As many people are staying home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, complaints about noisy neighbours have also significantly increased. In April 2020, after the lockdown was implemented, the Leeds City Council recorded approximately 1,171 complaints about rowdy neighbours. The Stroud Council also reported an increase—from 14 in March and April 2019 to 57 complaints in the same period in 2020.
One of the complaints raised back in May 2020 came from a resident whose neighbour seemed to have people over to her house all the time. There was a lot of laughing, screaming, and drinking. People were leaving in the middle of the night and there was loud music. Amy, the complainant, felt like the neighbour was invading their home and peaceful private life. Amy and her husband could hear the noise even after closing their window. Aside from violating lockdown protocols, her neighbour also affected their lives. She and her husband couldn’t concentrate and there was no way to have the peace and quiet they wanted.
Noise from neighbours can cause a lot of emotional stress and negatively impact a person’s mental well-being. The effect is heightened in challenging situations like the COVID-19 pandemic, when residents are forced to stay at home.
What you should do
Dealing with noisy neighbours can be frustrating, especially if you do not know what to do. Regardless of the kind of noise they are making, it is one of your tenant rights to ensure the problem is properly and efficiently resolved. You can start taking some action, too, by following these simple steps.
Try to approach and communicate with your neighbour.
Before filing a formal complaint, pay your neighbour a visit first so you can talk and try to resolve the problem. If you’re not comfortable or confident about talking to them personally, write a letter and explain what the problem is. Try to stick to the facts and avoid making any unnecessary remarks.
If you’ve known your neighbour for years and are comfortable talking to them personally, make sure to bring someone with you as a witness and support system.
If you are a member of the tenant’s association in your place of residence, you can ask for their assistance as well as reaching out to your neighbour.
Find out when the best time is to talk to your neighbour. For example, it would be disrespectful if you approach them in the middle of the night or when they have visitors. Talking to them in an open and public area is the safest option.
Get in touch with your neighbour’s landlord.
If talking to your neighbour did not solve the problem, it’s time to inform your neighbour’s landlord—or your landlord, if you have the same one. Whether you’ll be dealing with a private landlord, a council, or a housing association, it is your right to let them know your situation.
If you’re dealing with your local council, the right department to coordinate with is the Environmental Health team. Neighbour disputes that involve noise (like barking dogs and loud music) are the council’s responsibility as these are considered statutory nuisance.
The landlord should investigate and get in touch with your neighbour. Councils often send letters detailing the complaint without indicating who the complainant is. You will then be asked to answer a noise diary, which will contain details about the noise—where it happened and at which times or days. You’ll also need to tell the council what affects the noise has on you. Once they have evidence that it is a statutory nuisance, the council will send an abatement notice to your neighbour. This will include information about fines and prosecution details if the neighbour does not stop their noisy activities.
If your neighbour ignores the abatement order, they can be fined at least £5,000.
Try mediation services.
Another option you can consider if your neighbour refuses to talk and compromise with you is mediation.
In mediation, a third person who is not related to you or your neighbour will join your discussion as a referee. Mediation services are available in England, Wales, and Scotland. You can also inquire from your housing association or council if they offer mediation services.
Mediation services aren’t free, but they are cheaper and less stressful than going to court.
Why you can hear your neighbour’s noise
There are several reasons why your neighbour’s noise can penetrate the walls of your rented home. One common reason is substandard work, like when your walls aren’t soundproofed. If this is what your situation is, you have every right to inform your landlord and request for action on disrepair in your home. You can ask for assistance in settling the dispute with your neighbour. If your landlord does not respond about any disrepair query after 21 days, get in touch with a housing disrepair claim expert.
The DisrepairClaim.co.uk team is experienced and trained to work on cases like yours. Work with them in finding a resolution for the root cause of your rowdy neighbour problems.