Neighbour Noise

Noisy Neighbours & Noise Issues - Part 5

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Article Covers:

- Noise from your Neighbour
- What you can do
- Legislation and Options in dealing with and managing noise

A quick note on Civil Action

It is possible that you could instigate a civil action concerning noise nuisance at common law and attempt to get an injunction to restrain the perpetrator from continuing with the source(s) of the noise nuisance. You could also issue a claim for loss/damages in place of this action or alongside it.

Again, take professional advice from a qualified legal professional before embarking on this route.

My neighbour rents their property

If you can get to see a copy of your neighbour's tenancy agreement it could be worth it.

It's possible there could be a clause within the contract/agreement for their tenancy that prohibits your noisy neighbour from making higher levels of noise in between certain hours (11pm - 7am for example) or something similar. So, in doing so they could be risking or breaking their tenancy agreement. You are not entitled to know about or see a copy of your neighbours tenancy agreement, but it is possible their landlord, especially a private landlord may divulge or show you this information. They may refuse however on the grounds that your neighbours privacy and confidentiality could be breached.

All different types of landlords - whether this is the council, the local housing association or private landlords have measures where they can instigate appropriate action against a tenant who is wilfully and regularly in breach of their tenancy agreement. Injunctions can be put into place (very effective measures to prevent and reduce nuisance from next door, but at the same time allowing people to retain tenancy in their homes). If the landlords originate from within a housing association or local authority, they are then able to ask a court to put a 'power of arrest' into this kind of injunction which is enforceable if there are any instances of violence, abuse, threatened violence or actual violent behaviour.

Ultimately, your neighbour in these circumstances can face eviction in the cases of people who consistently persist in making their neighbours and community's lives a miserable existence and flaunt the conditions of injunction enforcement's.

Abatement Notices

Like you've tried to do right at the beginning, your Environmental health Department will want to try and remedy your neighbour problem informally - after all it could be a lot quicker, more effective and dare we say it, cheaper and use less resources!

If this hasn't been possible and your Local Authority is satisfied that the noise you're experiencing does constitute a 'statutory nuisance' they are required to serve an Abatement Notice on your neighbour or the person responsible for the source of the noise. There are different notice requests within an abatement notice and your neighbour or other individual (owner/occupier of a property/business or source of the problem) could be asked to totally stop all noise or they may be restricted to making noise at certain times only (e.g. say only during the daylight hours and not after 11pm).

When an abatement notice is served on a person, they have the right to appeal against this within 21 days of it being initially presented.

A business owner for example could argue against such a notice in court and detail that they have tried through the best possible means (or the 'best practicable means') to prevent or reduce noise nuisance and have been restricted through technical or other difficulties.

What happens if my neighbour breaks an abatement notice?

When an abatement notice that has been served on your neighbour fails and without a specific reason or explanation from them, they have committed an offence. In these cases the Magistrates Court can enforce and fine your neighbour up to £5,000 (this is for a neighbour in a 'domestic' home or who has a private vehicle which is the source of the nuisance). After the offence and conviction by the magistrate's courts, if your neighbour persists in causing more disturbance they can receive a further fine of up to £500 a day for doing so each day it occurs.

If the noise nuisance originates from business, trade or industrial premises or property, the original fine can be up to £20,000.

Your Local Authority has the power to force an entry into properties so that they can stop and prevent a noise nuisance (for example to seize music making equipment, disconnect faulty burglar alarms and so on). Other machinery, different vehicles that are the cause of the statutory nuisance can also be removed.

Part 6: London Residents, ASBO Info