First try to resolve any noise-related problems by talking to your neighbour, in a firm but friendly manner. This can save a lot of stress and expense.
It may be possible to arrange for someone to help you resolve a dispute. If your neighbour agrees, an independent third party – a mediator – can help to sort things out.
If the noisy neighbour is a tenant, you can make a complaint to the landlord. Most tenancy agreements require tenants not to do anything that would constitute a nuisance to neighbours. The landlord can use the tenancy agreement to deal with the problem if it persists, with eviction as the last resort.
- In England and Wales, Schedule 2 (Ground 2) of the Housing Act 1985 allows excessive noise nuisance to be possible grounds for eviction. Councils, housing associations and the police have powers to tackle anti-social noise from residential premises under Part 1 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
- In Scotland, section 35 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 allows a landlord to convert a secure tenancy to a short secure tenancy if the tenant has been served with an antisocial behaviour order.
If informal approaches do not work, you may have to complain to your local council. The environmental health department can investigate your complaint and put a stop to the noise if it is excessive. To help the process, keep a record or log of the problem including the times and duration of the noisy activity, and the effect it is having on you.
Local councils have powers to deal with noise from loud music, DIY activities, barking dogs or other excessive animal noise, car and burglar alarms, deliberate banging or raised voices (where unreasonable). See What Type of Noise? for more details. They do not have powers to deal with noise arising from any reasonable activity, or noise from passers by, for example in the street or (except in Scotland) through a shared hallway.
Reacting to a complaint about noise
If a neighbour complains to you about noise, try to keep things calm. Listen to what they have to say. Remember that something that may seem harmless and trivial to you might be unpleasant for others.
Try to reach agreement and compromise, if possible. Consider taking steps to restrict the activities that are causing the noise. You could try talking to your local authority to ask how they see things.