no proof (much like your problem of proving his threat when his plants touched you)

    Short Game C: Fight fire with fire. There are any number of questionable tactics someone could use to make his life miserable and that are completely lawful, borderline lawful, or unlawful but unprovable. Whilst I would never advocate unlawful behaviour, I will allow your imagination to fill in the gaps. If you can bring in a collective effort from the neighbors like I mentioned in the “Long Game”, then that makes it a lot easier, however all but eliminates the opportunity to use unlawful (or even borderline) tactics.

    OP, you are not helpless in this situation. There are many, many ways in which you could work towards solving this issue; it’s just a matter of what you’re prepared to do. Ideally, you shouldn’t have to be placed in this situation, as we should all be able to live peacefully in our own homes. But on the wider scheme of things, when you consider that the threat other species in the animal kingdom face is being savagely killed by their ‘neigbour’ at any moment, then you’ve still got a good deal! Hell, even comparing it to others within our own species, and you’re still in an ideal situation (and that’s before comparisons across ages, which only further highlights how well you have it).
    Don’t get me wrong, you’re absolutely right to be complaining about this dropkick. I’m just trying to help turn your mindset away from a negative feedback loop of perceived helplessness and despair; you can get it done!

    •  

      Short Game A: I don't moonlight as a poker player so I'm not the best bluffer. A little straightforward for my own good. Heart on sleeve kinda knob.

      Short Game B: He tries the exact same thing because he actually just wants that to happen. Provoke - get a result - and take it to the next level. He took out a personal safety intervention order against a couple living there previously - who fought it tooth and nail and got it thrown out but the neighbour didn't even bother to turn up to the hearing. He just wasted their time and money.

      Short Game C: I am playing this game as we speak. Again I do not enjoy conflict but I am enjoying a sudden surge of creativity in me.

  •  

    He clearly suffers from some degree of mental illness. In the good old cave man days such people would have been eaten by the local t-rex but alas society has allowed to endure poor gene mismatches and such behavioral developments.

    Move out, or invoke fear like you are a NAVY Seal - or try to look like a tradie. He must fear you in some way or the other. You will find such people are often cowards and will crumble at the sight of authority. I take it you probably don't look very intimidating.

    Brunswick is a host to many psychiatric institutions and the mentally ill.

    •  

      I have an inkling though I'm not an expert. Maybe some sort of anti-social condition?
      I dunno. But his reactions have been over the top.

  • +4 votes

    While the wife and I were renting we had an older gentleman living behind us. He was obviously not 100% upstairs and my wife being a good samaritan used to make him meals and give him a ride to do his shopping etc.

    One day he snapped (at what I am not sure) and while not anywhere near as extreme as what you have experienced began petty tactics against us, including but not limited too:
    - Leaving Coles trolleys on our front lawn (he was behind us) and then dobbing us into the shops
    - Performing knock and runs early in the morning between me leaving for work and the wife leaving so she was home by herself
    - Screaming at us over his fence as random times
    - Stealing our front doormat and other randomish things

    I regularly tried to go confront him about this but he was very good at avoiding me / not coming to the door - but overall it was pretty petty stuff so I wasn't too concerned.

    One day the wife and I both left for work at the same time in different cars, being the gentleman I am let the wife drive off first and I followed behind. We drove past this man and his friend at the bus stop and I just happened to catch them 'thrusting their hips' at my wife's car as it drove past them (wife didn't notice). They didn't see me coming behind them and I saw red for a moment and slammed on the brakes right in front of the bus stop and got out of my car…and these two gentlemen bolted in different directions. It certainly wouldn't have become physical from my end but I was ready to give him a talking to.

    For the remaining 6 months we were there I don't either of us heard or saw him again. Every now and then I see him on the train 10 years later and he still moves carriages.

    While I am not necessarily condoning trying to intimidate somebody this seems to be the only thing that works against these types of people, unfortunately if they believe they will get away with it without consequences there is nothing deterring them from continuing.

    •  

      That sounds unpleasant - I'm sorry you went through that. He hasn't behaved like that to my wife yet - but I doubt he would behave like that in person.

      He has a habit of staring at us as we walk past him (cuz he is outside ALL THE GODDAMN TIME).
      So my wife started recording him every time she is walking past. This curbed his staring - but encouraged him to start doing it to our friends and family.

      How to be a mega-tosser 101

  • +1 vote

    move if not just start been ashole back big indan party get mum to start cooking backyard make place smell like cury house big family party lots drinking if you said big indan cunit well mate that what you ask for.

    •  

      HAHA this!

  •  

    Sounds like you're dealing with a personality disorder, probably the antisocial kind. Don't get in arguments with them - have a read of the article below, there's some tips on how to deal with them (if you google around more for strategies on dealing with antisocial personality disorder you'll find some more too).

    https://www.sanluisobispo.com/living/family/linda-lewis-grif...

  •  

    Has anyone suggested Bikies yet? I think this is the only possible solution. This guy is nuts and he knows and enjoys what he is doing.

    I am glad there are no kids involved. We had moved twice now with our 2 kids and the only thing we worry about are the new neighbours. You never know what you will get until it's too late.

  • +1 vote

    Damn (profanity). Just​ read your post and the reply give me nightmare already. I feels sorry for u op. Hope everything turn out in your favour

    •  

      Thank you for that..

  • +5 votes
    1. Calling us "typical smelly Indian c$%ts" - we are brown skinned but not Indian (fair mistake but not the point) - at least a handful of times

    Clearly he's a racist idiot. I know people today are conditioned to find any other explanation for crappy behaviour besides people simply being racist morons, but that's what this looks like to me.

    Beyond being a racist idiot, he is a petty tyrant. Throwing his weight around the strata because he thinks you're a pushover and cannot strike him back.

    Don't bother with all this stuff about the police and the strata - he has played that game before and is comfortable with it, which is why he wants to get you to play. It's a stupid game which will just make you frustrated at home.

    Here is what you do:

    Members should demonstrate respect for the law in their private lives.

    Right, so you should see where this is headed. Hurling racial abuse and doing all the stupid shit he's been doing does not demonstrate respect for the law in his private life. In fact, using his title and position to attempt to bully you is contract to point 4:

    Members should conduct their private interests so as to avoid situations which would bring VCAT into disrepute.

    Once you have confirmed he is a VCAT member, you should draft a complaint and put it in to VCAT about him. I'm not sure where, but there must be an office for it.

    Once an investigation has started at his workplace, he will understand that you have the ability to play a different sort of game. A game where his livelihood and reputation are at stake. This is not a game he will want to play, and he will likely seek to break off conflict around the strata.

    •  

      OP said in a reply this neighbour wasn't a VCAT member after all he lied about that BUT he is a VCAT employee which is even better for OP as there are very strict "Code Of Conduct" frameworks around being employees of government departments that MUST be upheld in the employees private life as well as in their public service role.

      This would be the best avenue to pursue IMO. Contact his employer and (play dumb) ask about this person's VCAT member status but in that initial request outline ALL the problems that have been experienced and supply any supporting evidence with that initial contact.

      It will immediately be kicked up to an internal HR issue and the disaplanary process will be started. He won't loose his job initially (unless he has enough prior formal warnings by his employer) but they will start a process that will put him under a microscope and make him directly accountable for his behaviour and also provide him a support framework to change his behaviour so that he doesn't get further complaints made about him….. If he chooses to follow the help/advice.

      In the mean time, OP should set up multipul cameras to cover any dead spots of other cameras so this neighbour can't sneak around unseen. We did this on our house after catching someone trying to come down the side 1 night and got a cheap Chinese 720p 4 camera POE wired system off eBay for under $300 from memory and it's a brilliant camera system with infrared night vision with red lights that can be seen at night and we never had another isdue at our place but both neighbours each side got broken into another 2 times over 1 1/2yrs.

  • +1 vote

    Not a solution but it could be funny, in the meantime while you wait for your lease to run out you can be weird and get him really paranoid. Let the other tenants know you're going to be a bit weird for a little while.

    When you know he's going to come around the corner just stare at his front door as if you've been there all day, when he challenges you about it simply respond with "just thinking" smile then walk off. Do it a few times, guaranteed it will freak him the hell out.

    Other times make a lot of noise around the bins like your really filling them up. When he goes to "inspect" the bins will be empty.

  •  

    Have the IR timeouts increased a lot so he can't sneak around so much.

    •  

      Turned the lights on perpetually and turned IR/NV off.

  •  

    Been in this situation before. Ignore the neighbour, setup cameras that record 24/7, setup PO box for your personal mail, purchase a shredder.

  • +1 vote

    Perhaps you and the affected neighbours should all contact A Current Affair and ask them to have a punt at this douchebag.

  •  

    Definitely setup cameras OP. The guy is clearly a nut.

    •  

      Seems to have Arlos based on an earlier comment, and although I wouldn't consider them ideal for the situation, the OP already has some rather damning footage of the petty tyrant's behaviour if my recollection from reading the thread earlier this morning is correct.

      •  

        You are correct. The Arlo's have worked well for me. My only issue has been network dropouts due us current running on 4G hotspot (from mobile).

        This has happened a couple of times but otherwise for a hassle-free installation - it works well for us.

        I imagine jumping on the NBN would solve this issue. Waiting on that!

  •  

    lol enjoy

    • +1 vote

      lol clearly I am

  • +1 vote

    If he's going through your bins put loads of really horrid stuff in there. Liquidise dogshit if necessary. Once he gets it all over himself he might stop.

  • +4 votes

    Reading this post revived a bad experience I had in WA. Will try to keep story short. I own the property and was trying to rent out the rooms privately as I was working FIFO at that time. So this guy came with his mum to view the place, and his mum is a property agent. I was too naive at that time to pick up that there's something wrong with this guy. All was going well until he started writing to me complaining about sticky doors and locks and dirty switches. We correspond by email as I was away most of the time. And I think it was when I replied his email with '…ranting' that started him off. The next time I was there, I saw that he had oiled the door locks so much that oil was dripping off the locks and after a while they became sticky from the oil remnants. He said because the key was hard to turn so he oiled them and accused saying that was how they were when he moved in because i failed to do a full property inspection report within 7 days after he moved in! He started havocing such as opening tins of paint i had in the shed and pouring them on the pavements, moving tree trunks chopped from my neighbour's property to the front yard, moving big rocks from elsewhere to the front yard, leaving lights on throughout the night, broke my vacuum cleaner, etc. My neighbours also told me one day he decided to run out naked into the street in front of the house. My female neighbours with kids were scared too. A few neighbours (the husbands) on the street were planning on coming together to gang up on him. The old couple living next door also told me they suspect he's doing drugs on the property as well. Said they will call the police the next time they see anything again and informed me. Of course I gave him notice to move but he would not budge. I sense that he's bullying me seeing that I am just a weak Asian female. I went to police station to seek advice, they can't do anything until something happens. I was stressed out. One day i was visiting my previous work place and was telling my ex-colleagues about this tenant from hell. One of my ex-colleague Smith is probably a ex-bikie (he still looks like a bikie). He ask me how big this guy is, etc. So Smith is bigger in size than the tenant. Smith said he would go around that weekend to tell the tenant he better move out soon as Smith will be moving in. That actually did the trick! It worked but at a price. So when I was there on the day he's supposed to move, the tenant had a friend, a elderly man, to help him move his stuff. This elderly friend told me he's got bipolar, and that he's more likely to hurt himself than hurt someone else. On that day, I discovered he had broke the tap in the kitchen sink into half…that's how strong he is…how can anyone break a steel sink tap into half?? He also broke the showerhead in the common bathroom.
    I offered to return the excess rent he had paid to which he replied for me to keep it to fix the damages. I said they are not enough! I tried to get some form of compensation from the mum and rich brother by listing down all the damages done but of cos get nothing. It's an expensive lesson learnt.
    The common trait about this tenant and OP's neighbour is that they loved to do gardening work. I guess because it's something for them to do, keep them occupied. He actually burnt a patch of grass in my backyard and say that the grass will grow better. They probably can't stay still and do nothing or even just sit down to watch TV.
    Morale of the story: 'bikies' do work! if you have them as friends. But OP's neighbour is the owner so is a little bit different. and also agree with those that say these people are just out to bully or push over civilised people like most of us are.

    •  

      @Tomato

      That sounds like a very intense experience - thanks for sharing.

      It's strange he is very meticulous in his work - and if he weren't an A-grade A-hole I would not mind one bit - whatever keeps you busy and happy I say!

      I'm hoping that saga is over in your life?

      •  

        yes thank god, that was like more than 2 yrs ago.

  • +2 votes

    Don't have much to add, but I've been in a situation where my neighbors were hell. Tried talking to them, tried calling the cops, but some people are just disgraceful subjects of humanity.

    I don't agree with fighting fire with fire, I prefer peaceful solutions, no point in bringing yourself down to their level. It's not worth it.

    Do everything you can legally and don't cross the line where you become like them, I know it requires alot of patience, but if it works great, if it doesn't perhaps seriously consider moving out.

    I moved out too and never looked back. Those people will answer for their sins come judgment day. You keep yourself out of such a reduced level of existence.

    It really does surprise me how low the human race can go. How can people like that live with themselves and continue life is beyond me.

    •  

      @Zylam thanks for sharing.

      And I agree - I am very tempted but I have some social obligations and I really do not want to stoop to his level i.e. fight fire w/ fire.

      I'd prefer to outsmart him. But I get emotional hence reaching out to the brains trust!

  •  

    As someone who used to work at VCAT I'm pretty sure they would take impersonating a Member quite seriously. However, as a general employee I'm not sure they'd have much power over the other things he's been doing. Judicial Officers are held to a higher standard than the general public regarding Codes of Conduct and as such, have stringent standards that affect their personal conduct. General employees not as much. That said, public service employees are subject to police checks and also codes of conduct that affect our work. Being a shit person doesn't mean you can get fired unfortunately. Without actually checking, I'm pretty sure impersonating a Judicial Officer would breach VCAT's code of conduct for general employees though as it is tangentially work related.

    Having said all that, getting him fired from his job (even though he deserves it!) would probably escalate him and the situation. My advice to continue recording and making notes of incidents, get the Body Corp and the rest of the neighbors on side and eventually launch action of some sort against him. Whether it is done as the body corp regarding issues with the property, or as a individual for safety reasons is up to you. VCAT is actually the main body that would deal with body corp disputes, you could also seek damages in their Civil list or go the Police route and see if any of his behaviour is criminal. It doesn't sound like it's gotten to that point much yet, but threats to personal safety can be quite serious. IVOs are an option, but remember that an IVO is essentially just an order that enforces an additional criminal penalty for breaching it over an above whatever criminal or threatening behaviour is taking place. As you are living in such close proximity and will have to interact with this man to some extent, even if it's just walking past him, the IVO would mostly deal with preventing him from acting in a threatening manner to you etc… If is he mentally ill there's no guarantee this will be effective and I'd seriously weigh up whether getting one is worth it at this point. A piece of paper isn't necessarily going to act as a deterrent for him and if you have real concerns about escalating things or him being provided info about you, then it might be best to hold off. That said, there may come a point when an IVO is the best option.

    My advice is to get some proper legal advice, both for the body corp and also for yourself as an individual. Look at the options presented and go from there. If there are further incidents you feel threaten your safety, then the police can also be a good option and provide some guidance as to whether it's time for an IVO.

    Legal disclaimer: This is not legal advice, I am not legally certified or practicing in the State of Victoria etc… and all info given has been with the intent of promoting discussion etc.

    •  

      @katykat

      RE: Intervention Order - you read my mind. It is just an insurance policy - not a deterrent to someone who may be so unhinged. Doesn't really protect us - it just ensures he gets criminal prosecution which if it comes to - in my mind it's already too late.

      RE: VCAT - turns out he is just an employee - not a real member. He has a habit of pretending to be important though. He had an altercation with another female resident because he was spraying powders and chemicals out the front of her unit - and she has a pet. She asked him why he is doing this and requested him to stop because she has a pet - and he responded with this is official body corp matter and he would get a breach notice sent out to her for getting in his way. He was kicked off the committee earlier in the year. He called the cops on her because she wouldn't let him spray chemicals everywhere. Pretended to be Body Corp to them as well.

      RE: Legal Advice - Our Body Corp Manager was personally targeted by the neighbour in online slander and smear campaign which resulted in an investigation into our manager's conduct. The investigation came up fruitless anyway - as there was no substance to the complaints and they were baseless. The manager has adopted a 'firm restraint' policy on this individual and is very careful to not leave the Body Corp open to ANY form of claim from the neighbour - vexatious or otherwise. In relation to advice personally - we have not spoken to a lawyer. I think it may be worthwhile but I also don't want to end up in the same position as the previous residents in our unit who spent an arm and a leg fighting a vexatious intervention order placed on them by the neighbour which eventually got thrown out and voided - but he didn't even bother turning up to the mediation or any court hearings. He just wasted their times and resources.

  •  

    similar situation here. Spoken to them twice now (irrational and I suspect they forget). been quiet for a couple of weeks - potentially me smashing the weights while working out loudly in the garage and kicking the crap out of the punching bag has helped too………..

  • +3 votes

    "We have been advised to take out a Personal Safety Intervention Order a few times now. I have found that this means releasing our real names to the respondent which we are not very keen on. We have very unique names and as such - wouldn't take too much snooping around online to find out where we work and what else we get up to including social media."

    I think you should go ahead and do this. Your neighbour is going to find out your real names sooner or later anyway. If he's going through your trash and testing your video cameras, then what's stopping him from taking a look at the mail in your mailbox? It just takes one letter partially sticking out (that he can grab without having to unlock the mailbox) to get your name.

    •  

      I imagine if he had our names he wouldn't hesitate in making use of that information..

  •  

    Feel sorry for you, your family, and other neighbours.

    I am surprised there was barely a comment or two related to mental health. He could be unwell and it is worth ringing the local Triage and telling them your story. You can remain anonymous. Things like videoing your friends, spraying chemicals that could potentially harm your pets etc can be looked at as risk to others.

    It is also worth reporting to VCAT about his behaviour. Who knows how is managing at work.

    There is also a problem behaviour program through Forensicare who might get involved if there is enough evidence.

  • +1 vote

    Wow. What a gripping read. Like a Stephen King book, only sadder. I have no suggestions but if I were you I'd be smoking like a chimney on the balcony just to peeve him off. Nothing he can do about it and completely legit. If he complains, tell him you'll stop it once he stops his antics. If not you're going to take up gudang garams and turn the compound into a Balinese night club!

  •  

    your Neighbor is much better than my previous one.
    we are in a 10 units community.
    my previous neighbor was a tenant from gov housing, single mom with 5 daughters, one of them has mental problem (violent).

    she stole our parcels(almost all of our neighbous and the whole street), screaming all the day, police car/men visited us every 2-3 days to calm her down as her mom cant handle her when she was mad. they also kept throwning rubbishes into our backyard, they raised 6 dogs/4 cats/birds/rabbits in their backyard and didnt do any cleaning jobs, you can imagine the smell, the cats also liked to poo in my backyard. the dogs bark for the whole day and they dont give a sh!t .

    finally we kicked them out with their animals, thanks god!

  • +1 vote

    you need a psycho to deal with another psycho or be one yourself

    •  

      Unfortunately I left my psycho shoes behind.

  •  

    Watch Home Alone and get motivated to do pranks, and then just sit inside and don't do it :)

  •  

    To cut a long story short:

    I had a crazy lady living below me in a unit block. We both owned. She made all sorts of complaints to us via email and in person and also to body corporate - mainly about noise. E.g. going to the toilet at night or footsteps on our floorboards (despite us installing the best acoustic underlay available on the market at considerable extra cost, at her request, when we installed floor boards).

    Another time she complained about me putting Ikea furniture together (during the middle of the day on a Saturday). Her complaints were relentless, maybe 3-4 times a week. She would also quite frequently bang a broom against her ceiling. She even threatened to take legal action against me citing the name of a top tier law firm in the city.

    This lady was very noisy herself, played multiple musical instruments (!) and had a dog that barked a lot… I never complained once. Some unwanted noise is just part of apartment living.

    One night she came knocking on my door complaining about our TV being too loud (it was barely loud enough to hear). After calmly discussing with her, I got fed up and asked her not to send me any more emails, not to talk to me or knock on my door… I basically told her i am not interested in talking to her anymore and if she really hated it here so much maybe she should move out… A few weeks later I saw a for sale sign up. She moved out!

    There is a lot more I could say but you get the idea.

    Your case definitely sounds much worse so i'm not sure if this was helpful…but good luck and I hope you get the outcome you are seeking!

  • -2 votes

    I get your neighbour is a pin in the rear, but think of it this way:

    I don't mean to be rude, but you don't sound vary considerate or open to your neighbors way of life. You chose to live on top of your neighbor by moving into a duplex..

    You smoke around people strangers enjoying their garden.

    Your TV is so loud it either passes though a brick wall or travels around it though two sets of windows.

    You want to stop a neighbor who is proud of their home from looking after the gardens because 'you can'. There is no licence for gardening; your 'contractors' are either a friend of or a random person selected by the site manager (not body corporate); and the site's public liability insurance should cover common ground.

    Those sprays and powders may be pesticides, herbicides or fertilisers. You said the guy is a green thumb who is big on property maintenance and recycling. I doubt his spraying has anything to do with you or your animal.

    Your green thumb neighbor saw you waste a still good box. Most duplex's have body corporate pay for trash removal, making bins communal. Neighbor did nothing wrong.

    Him calling you smelly is probably to do an odor which is unpleasant to him. Calling you Indian may not have been as racist as many Indian and non-Indian Asians cook a variety of Asian and non-Asian dishes and call them Indian food. He might hate the smell of 'Indian food.' Or he could be racist and he caught you when you stink (say after physical activity). Either way, if you think it's a fair mistake to call you Indian why don't you find a way to share your family history with him. He called you a C###, so clearly he thinks of you as a friend.

    If old mate is doing gardening at 10pm, it is most likely that he is testing the camera's so he dosen't disturb you when he is gardening in what he seems to see as the evening.

    From everything you said about him I doubt the noises near the dogs are to upset them.

    He might be filming your wife's visitors because he finds it weird that people are visiting a townhouse (because it is pretty weird). If they stay less than five minutes it looks like your selling drugs. If they stay more than a few hours, or late, or visit regularly, they look like they are subletting. He could be a dirty pervert. Your wife's friends might drive loud cars or drive poorly…

    Think about why he is doing what he is doing and become part of the solution!!! Labeling him a crazy racist will not make you life better.

    • +1 vote

      My god you're right. I was definitely blinded by all the context here. Also - I really must've misheard him calling me a smelly Indian %$^# because he was just trying to express his feelings about how he is bothered by the smell of Indian food.

      Also my occassional weekend smoking (referenced numerous times in this thread) must be the absolute height of banality.

      And how dare our friends visit us!

      Oh my - how terribly misguided were my notions. I see the light now. I am the transgressor.

      People loooove to jump on a high horse but have no idea what the horse is standing on. I have plenty of evidence and I guess I don't need to prove that to you.