"Wouldn't it be nice to get on wiv me neighbours" sang Small Faces and whilst not required listening I encourage you to listen to their track Lazy Sunday at full blast whilst reading this article.
For the majority of us we'll either be living next door to pleasant neighbours or people that we barely acknowledge exist in our day to day lives. But, unfortunately for some of us this is not the case and the number one complaint about bad neighbours is noise. Nearly half of all complaints to councils are made up of complaints about noise levels.
So what can you do about a noise complaint? Well, if you're the instigator you can turn that bloody music down right now. No-one wants their lazy Sunday afternoon interrupted by your favourite dub-step track.
But seriously, if your life is being made a living hell by neighbours' noise levels doing your crust in, music at all hours, dogs barking through day/night, late night vacuuming or noisy endless DIY projects then there is plenty you can do outside of a polite but firm banging on the wall.
- Try talking to them. If your neighbours are approachable and this is not going to put you in any personal danger then maybe a polite word in their ear might do the trick. Mayhap they didn't realise how their late-night Guitar Hero session kept you awake into the wee hours and with the benefit of a calm discussion next time they'll be more considerate. This may not be for everyone though, especially if you suspect you live next door to a crack den but remember if you feel you are being harassed or activity nearby is unlawful then contact the police.
- If your neighbour does not relent after their acoustic atrocities are pointed out to them then you can contact your local council. If the council investigates and finds that your neighbours are making a statutory noise nuisance then they may issue a noise abatement order. If your neighbours then break this order, they then risk a fine of up to £5,000. When we are referring to neighbours, we are not just referring to domestic neighbours, if there is a local business making your ears ring then you can still follow up your complaint with the council and the fines for breaking a noise abatement order for business is even higher at £20,000.
- If your noisy neighbour is a tenant then you can contact their landlord. This could be a private landlord, letting agency, housing association or even the council. Whomever it is, the tenant will most likely have terms in their tenancy agreement that precludes them from being a noise nuisance. Most standard tenancy agreements, as an example, forbid using washing machines at night.
- Other options open to you (but maybe not as practical), are using a mediation service who can help resolve a dispute between two aggrieved parties. Alternatively, you can take legal action. This would be a costly exercise with no guarantee you could recoup your money.
Or, if everything else truly does fail, just buy some ear plugs. Well it's an option, just perhaps not a long-term solution but it's cheaper than moving to get away from your nightmare neighbours or sound-proofing all your walls. You can read further about the more sensible options at www.gov.uk to help resolve your noise issue and so you can get back to your lazy afternoon, close your eyes and drift away.