Commercial Property Noise – Statutory Nuisance

freeholderDo you live next door to or above a shop?  It’s always been quiet after closing time but the new leaseholder changed the use of the shop – manufacturing and selling furniture.  This has changed your life and the lives of neighbors living within the vicinity.

You and your neighbors have spoken to the leaseholder or shop keeper in an amicable way.  You have subsequently written a letter of complaint to the freeholder, because the shop keeper continues to engage in the production of furniture.  The manufacturing of furniture involves a lot of drilling and hammering, which in turn creates a lot of unpleasant noise – this could constitute as statutory nuisance.

Now the furniture may be beautiful and the business is successful, but it shouldn’t be at the cost of public health and well being.  There are laws against out of office hours noise that causes discomfort to residents.  According to the Environmental Protection Act 1990, any noise affecting your health or causing any disturbance to you in your property is considered a statutory nuisance.

You should be able to enjoy the comfort of your home without the need for reasonable complaint against noise from an unreasonable neighbour.  The local authorities are responsible for addressing issues such as noise disturbances.

Those noises could come from a shop, another residential property or even garden.  If your neighbour has decided to make furniture in their back garden for commercial purposes, the council should have been notified and planning permission should have been granted or denied.

If your neighbour or the leaseholder/shop keeper does not cooperate and come to an agreement with you and your neighbours, you should initially report it to the freeholder of the property.  If the freeholder doesn’t resolve the problem, your next step would be to contact the planning department of your local authority.  Your neighbour requires planning permission to start a furniture business in a residential area.

If planning permission was granted, the council would have applied restrictions to the business in relation to opening hours and noise levels.  The council might have even applied higher restrictions to the planning application, such as ‘no manufacturing of furniture’.  In other words, your neighbour may well be entitled to sell furniture but the council has disallowed any production of furniture precisely because of the nuisance it may cause to residents in the area.

In summary, if you are affected by noise polution and disturbances – statutory nuisance – your first course of action would be to speak to and write to the leaseholder and express your concerns.  Your second course of action would be to involve your neighbours and make a formal complaint to the freeholder.  Your third course of action would be to contact the planning enforcement team of your local authority.  In some instances, a property solicitor could help you as a mediator and help you also to seek compensation.

If you are affected by these issues, please contact us for an informal discussion. SG

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