Neighbour Noise FAQ

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about neighbour noise and what you can do about it.

Before you complain

I want this noise to stop what can I do?

Speak to your Neighbour - The best way to deal with any issues you have with your neighbour is to speak to them. They may not know that their dog barks all day or their teenage son plays music very loud when they go out.

If the problem relates to a noisy party late at night then it is probably best to wait until the next day before approaching the neighbour.

I don’t think I can approach my neighbour myself what else can I do?

You could write to them letting them know the effect their behaviour is having on you. If the problem affects other neighbours, involve them as well. It can be easier to settle a dispute if the complaint comes from a number of people.

We have a template letter you can use in order to write to your neighbour.

A tenants’ association might help if you’re a member of one.

I have done all this but it’s still happening, can you do something?

If your neighbour’s behaviour is substantially interfering with your enjoyment of your home then we will be able to take action. This cannot be a mere annoyance. An example of this would be that a noise is so loud you need to turn your own TV up to be able to hear it.

Investigations

What sort of things do you take into account when investigating?

When investigating a noise nuisance, we are trying to find out whether there is a statutory nuisance. If there is a statutory nuisance, then we must take action. In order to determine whether a statutory nuisance exists, we consider the following:

  • How often the noise nuisance happens
  • The loudness and character of the noise
  • The duration of the noise nuisance on each occasion it happens

Next door has been having a very loud party until midnight every Saturday night for the last four weeks and I can’t sleep - What should I do?

Because the duration and frequency of the noise is so regular we would not ask you to keep a diary.

If you do not feel that you can contact your neighbour yourself we will write to them explaining that we have received a complaint and we will ask them to reduce the volume of their music.

We will either visit to witness the parties or we will install noise monitoring equipment. If we witness the nuisance behaviour we will serve an Abatement Notice on your neighbour which will require the noise nuisance to stop immediately

How do you witness the noise nuisance?

We may install noise monitoring equipment, which records the levels of noise, you are experiencing. To do this we are legally required to inform the alleged ‘noise-maker’ that we will be installing this equipment.

We may also visit to witness the noise in person. However, if we visit on three occasions when we are told that noise is likely to occur and no noise nuisance is witnessed, then we will end our investigation. It is important that you can be as accurate as possible with regards to the times and likelihood of the noise nuisance occurring (this is partly why a noise log sheet can be helpful).

Can you just send a warning letter?

In general we cannot ask someone not to do something for which we have no evidence they are doing. However we can bring to your neighbour’s attention that we have received a complaint and explain what the issue is. If it relates to a dog barking we may be able to offer the services of our Animal Services team, who can give advice on ways to deal with a barking dog

Will my neighbour know who has complained?

Not at this stage, although neighbours can often guess who has made the complaint. We will not say who has made the complaint.

At what stage will my name be known to my neighbour?

If the matter should come to court either as a result of an appeal or if the abatement notice is not complied with, then you will need to give evidence in most cases.

We can offer support to people who feel they are at risk and signpost to other agencies such as victim support if necessary.

I think my neighbour is doing this just to intimidate me how can I stop this?

If this is the case we will refer you to our Anti Social Behaviour Team who have a great deal of experience in dealing with these problems.

What can you do about the noise made by my neighbour's children playing?

We cannot take any action regarding noise from children playing.

Complaints about me

I have just had a letter from the Council saying a neighbour has complained about me. Can you let me know what is going to happen next?

Nothing will happen unless we get further complaints. Your neighbour will be asked to keep a record of when the behaviour is preventing them from enjoying their home. If this shows that there may be a statutory nuisance then we may install noise monitoring equipment. We will write to you before this is done.

What does interfering with a person’s enjoyment of their home mean?

It means unreasonable behaviour affecting someone else in their own home.

What happens if I think that my behaviour is reasonable?

We take this into account when we are deciding if there is a statutory nuisance. For example any reasonable person would think it was OK to carry out DIY to your home. However if the DIY went on until late at night and stops your neighbour from sleeping then that would not be reasonable.

If your TV is so loud that the neighbours can hear what you are watching and have to turn their TV up then that is not reasonable.

I am a bit deaf so I have to have my TV quite loud to hear it?

We cannot take into account any personal sensitivities when making our decision regarding statutory noise nuisance. Having the TV at a loud volume so that your neighbours’ enjoyment of their home is affected would not be reasonable for an average person.

I don’t like the thought of someone monitoring the noise from my home?

The noise monitor will simply pick up what your neighbour can hear. The complainant does not have access to the recording and we will only listen to it to determine if there is a statutory nuisance. The recording however, may be used in court if necessary.

I think my neighbour has complained because of a long standing dispute?

If this is the case we will still investigate issues related to nuisance behaviour following our own procedures. We can refer you to our Anti Social Behaviour Team if you want us to; they have experience in dealing with these types of problems.

How can I help it if my alarm goes off when I am on holiday?

Alarms going off accidentally can be extremely annoying - often waking up an entire neighbourhood. If you have a car or intruder alarm, make sure it is properly fitted, regularly maintained and has a cut out.

We have powers to disconnect your alarm if it is causing an annoyance to your neighbours. We strongly urge you to register a key holder for your premises with our department. This can save you aggravation and expense if your alarm goes off accidentally when you are out or away.

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Last updated 15 February 2019
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