Dealing with Noisy Neighbours
At some point in their lives, homeowners are likely to come in contact with a noisy neighbour. These nuisances next door can cause grief through a number of means – shouting and loud music are common problems, but some problem neighbours can cause physical damage to property and people too.
So what is the best way to deal with these nuisance neighbours?
As a first step, a person should talk to the neighbour making the noise and ask her/him to reduce the noise. If the noise is not reduced and the neighbour is a tenant, it may be worth contacting the neighbour's landlord. If the problem persists it is useful to keep a record/diary of the disturbances which can be used as evidence in any future action.
In a recent case, one woman was given an ASBO for making too much noise during sex with her partner. The neighbours complained about the loud noises coming from the woman’s house, saying that the “screaming and wall-banging was getting beyond a joke”. After the neighbour’s complaints the ASBO was swiftly issued – this goes to show the kind of activity than can be classed as a nuisance.
Local authorities have extensive powers to deal with noise nuisances. A person can ask the Environmental Health Officer to investigate the noise. They are able to measure the level of noise and to give an expert opinion on how it rates as a noise nuisance. Local authorities have powers to seize noise-making equipment.
If the Environmental Health Officer considers there is a noise nuisance and has been unable to resolve the matter by discussion, the authority can then serve a notice on the person causing the noise, or on the owner or occupier of the property. If the person causing the noise does not comply with the notice, the local authority can prosecute her/him. The local authority can also apply for an injunction.
Local authority tenants who suffer noise nuisance can contact the Local Government Ombudsman, who may be able to recommend compensation if the local authority has failed in one of its duties. Tenants of housing associations and other registered social landlords (and of some private landlords) can contact the Independent Housing Ombudsman.