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Noisy Neighbours?

Sat 22 Apr 2017

Imagine the scene - you’ve just moved into your dream home. The removal people have gone, the fridge is cold and the sun has set. Time for a glass of bubbly in front of the telly to celebrate.

You just start to relax, surveying your new home with pride, when the unmistakable sound on an electric guitar strikes up. That, alongside some pretty horrendous attempts to sing (loudly) and just like that, your little spot in paradise is gone.

So what can you do?

In the first instance, consider talking to the neighbour. Pop round or if you’re unsure of the reception you may get, maybe write a letter explaining the facts. If your neighbour is a tenant, you could write to their landlord whether it is a housing association, council, agency or private landlord. A tenant is governed by an Agreement which will almost certainly include a clause prohibiting such behaviour, and the landlord is able to issue notice to the tenant to vacate if matters don’t improve. If this approach does not work, you could try a local mediation service, someone who is trained in handling difficult situations between two parties. They do usually make a charge, but this is likely to be less than taking legal action through a solicitor.

Another option is to approach your local council who have a duty to investigate any statutory nuisance, e.g.

  • Noise (including loud music and barking dogs)
  • Artificial light (except street lamps)
  • Dust, steam, smell or insects from business premises
  • Smoke, fumes or gases
  • A build-up of rubbish that could harm health

If reported to the council, they’ll probably ask you to keep a diary of the issues as they occur, to help them asses the severity of the issue. If severe enough and the council decide there is a statutory nuisance issue, they may issue what is called an abatement notice, detailing what the number must do (or stop doing) to avoid facing further legal action. If someone breaks a home noise abatement order, ultimately they can be fined up to £5000.

The overriding message is that you do not have to tolerate noisy neighbours and although it can take time, eventually they will have to stop or move on.

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