What if my neighbour creates a disturbance or deliberately tries to annoy me?
Chances are, you’ve heard of the Everitt Road spat that took place years ago between warring neighbours. Legal recourse is available if you feel that your neighbour has interfered with your enjoyment of land or property.
If the transgression is relatively minor, you should contact your HDB branch office. For example, if a neighbour’s air-conditioning unit is too noisy and keeps you up at night, let the HDB authorities know. Better yet, tell your neighbours yourself to seek an amicable solution.
If your neighbour harasses you in a deliberate and obvious manner, such as using words to insult or belittle you, you can make a police report. Harassment with words or behaviour, causing distress to the victim, is an offence under the Protection against Harassment Act.
Pursuant to section 14 of the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act, generating excessive noise that may cause an annoyance to others is an offence punishable with a fine. However, the authorities would usually only enforce this punishment in extreme cases.
Other manners of nuisance may be less obvious. For example, a neighbour who deliberately tries to annoy you by banging on his floor. If, in spite of the intervention of the HDB authorities, you find that these annoyances continue, consider taking legal action against the perpetrators. You may need to engage a lawyer or register for legal aid at a Legal Aid Bureau.
Under the tort of nuisance, a person who has locus standi, meaning that he has a proprietary interest in the property or land, such as an owner of a HDB flat, can sue another for interfering with his peaceful enjoyment of property. The victim must prove that the interference is reasonably foreseeable by the perpetrator, and that it is a continuous interference.
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