Noise nuisance and abuse - What can you do?

There are a number of practical steps that you can take to deal with noise disturbance and noise abuse:

Noise nuisance and abuse - What can you do

Before you move

Before buying or renting a property you should try to establish if there is any noise disturbance.  Visit the property and area at different times of the day. Ensure that you visit the property during the late evening as the majority of noise disputes occur then.

If there is a pub that is causing you concern visit and enquire about how often they have live bands. Several houses for sale in close proximity to each other could suggest that there is some form of problem, the problem may not be noise but it will be worth your while trying to find out why everyone wants to leave the locality.

If you are buying the house make sure that your solicitor includes questions about noise disputes in the property enquiry requests that they send to the vendor’s solicitors.

If you move in and still find that there is noise problem than do not despair. The fact that the noise existed before you moved is not generally an adequate defence in either civil or criminal law. It should not prevent action being taken against the noise abuser.

Contact the noise abuser.

If you believe that is safe to do so you should raise the matter with the person or business that is causing the noise disturbance.

It is possible that the person causing the noise is unaware of the disturbance that they are causing and they may voluntarily reduce the noise when asked to do so. You should remain calm.

Contact your council

The relevant council will be the body that you pay your council tax to.

Councils have a statutory duty to investigate noise abuse and most will take the matter seriously. You may be asked to put the matter in writing and to maintain a noise log. If you are not provided with a template for maintaining a log you can download one in the members’ area.

The council will investigate your complaint, but they will need to obtain evidence. If there is no obvious noise at the times at which they visit you and other neighbors are not disturbed by the noise then they might not take the matter further.

Many victims of noise abuse choose to contact their local police. Other than very late at night this will usually be a complete waste of time with the police simply passing you onto the council with the potentially misleading explanation that “noise is not a police matter”.

Adjusting your own home

There are a range of measures you can take to limit noise disturbance. You could look at sound insulation methods.  

Double glazing can be effective but secondary glazing is better. This will reduce  background noise such as traffic. It will not address severe noise problems such as a live band in the pub next door.

You could re-arrange your living space, so that for example you sleep in quietest part of your house

Be realistic

Whilst many of us would like to live in a perfectly quiet environment this is rarely going to be possible. Modern society creates a lot of noise and some of this will inevitably find its way into your house.

If you are unsure as to whether you have a genuine noise complaint contact either your local council or ourselves (once you have become a member)

Moving

If you own your own home this really should be a last resort and the noise abuse may restrict your ability to sell at the true market value of your property.

If you are renting then simply moving is a sensible approach and may be the most effective way of dealing with property. 

If you do move because of the noise make sure that your landlord or their letting agent now that this is why you are going, as the noise is now damaging their business and your departure could improve their chances of claiming compensation from the noise abuser.

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