Own or rent in East London? What to do about noisy neighbours…
Noisy neighbours are a nightmare. Usually it’s music, but some people do feel a need to do their DIY very early in the morning, or have dogs that bark and bark and bark.
I can’t promise that the suggestions in this blog will stop every noisy neighbour problem ever, but they are all worth trying. Turn on the charm, put in your ear plugs and follow my step-by-step guide:
- Is it really that bad?
If your neighbours are causing such a nuisance that you’re planning to take action, try to think calmly and maybe get a friend’s perspective before you plough in. People make a noise from time to time; your neighbour might be more noisy on Saturday afternoon when the football’s on TV, or do the hoovering and run the washing machine when they get in from work at 6pm. It’s probably a bit irritating and you wish you didn’t have to listen to it, but it’s not the end of the world.
On the other hand, unreasonable, substantial noise, or noise that could cause injury to health is a cause for concern. If the noise is unreasonable, and/or takes place between 11pm and 7am, it’s time to take action. Keep a diary of the noisy incidents so you’re ready with specific examples.
Be honest with yourself and decide which category the noise falls into – you don’t want to cry wolf and have your support network break down before you even needed it.
- Pop round
OK, so you’ve decided to take action about the noise. The best way is to sort it out yourself if you can. You’ve got to live next to these people – reporting them to the council at the first sign of trouble is unlikely to make them behave considerately.
Calm yourself down first so you can deal with the situation reasonably. An emotional slanging match in the street isn’t going to help. Then go and knock on the door. Tell them how you feel. It’s a good idea to keep it either neutral or about yourself, so you don’t sound accusatory. It’s better to say, “there was a lot of loud music last night and I couldn’t sleep,” than, “you were playing your music very loud last night and you kept me up.” If things get out of hand, get yourself away from the situation as quickly as you can, and phone the police if necessary (the police can’t do anything about the noise, but they will challenge threatening behaviour).
If you don’t feel you can have the conversation face to face, you can put a note through the door. This website has some good templates you can use: http://www.problemneighbours.co.uk/letter-template-noisy-neighbours.html
Some council websites have a “report a noisy neighbour” form for those who can’t or don’t want to confront their neighbours themselves. You’ll find links to council noise pages below.
- Report the noise to the council
If having an informal chat didn’t work, it’s time to step things up and report your noisy neighbours to the council.
Here are links to the East London local authorities’ noise pages, which include the hours the noise team operate and how to report unreasonable noise.
Unreasonable noise is classed as a “statutory nuisance” and councils are obliged by law to investigate. The council should serve an “abatement notice” if the noise is deemed to be a statutory nuisance. They might also have their own approaches to dealing with it, like sending council officers round to challenge the noise-makers. If the noise does not stop, penalties will be served including fines and prosecution.
Landlords are responsible for tenants’ behaviour, so it sometimes happens that landlords are contacted by the council about the noise their tenants are making. Landlords can threaten the tenants with eviction if tenants won’t keep the noise down.
Selling property with noisy neighbours next door
If you’re selling a property with noisy neighbours next door, it is a good idea to get advice on this from your conveyancer about how much to disclose, especially if any formal complaints were lodged.