Noisy neighbours


We are all taught to love our neighbours, but what would you do if they turned out to be the noisiest neighbours you have ever had the misfortune of living next door to?

When you have a neighbour who makes a lot of noise it is no laughing matter and can intrude into every area of your life. Excessive noise affects your quality of life, preventing you from fully enjoying simple activities in your home, such as watching TV, listening to music or reading a book. Excessive noise can affect your sleep, preventing you from getting a decent eight hours which can be detrimental to all areas of your life.

Even houses and homes that have good insulation are often affected by modern noise. Sound equipment such as amplifiers and DVD surround sound can even cut through good insulation. While creating a loud noise is not an immediate criminal offence in the UK, it can become a “statutory nuisance” if it is not challenged. Noise would become a nuisance when it is an unlawful interference with the persons use or enjoyment of land or of some right over, or in connection with it. Determining what level of noise constitutes a nuisance can be quite subjective. For instance, the level of noise, its length and timing may be taken into consideration in determining whether a nuisance has actually occurred.

Talking to your neighbour should be the obvious starting point, if your neighbour is polite enough they will comply with your request to bring down the level of noise, but if the noise levels remain unchanged or are increased you will have no choice but to make the complaint formally to the Local Authority Environmental Health Department, the landlord of the property or call the police. Local authorities have a duty to deal with statutory nuisance under the Environment Protection Act 1990. If the Local Authority is satisfied that a noise problem amounts to a statutory nuisance then they can serve an “abatement notice”. The notice can be served on the person responsible for the noise – they then have 21 days to appeal. The notice may require that the noise be stopped altogether or limited to certain times of the day. Complaints can be made in person, by telephone or by email to the Environmental Health Department of the local authority where your name would normally be kept in strict confidence and would not be released to the person causing the noise. However if the council decides to take legal action, you should be prepared to give a statement and attend court to give evidence.

Although noise nuisance is an environmental health matter, the police can also deal with a complaint if the noise amounts to a breach of the peace, or when it is associated with threatening, violent or other anti-social behaviour. In very serious cases of anti-social behaviour the police and the local authority can work together to seek anti-social behaviour orders (ASBO’s) against residents causing alarm, harassment and distress to others.

By instructing Sintons you can be confident that we will handle your matter diligently, providing you with all the information you need to understand the process from start to finish.

If you require any further information please feel free to contact us.


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