Noise from neighbours is a common source of nuisance. The main problems are barking dogs, loud music or TV, shouting, banging doors and DIY activities. No house or flat is totally soundproof - everyone can expect some noise from neighbours. Neighbour noise could be disturbing you for the following reasons:
- neighbours are behaving unreasonably
- neighbours are behaving normally, but sound insulation in your home may not be good enough to cut out the sounds of everyday living
- sensitivity of people to different types of noise varies (sounds that are enjoyable to some people may annoy others)
What can you do?
If you are being disturbed by noise from a neighbour:
- First, approach your neighbour and explain politely that you are being troubled by noise. You may find this difficult, but often people are unaware that they are causing a problem. Most will be glad to do what they can to reduce noise. However, approach the matter carefully if you think your neighbour might react angrily to a complaint.
- If the problem continues, start a diary recording dates, times and cause of the noise, and the effects it has on you.
- Write to your neighbour explaining the problem. Ask them to stop the noise nuisance, referring to any conversations you may have had and what, if anything, they agreed to do about it. Keep a record of any conversations you have or letters you write. If your neighbours are tenants, discuss your problem with their landlord (if they are private tenants, you may need to find out who the landlord is). If they are Council tenants contact your local housing office. Most Conditions of Tenancy require that tenants do not cause nuisance to neighbours and landlords should take action if a nuisance is being caused.
Are there alternatives to legal action?
Noise disputes are often resolved informally. Legal action should be a last resort. It is unpleasant and will inevitably further sour the relationship between you and your neighbour. It is very important that you do your best to resolve any problem in a friendly way.
Mediation can often help resolve some neighbour disputes. It is a step by step process in which an impartial mediator helps people in dispute settle their differences quickly and confidentially. It does not seek to prove right or wrong but helps those involved to identify what they want to change. Mediation can be a very effective way of resolving neighbour disputes and the Council therefore recommends neighbours to seek the assistance of a mediation service.
There may be times we can’t get enough evidence to take action – in these cases you can take action yourself (we have a short guide to how to do this: Taking your own action).
Reporting noise problems
Noise Pollution Phone Contacts
Office hours number: 01327 322323
Out of office hours number: 0800 160 1022