Whilst we all accept that we can’t choose our families, we often forget that the same is usually true of our neighbours. At least you can usually limit the amount of time that you spend with your family if you want to. A noisy neighbour, however, is with you through thick and thin.
After all, they may not have realised how loud their music sounds in your front room or have forgotten that not everyone wants to get up at the crack of dawn and enjoy some DIY.There’s a significant difference between the occasional annoying noise and an on-going nuisance. If it’s the former then a quiet word in your neighbour’s ear might be all that’s required.
Whether it’s the constant beat of music, the sound of drilling and hammering, dogs barking or doors repeatedly slamming, having a noisy neighbour can have a serious impact on your health.
So what do you do if you find that you have the neighbour from hell?
If you don’t have the kind of relationship with your neighbour where you feel comfortable speaking to them about the issue or you don’t really know them then you may want to try writing to them. Be brief, be polite and frame your request that they keep the noise down in a conciliatory way to minimise the risk of them being offended.
If this doesn’t work and they live in rented accommodation then you could always contact their landlord. If the landlord is the council or a housing association then it is likely that the tenancy agreement allows them to take action against tenants for antisocial behaviour. Compile a record of disturbances, noting the frequency and length of each one and report them.
Your record of disturbances will also come in handy if you need to further escalate the matter and involve the Local Authority. The Environmental Health department will be responsible for investigating any allegations of statutory nuisance, including noise.
For a noise to be considered a statutory nuisance it must interfere with your enjoyment of your own property to an unreasonable degree. If a statutory nuisance is being created then your neighbour will be issued with a noise abatement notice. If they don’t comply then they can be fined up to £5,000.
Your local authority may also be able to refer you and your neighbour to a mediation service in order to resolve the matter in an informal way. It is a good idea to exhaust all avenues before taking legal action in your own right against your neighbour.
If you do, however, decide to go down this route then take some legal advice first to ensure your case is water-tight as there are significant associated costs.
Finally, remember that if you fear for your safety at any time or if your neighbour is doing something that is illegal then contact the police. The police are trained to deal with antisocial behaviour so you should never need to put yourself at risk.
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