Noisy neighbours?

Simon lived quietly in the ground floor flat. Jenny lived above him. She was a long-distance air stewardess, who often came home in the middle of the night.

She was also a bit of a party animal, and Simon was often disturbed by the noise she made, drinking with her friends and playing loud music at odd hours.

Simon was fast asleep one night, when he was woken a blast of noise from upstairs. It was about 4 o’clock in the morning, and Jenny had started another party.

He had a big meeting the next day, and needed his rest. He sat bolt upright, wondering what he could do.

The options

Simon researched his options, and learned:

The first step is to talk to your neighbour, and try to resolve the problem informally.

If you’re worried about approaching them in person, write a letter that explains the problem clearly. Stick to the facts, and avoid using emotional language.

If they are a tenant, you can talk to their landlord, housing association or the council.

If the problem affects other neighbours, involve them too, or approach the tenants’ association.

If that doesn’t work, you can go to a mediation service. The mediator is an impartial third party who acts like a referee. (There may be a fee to pay.)

For problems designated as a ‘statutory nuisance’, you can complain to your local council. They have a duty to investigate issues such as:

  • Loud noise or barking dogs
  • Artificial light
  • Dust, steam, smell or insects from business premises
  • Smoke, fumes or gases
  • Build-up of rubbish that could harm health

If your neighbour is being violent or harassing you, you should contact the police.

If none of that works, you can take legal action through the courts.

What Simon did

He started keeping a diary of the dates and times when Jenny’s parties could be heard in his flat below.

He had an informal conversation with her, and showed her his list.

Jenny apologised, but didn’t seem to take his complaint very seriously and the noisy parties continued.

Finally, Simon approached the council to make a noise abatement order. If Jenny breaks the order, she will face legal action and may be fined up to £5,000.

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