In January 2020, the Operations team had a change around of patches - I was moved to the Lye, Halesowen, and Birmingham area.  Most of this patch did not have a CRM for a while, due to a changeover in staff and colleagues leaving.

As soon as I took over this new patch, I was regularly contacted by two tenants at one of the estates, both presenting themselves as the victim. When we receive such complaints and both parties state that they are a victim, without any solid evidence, it can be very difficult to resolve such complaints.

The nature of the counter complaints were harassment, verbal abuse, abuse on social media, causing damage to vehicles and family members also getting involved. For weeks I was taking calls from both residents (sometimes over the smallest things). I tried to make agreements with both, explaining the need for positive relationships, particularly during the difficult period of a pandemic but it seemed like nothing would resolve the issue.

Due to escalating tensions on the estate and continuous counter claims, I worked closely with the local police and Dudley mediation team. With the agencies involved, we managed to get both parties to agree to online mediation.

Unfortunately, mediation soon withdrew their services due to the ongoing tensions between the tenants.

The police and I then worked together and agreed that the only way forward was to caution other tenants that causing harassment and wasting police time would result in a fine. We arranged a meeting to be held at Halesowen Police Station and drew up paperwork to issue the warnings. I had lengthy conversations about this with both tenants to tell them the negative impact they were having on each other, the community, the police, mediation services and on me.

I then received a call from both tenants, stating that they had resolved their differences and want to retract their complaints.  They were both apologetic and agreed their behaviour was not acceptable.

Since then both tenants have come together and helped to improve the estate while there were some delays to services due to lockdown and our grounds maintenance contractor leaving. Together, they cleaned the communal grounds, cut back some trees and overgrowth, fixed a broken fence and carried out some painting work.

This was a complex neighbour dispute needing high level intervention due to the different emotion’s parties were feeling. The work involved to bring all parties together to find a positive resolution was challenging and demanding. However, the time invested in this case has produced a success story, that seemed impossible at the beginning.