I wrote this letter a year ago and posted it online, it feels a lifetime ago but even reading it makes me feel sick with the stress of the situation.
You’ve been evicted now and have finally left the flat downstairs. I hope to never cross your path again and I’m sure you feel the same. I moved into the flat above you only seven months ago yet it feels like years. I have two small children and really had to consider whether moving into an upstairs flat would be manageable as they can be quite ‘stampy’ at times. In this area there is little available for someone on benefits like myself. I am a single parent and both my children are autistic, one far more visibly than the other. I came to believe this upstairs flat could be doable as it is a duplex and my older more severely disabled daughter would be upstairs away from you downstairs most of the time. She gets collected to go to her special school at 8.15am and comes home some time after 3.30pm. My son only does mornings at nursery but as we had such problems we go out most afternoons too. Both children go up to bed around 7pm so the amount of time they could annoy you I thought was minimal.
I was obviously wrong. Rather than approach me to say my children were disturbing you, you let it fester and grow until you became irrationally angry. You systematically threatened me in my own home, you would wait until the children were sleeping and then hammer on your ceiling and shout at us. You even had the audacity to call me a scrounger and tell me to get a job to my face. Apparently because my children don’t ‘look’ disabled it doesn’t count. I tried to explain to our agent to whom you complained about us about their autism and the fact that I can explain to my oldest until I’m blue in the face that running, jumping and banging are not acceptable. She does not understand! I lived on edge, shouting at the children for moving any heavier than a tiptoe. I bought rugs and reordered all my rooms to try and appease you but it didn’t work.
You both lost your jobs and I believe you stopped paying your rent…anyway you were given notice. You blamed me. You waited until 10.30 that night before the shouting threats and banging started…then you pulled your ace card…the fact that my electric meter (because we live in a house conversion) was in your house meant you could play God and turn my electric off as you wanted and that night you wanted to. Off and on it went, in the middle of winter you took my lights and heating and threatened to keep it off all night. What a lovely couple you are.
I was forced to call the police and you had to sign a harassment order. You blamed us completely for your actions. The official eviction didn’t happen for another four months and I lived upstairs from you paralysed by the fact that letting agents round here don’t generally rent to people on benefits and because of the bedroom tax were pretty much priced out of most accessible properties.
Before you left you shouted that my kids are “retards” and in a very poor impression of myself “oh I’m just a single mom with my mong kids.” I guess I’m lucky that until now I’ve never experienced such unbridled ignorance, I mean come on you even used a vile, derogatory word that isn’t even the correct insult for their disability. As someone pointed out, at least now they admit they recognise the autism. At the very least.
I’m sure you’ll never read this. I don’t think a blog about a single mum with two autistic children is really your bag. Anyway, at the end of the month we’re leaving and this building will stand empty. My daughter’s mobility needs are becoming more challenging and carrying her up and down the the stairs when she can’t (sensory difficulties, issues with change as well as Hypermobility and an unsteady gait) is getting too much for me. This last week since you’ve left has been a relief although I catch myself still jumping to tell my son to stop running about having fun. That’s another reason we’re going, this flat is tarnished with your ignorance and unkindness. You made me feel uneasy and often thoroughly upset and trapped. I am ‘lucky’ in the fact that neither of my children have enough awareness to know what was going on and at almost five and three they won’t remember you, or this house or the car you parked on our drive for months not allowing access.
Anyway, I feel a bit better getting it all off my chest and hopefully it’ll reach someone who needs to read it. Try and understand your neighbours and what they’re going through. It can make life so much happier.