ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Noisy Neighbours

Updated on October 9, 2009

Recommended by Tony Booth

Everyone at some point in their lives has probably had to put up with noisy neighbours. There are various regulations to help deal with this type of anti-social behaviour and many local authorities have become extremely proactive in trying to help wherever they can.

Persistent high levels of noise emanating through a party wall can be invasive, frustrating and annoying. But what can you do to resolve the situation, if you are a victim of this type of disturbance?

In the first instance, it is best to approach the neighbour to discuss the matter and to request they reduce the level of the intrusion in the future. Such discussions are often best undertaken the day after the event, as both sides may not be amenable to a calm or rational conversation at the height of the disturbance itself.

In extreme circumstances, the police can be called – but in my experience, this rarely produces a long-standing or satisfactory outcome. The police don’t have many laws they can rely on to deal with noise disturbance, though they can intervene if they feel the noise being produced is excessive for the time of day or night or if they feel it could be breaching local by-laws or if it is being produced alongside criminal activity.

If the incidents of noise persist, despite you approaching the offender(s) and asking them to stop, you can contact the local authority environmental health department. Many councils have a specific noise abatement office manned by professionally trained personnel, so ask whether your own council have such a department. At the first sign of a growing problem, start keeping a diary of the incidents, because this is exactly what the council will ask you to do after you have filed a complaint. The diary may be used as evidence, if necessary, so be as precise and honest as possible and record the name and contact details of anyone else that may have witnessed the incident(s).

The diary will also be used during any attempt at mediation, which is a service most councils offer at the first sign of things seemingly getting out of hand. The idea here is to prevent a deadlock situation arising, where both parties become obstinate or intractable. While there is willing communication, there is a chance matters might be resolved without the need for more formal action.

If nothing is resolved, despite the council’s intervention, and the noise problem persists – the council has a number of options, which they can adopt in isolation or collectively. They can, for example, seize goods (such as hi-fi systems), they can also remove a landlord’s right to rent the property (in the case of a tenanted dwelling) and they can take the matter to court, when all else fails.

The Noise Act 1996

Their powers are largely provided by The Noise Act 1996, which was amended by the Anti-Social Behaviour Act in 2003. The Act provides the authority for a responsible officer to serve a warning notice to the offender(s) and at their premises, during the hours of 11pm and 7am. This assumes measurements have been taken inside the complainant’s property and the noise coming from the neighbour is considered excessive. If the offender fails to observe the warning notice, more formal actions can be taken.

There are, however, certain things the council cannot do in respect of noise complaints.

They cannot help in situations where two neighbouring properties suffer from basic design and construction faults, as with the case of inadequate soundproofing between party walls. They also can’t help where the incident complained about is a one-off, such as celebratory party, or where the complaint itself is unreasonable.

A friend of mine, who just happens to be a noise abatement officer in the northwest of England, gave one example of unreasonableness. She told me of a recent case where someone had actually complained about deafeningly loud sheets that were flapping about in the wind while drying on a washing line. It seems the term ‘excessive noise’ clearly means different things to different people.

What a Screamer!

Which leads me rather nicely to tell you about an amazing but true story that was recently reported on in the press. A woman from the northeast of England has been fined over £500 for five breaches of a noise abatement Notice and also got an ASBO (anti-social behaviour order). The formal court order bans her from making excessive noise anywhere in the country for the next four years.

It is said the ASBO was in place a mere three days before she breached it and after making three breaches over 8 days, the police arrested her. Newcastle Crown Court consequently remanded her in custody to prevent further breaches.

And what kind of noise disturbance, you might ask, was the woman creating? Was she fulfilling her desire to become the next big rock-chic, practicing on her electric guitar all night? No. Was she hosting wild parties every night? No. Had she lost her hearing aid and consequentially turned the volume of her TV to the max? No.

Apparently, she was arrested for her noisy lovemaking!

And (I swear this is true) my friend told me that in fact one of the most common reasons for complaint is due to noisy neighbours’ lovemaking or - as some councils apparently call it - ‘excessively vocal nocturnal disturbance’. So, any couples reading this might want to pull their headboard a little further away from the wall when they go to bed tonight, just to keep the relationship with their neighbours all sweet and friendly.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Simply Redd profile image

      Simply Redd 

      8 years ago from Canada

      Interesting hub as it's something I'm going through right now. We share a house with my sister and her husband and are currently having problems with their noise levels at night and had an argument about it the other day.

      Another day or so and we will try again to discuss things rationally. Thanks for sharing!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)