Noise nuisance

This information is to help you understand noise problems. 

The most common noises we get complaints about are:

  • Barking dogs.
  • Loud music.
  • Shouting.
  • Slamming doors.

Often these noises are a problem because they happen at night or early in the morning. They can be annoying at any time but are more noticeable at quiet times of day. 

Living close to other people needs compromise. Neighbours should be fair to each other. You need to receive a balance between what you would like to do in and around your home and what your neighbours can expect.

Am I causing noise nuisance?

You can think about whether you are causing a noise nuisance by asking yourself six questions:

  1. Is the noise loud and / or annoying?
  2. Is the noise being made frequently?
  3. Does the noise occur at unreasonable times? This could be early in the morning or late at night.
  4. Could the noise be easily stopped?
  5. Is it normal household noise?
  6. Is the noise intentionally harmful to your neighbours?

The main question is would someone reasonably consider the noise to be a nuisance in the circumstances.
If we get involved in a complaint we will apply our professional judgement in each case.

Quick check
A good way to see if the noise is too loud is to go outside the house. If you can still hear it then your neighbours probably can too.

How can I reduce my noise nuisance?

Here are 10 ways you can reduce noise problems for your neighbours:

  1. Speaking to your neighbours before you do something very noisy like having a party or doing DIY.
  2. Using headphones if you like to listen to loud music or TV.
  3. Be sympathetic and co-operative if a neighbour asks you to be quieter.
  4. Turn down loud music at night time. This is more important if you have older, young or ill neighbours.
  5. Not having frequent parties.
  6. Not using noisy appliances too late at night.
  7. Using rugs to absorb some of the noise if you don’t have carpets.
  8. Making sure dogs aren’t left alone for long periods of time.
  9. Not slamming car doors, using car horns or revving engines unnecessarily.
  10. Stopping children from jumping on the floors if there are neighbours below.

What will happen if I don't stop causing noise nuisance?

What will happen if I don’t stop making noise nuisance?

There are three things that might happen:

  1. Your neighbour could take informal action.
    Your neighbour might come and talk to you about the problem. It is sometimes difficult for people to talk about a problem with noise so please be sympathetic to them.
    If you feel you have not been unreasonable then this could be a chance to explain. You might be able to work out a compromise together.
    Try and stay on good terms with your neighbour. Conflict will not be helpful for you or them.
  2. We could take informal action.
    If your neighbour tells us about the problem we might visit or write you a letter to let you know. You will be asked to explain your side of the situation. You can tell us if you plan to stop the noise. 
    If the nuisance stops then there will usually be no need for any more action. If the problem is not resolved first time we might consider mediation. This is a process where we help you and your neighbour reach a solution together.
  3. We could take formal action.
    Sometimes it is more difficult to solve the problem. If we keep getting complaints we will start to look at getting an injunction.
    An injunction is an order from a court telling a person to stop doing something. It lasts for a certain amount of time. An injunction can be used on its own or along with other proceedings such as eviction.
    If you breach an injunction against you is breached you could be punished by up to two years in prison.