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Handling a Harassing Neighbour

Updated: Jan 6

You can’t choose your neighbours and sadly neighbour disputes can become a very real thing that impacts your mental health and well being. 😭 We all want to avoid conflict and a legal battle if you can 😇 , but sometimes you need to take further steps in order to deal with the situation.


This is especially the case if you work from home in the "new normal" era 😷 .

You need a calm and tranquil environment in order to concentrate and be productive.

 

​An article from our United Kingdom Contributor.

 

What Constitutes Verbal Abuse?


The use of words to call names, bully, belittle, terrify, intimidate, or dominate another person 🤬is referred to as verbal abuse. Overt verbal abuse might involve yelling, screaming, or cursing 😤. Such actions are attempts to obtain power, with the purpose of controlling and intimidating you into submission. Verbal Abuse is a form of harassment.


What is Harassment?

what is harassment

Harassment is a repeated and intentional act that can take many forms including:

  • Derogatory or offensive comments

  • Calling law enforcement on you repeatedly without just cause

  • Building or landscaping over the property line

  • Watching or stalking repeatedly

  • Threatening behaviour

  • Repeatedly coming onto your property after being asked to stop

The main thing when it comes to deciding if a behaviour is harassment is if you can prove you have experienced emotional distress related to the incident which can be very difficult to define.

How to Handle a Situation Involving Harassment?

how to handle a situation involving harassment?

If you believe you are being harassed by your neighbour the most important thing is to reduce and if possible avoid confrontations with your neighbour. “Retaliatory action can greatly hurt your case if it ends up in a legal situation,” warns business writer Thomas Brown of Essay writer and State of writing.

If you are unfortunate enough to have a harassing neighbour, you should:

  • Document every incident of harassment from your neighbour, take videos and photos if possible of their actions to help back up the case. File police reports, even if they aren’t all investigated it provides a record of the situation that is strong in court.

  • Speak to a lawyer before going for a lawsuit to see if this can be resolved through a restraining order or peace bond. As part of all these steps you may be asked questions by police, lawyers, etc..., relating to your age, sexual orientation or any other factor that might be considered discriminatory. This is difficult but it is essential in order to help back up your harassment claims.


Should I get a Peace Bond or a Restraining Order?

should i get a peace bond against a harassing neighbour

While in most places you would automatically gravitate to the restraining order, in Ontario the law is slightly different in its wording. A restraining order in Ontario is a legal document placing limitations on a current/former spouse or partner. For a no contact order not related to a spouse/partner you would need to consider a peace bond.

Peace bonds are similar in their goal but have some defining factors that set them apart. Firstly, a peace bond can only last for a year and you need to reapply at the end of the year to get another peace bond if your neighbour is still a threat. Next, you need to go to court and speak with a Justice of the Peace in order to obtain a peace bond. This can take a few days to several months to be actually delivered to the subject. However, unlike a restraining order a peace bond can protect your property against threats of vandalism.

Going to Court

going to court against harassment

Deciding whether to bring a civil or criminal case will depend on the type of harassment you have faced and whether you have experienced emotional distress or genuine fear for your safety.

Within the Canadian Criminal Code there is a well-defined meaning of criminal harassment as acts including:

  • Following a person or someone close to the person

  • Repeatedly trying to contact and communicate with the person

  • Watching, stalking and trespassing at the person’s property or workplace

  • Viable threats to the person or someone close to the person

For all of this you need to prove the harasser has engaged in this contact and known that it was harassment. The person making the accusation must be able to say they felt harassed and had reasonable fear for their safety.


In Ontario, however, harassment doesn’t exist in the civil law and instead there is the tort of nuisance which can be used in cases related to harassment from a neighbour. “This is where you need to prove emotional distress that has been caused by the harassment which again can be difficult to prove without strong documentation,” relays David Biel a journalist for Paper Fellows and UK Writings review.


Interestingly, there was some creative effort in the employment law context to bring the tort of harassment into Canada, with limited success. Click here to read the blog post: Does the Harassment Tort Exist in Ontario?


A similar yet different tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress can also be used against a harassing neighbour 😡 in Ontario. To be successful, the conduct has to be flagrant and outrageous and that it must be intended to produce the harm, e.g. emotional distress, that eventually occurred.


If you are a victim of verbal abuse in the workplace or have problems with a harassing neighbour, contact us for assistance and legal consultation.


Wrapping Up


Don’t forget that you have the right to your home and are allowed to live your life free of harassment. If you are unsure of the situation it is always worth having a lawyer consultation to see whether there is a case for criminal or civil action.

Marketing strategist and writer Rebecca Leigh, Dissertation writing service and Essay services, spends most of her working hours attending tech and marketing conferences as well as consulting with various businesses. She also contributes articles to online magazines and blogs like OX Essays.

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