Most parties and garden gatherings go off without a hitch, but others can be stressful and unpleasant, especially for those with noisy neighbours. The reality in Britain is that as a relatively small island with nearly 70 million inhabitants, many of whom live in very close proximity to each other, noise complaints are all too common. As specialists in environmental and property law and disputes, we understand the impact of noisy neighbours. Indeed, we are often asked by concerned property owners and tenants how to stop worrying about noisy neighbours, how to complain about noisy neighbours, and how to stop noisy neighbours in the garden at night. In this article, we will explain how to deal with inconsiderate and noisy neighbours.
How to deal with noisy neighbours
As a tenant or property owner, you have six main routes available if you have excessively noisy neighbours:
Talk to your neighbour directly to explain your concerns.
Some may be worried about speaking directly to a neighbour regarding the noise they are making, but if approached correctly, this is often all that is required to resolve the matter. By speaking to your neighbour politely and pointing out the impact the noise they are making is creating, it is likely they will comply and reduce the volume. It may even be that they are not aware of how loud the music is and how far it is carrying. In some circumstances, even the most polite personal approach will not be effective, and it may be necessary to take further action.
Report noisy neighbours to their landlord if they are a tenant.
If speaking to your neighbour directly was not effective, speak to their landlord or housing association to draw their attention to the problem. If the noisy behaviour is at night, it may not be practical to call their landlord, or you simply may not have their details. Landlords have more leverage to influence the behaviour of tenants as nuisance behaviour may constitute a breach of the tenancy agreement.
Another often overlooked option, if your neighbour is not willing to resolve a dispute with you directly, is to consider mediation. Independent and impartial mediators are experts in helping disputing parties to find a resolution without the need to involve the police or courts. While it will not be possible to use mediation at the time of the noisy behaviour, if your neighbour is repeatedly noisy, this method of dispute resolution may be extremely effective. This can often bring about a resolution much faster than going through the court system. Mediated outcomes are often much more effective in the long term and can preserve cordial relationships between neighbours.
Contact your local council (local authority) to ask them to investigate
If noise from a neighbour is a statutory nuisance, under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, local councils have the power to investigate. If your neighbour is found to be causing a statutory noise nuisance, your local council is required to issue them with a ‘noise abatement’ order, requiring them to cease the nuisance behaviour.
Noise from a neighbour is a statutory nuisance if it:
- unreasonably and substantially interferes with the use or enjoyment of your home or other premises
- injures health or is likely to injure health
The permitted noise level is:
- 34 dBA (decibels adjusted) if the underlying level of noise is 24 dBA or less
- 10 dBA above the underlying level of noise if this is more than 24 dBA
Where a neighbour fails to comply with a noise abatement notice from the council, they may face a fine of up to £5,000.
Contact the police
If your neighbour is violent, threatening, or abusive towards you, this would be considered a breach of the law. In this case, you should contact the police immediately. The police have a range of options available, including fines and issuing Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBOs).
Take legal action through the courts with the help of a Solicitor
If you have exhausted all other options and your neighbour is repeatedly noisy, then it may be prudent to engage a Solicitor specialising in neighbour disputes to apply to the courts for an order on your behalf.
You can apply to a Magistrate’s court for a noise abatement order if your local council has not already done so. It is also possible to apply to the County Court for an interim order or a final injunction requiring your neighbour to cease the noise. You may also be able to seek damages for the loss of enjoyment of your property. This is referred to as a ‘private nuisance claim’ and can lead to an award of up to £5,000.
Noisy neighbours can cause extreme distress and real loss of enjoyment of your property. In most cases speaking directly to your neighbour will resolve the situation, but there are several other options as outlined above.
Guillaumes LLP Solicitors is a full-service law firm based in Weybridge, Surrey. We have a highly experienced team of property and environmental Solicitors who can assist you with any legal matters relating to noisy neighbours law, including nuisance orders and awards. To make an appointment, please get in touch or call us on 01932 840 111.