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Old 26.04.2011, 17:35
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How to deal with a complaining neighbour?

So, a few weeks ago one of my housemates was sat in the garden and one of our neighbours came over...and basically had a massive go at her for 'ruining the neighbourhood.' I think she also had a dig at her for being an evil auslander, saying something along the lines of 'you might behave like this where you come from.' We've lived here for 7 months, and in that time had no problems whatsoever with any of the neighbours. We live in a detatched house, our closest neighbours are a block of flats about 30 meters away.

This woman accused us of causing a litter problem, she even made my housemate go with her to her garden to pick up beer bottles. My housemate is very timid and agreeable, so though she knew it wasn't our fault she still helped. If it had been me I would have been less cooperative . But we always put our paper and card in neat bundles, and on the right day, and the Zurisacks always go into the container in front of the house. And any litter outside our house always gets picked up, so if anything we lake it cleaner!

We also apparently make too much noise with our 'all our parties'. We've had two the whole time we've been here, and they were hardly something you'd see in Skins. There is no way she could have heard the music, which was in our cellar. There were a few people outside, we had a bonfire, but they weren't exactly raving. It is a student WG, but it's not like there were people shouting, fighting and being sick everywhere like a friday night out in town. I was actually surprised at how well behaved everyone was. And most people had left by 12.30 anyway to get the last bus.

My main concern about this situation is that we now have a neighbour who doesn't like us, which I think is a bit unjustified, and I'm worried she can make things difficult. I was hoping to get advice from other people who've been in a similar situation. For example, if we want another party, should we inform her first? And if she wants to cause us problems is there anything she can do? After some of the threads I've read on here I'm a little worried of being hit with some huge fine or being deported...ok, that's a little over the top but these Swiss can be heavy handed.

Thanks
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Old 26.04.2011, 17:49
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Re: How to deal with a complaining neighbour?

So, whose were the beer bottles in your neighbour's garden??
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Old 26.04.2011, 17:56
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Re: How to deal with a complaining neighbour?

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So, whose were the beer bottles in your neighbour's garden??
Well she lives in a building with maybe 30 other people. And there are two other buildings over the road with probably another hundred or so people. There's also a restaurant and bus stop in front of her. So it could be anyone. But her garden is a long way from ours, it's separated by a field. And besides we only had cans of Anker, it had been on offer the week before the party . But I guess it's just easy to blame the new people
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Old 26.04.2011, 18:00
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Re: How to deal with a complaining neighbour?

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Well she lives in a building with maybe 30 other people. And there are two other buildings over the road with probably another hundred or so people. There's also a restaurant and bus stop in front of her. So it could be anyone. But her garden is a long way from ours, it's separated by a field. And besides we only had cans of Anker, it had been on offer the week before the party . But I guess it's just easy to blame the new people
Was this made clear? Because it wasn't clear to me and your house-mate's action in picking up the bottles will have confirmed your "guilt" to the neighbour.

Essentially you could be on a hiding to nowhere with this, but it's worth a try explaining that these bottle weren't from you and advising your neighbour of your next party and ask if she wants to come. Otherwise, you could be on long and tedious relationship that will only end when you move.

Been there, done that...
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Old 26.04.2011, 18:06
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Re: How to deal with a complaining neighbour?

I also don't understand why your house-mate was picking up beer bottles that don't come from your house. You look guilty now. I'd stop doing that, that's for sure.

I'd also nix the bon fires though. ???
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Old 26.04.2011, 18:17
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Re: How to deal with a complaining neighbour?

You'd be surprised how far noise travels in the night when everything else is quiet. General rule is no noise after 10pm. How enforceable it is, depends on how anal your neighbours are but common decency should really give you an indication of when to start toning things down when you are having a party. 12.30pm for a party really is late by Swiss standards imho.

And a bonfire??? *gasp*

I'll just ignore her, not worry about it and be mindful about the noise and trash level the next time you are throwing a party. And maybe tone that bonfire down to a bbq. Your meats will still cook.
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Old 26.04.2011, 21:02
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Re: How to deal with a complaining neighbour?

I know my housemate made us look guilty, but she wouldn't say boo to a goose. She kind of said, 'I don't think it was us.' But she would have said no matter what she was accused of. I think she felt a bit intimidated by this woman who just came having a go at her in the garden. I think she just didn't want to anger the woman any more.

And by bonfire I'm not talking anything on the scale of the Böög, just a little fire maybe a foot high, for keeping people warm and cooking a few sausages.
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Old 26.04.2011, 22:04
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Re: How to deal with a complaining neighbour?

Write a registered letter in your best formal German (or get a friend to help you) to the neighbour concerned pointing out that:

- The manner in which your neighbour acted towards your housemate was unduly aggressive and upsetting and you will not tolerate such antics in future

- The litter on her garden was not caused by you or your housemate

- The fact that your housemate went and helped clear up the beer bottles was merely an act of neighbourliness partly in response to the intimidatory manner of your neighbour and was in no way an admission of guilt

Cheers,
Nick
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Old 26.04.2011, 22:37
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Re: How to deal with a complaining neighbour?

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I was actually surprised at how well behaved everyone was.
In my experience, there's a huge amount of variance in people's ideas of what 'well behaved' means.
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Old 27.04.2011, 00:30
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Re: How to deal with a complaining neighbour?

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It is a student WG
I know of one WG in a house with a garden, where the police have visited on a regular basis as a result of neighbour's complaints. The tenants have been ordered to move out by June 30. If you make a nuisance of yourself (and a bonfire is a sure way to do this) you will face being given notice.

I know landlords that will leave a house empty and do without rent rather than let their house be turned into a WG.
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Old 27.04.2011, 01:03
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Re: How to deal with a complaining neighbour?

Yes, and in fact we should just shoot anyone under 26, or who looks like a student, to ensure we all live quietly and don't use any outdoor space.
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Old 27.04.2011, 16:50
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Re: How to deal with a complaining neighbour?

Well by well behaved I mean there were only a few broken windows, one stabbing and two burned out cars. But seriously, no one even stole a nano .
I'm not worried what will happen if we make a nuisance of ourselves, because I know that we aren't. I just want to appease a neighbour who seems to think we've ruined her beautiful, peaceful neighbourhood.

And I don't see the big deal with having a fire. Especially since our garden is pretty big and surrounded by fields. Does anyone know the law regarding having fires, I tried but couldn't find anything?
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Old 27.04.2011, 17:03
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Re: How to deal with a complaining neighbour?

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Does anyone know the law regarding having fires, I tried but couldn't find anything?
I would think you should know this BEFORE you have a fire, no? Go down to the commune/gemidehandat (or whatever, I don't know german) and ask them.
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Old 27.04.2011, 17:13
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Re: How to deal with a complaining neighbour?

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Write a registered letter in your best formal German (or get a friend to help you) to the neighbour concerned pointing out that:

- The manner in which your neighbour acted towards your housemate was unduly aggressive and upsetting and you will not tolerate such antics in future

- The litter on her garden was not caused by you or your housemate

- The fact that your housemate went and helped clear up the beer bottles was merely an act of neighbourliness partly in response to the intimidatory manner of your neighbour and was in no way an admission of guilt

Cheers,
Nick
And if you truly are without guilt, whether it be noise or bonfires, then send a copy of the letter to your Commune. From experience, I can tell you this may help you if this escalates in the future.
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Old 27.04.2011, 17:26
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Re: How to deal with a complaining neighbour?

Oh dear, I would take the advise of Nickatbasel and Nev above, as soon as possible. However, it appears to me that your biggest crime was to be seen to be having fun
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Old 27.04.2011, 17:54
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Re: How to deal with a complaining neighbour?

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However, it appears to me that your biggest crime was to be seen to be having fun
After some of the threads I've read on here it wouldn't surprise me if this is illegal

And in case anyone else is interested fires are allowed, but there are some restrictions, mainly on what you can burn http://www.bafu.admin.ch/luft/00632/...x.html?lang=de.

"The burning of waste in the open air in Switzerland is forbidden. An exception to this is dry, natural waste from forests, fields and gardens provided it does not generate much smoke." Translated by Google.
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Old 27.04.2011, 18:27
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Re: How to deal with a complaining neighbour?

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After some of the threads I've read on here it wouldn't surprise me if this is illegal

And in case anyone else is interested fires are allowed, but there are some restrictions, mainly on what you can burn http://www.bafu.admin.ch/luft/00632/...x.html?lang=de.

"The burning of waste in the open air in Switzerland is forbidden. An exception to this is dry, natural waste from forests, fields and gardens provided it does not generate much smoke." Translated by Google.
I guess you missed the part that says that fires can be forbidden in areas that are demeed inappropriate. You still need to go talk to your commune.

"C'est pourquoi l'ordonnance sur la protection de l'air (OPair) contient, depuis le 1er mars 1998, une disposition qui permet aux cantons d'interdire totalement l'incinération de déchets dans des zones inappropriées."
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Old 28.04.2011, 14:36
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Re: How to deal with a complaining neighbour?

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I guess you missed the part that says that fires can be forbidden in areas that are demeed inappropriate.
No I didn't miss it. I just figured a little common sense could solve this, rather than wasting the time of the commune. The place we chose for the fire is, in my opinion, very appropriate and very safe. It was on a gravelled area, with no trees or grass. There are big concrete planters around the area. And the closest building is our own house which is 20 meters away.
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Old 28.04.2011, 16:17
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Re: How to deal with a complaining neighbour?

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No I didn't miss it. I just figured a little common sense could solve this, rather than wasting the time of the commune. The place we chose for the fire is, in my opinion, very appropriate and very safe. It was on a gravelled area, with no trees or grass. There are big concrete planters around the area. And the closest building is our own house which is 20 meters away.
Great. Good luck with your complaining neighbors!
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