Tue 10 Nov 2020
It might be a yapping dog, loud music or an all-night party. Whatever the origin of the noise, the decibel level can be both disturbing and distressing. But what can you do about it? OnTheMarket offers tips for dealing with noisy neighbours.
Most homeowners and tenants are confronted with the dilemma of noisy neighbours at some time in their lives. The unlucky few are confronted with it on a daily basis. But there are good and less good ways of tackling the problem. Here are nine possible countermeasures for peace and quiet.
1. Sleep on it. If you try to tackle your noisy neighbours at 2am, it can be the recipe for an angry, acrimonious confrontation. A quiet word the next morning is generally more advisable.
2. Face up to your neighbours. Most people respond better to a polite verbal request than a note of complaint through their letterbox. Keep the mood light. Build bridges, not walls.
3. Look forward, not back. Blaming your neighbours for something that happened yesterday is far less productive than asking them, in a non-confrontational way, to be a bit more considerate of your needs in future. “I wonder if, the next time you are throwing a big party, you could let us know ahead of time…”
4. Enlist the help of your other neighbours. If you are the only person in your area complaining about a noisy neighbour, you can easily be perceived as unreasonable or paranoid. But if three or four neighbours make a common cause, and are agreed that there is a noise problem that has to be tackled, you will be in a much stronger position.
5. Record the noise. The best way to make your neighbours realise how much their noisy behaviour is invading your space is to present them with clear evidence in the form of a recording. They may get the message and, anyway, the recording will stand you in good stead if legal steps have to be taken later on.
6. Complain to the local council. Councils have a statutory duty to investigate noisy behaviour deemed to be a nuisance and, in the case of persistent infringements, can issue abatement orders. The most serious cases can result in fines. But you should prepare your grounds – keeping detailed notes of dates and times, etc – before contacting the council. The government website is a useful source of information.
7. Get the landlord on your side. If your next door neighbours are tenants, you should consider appealing to their landlord, as they may well be in breach of their tenancy agreement and, potentially, at risk of eviction. A solicitor should be able to supply you with the name and address of the landlord.
8. Be prepared to submit to mediation. In the case of a long-running dispute between neighbours about noise, mediation can sometimes be the best way for the two parties to inch towards an understanding of each other’s position.
9. Ask your solicitor to send your neighbours a letter. This is very much the nuclear option, like filing for divorce, and should be used as a last resort.
The most important thing, when confronted with noisy neighbours, is to use your common sense, be patient and try to get them to see your point of view.