There are few things more upsetting than being constantly disturbed by noise from your neighbours.
Whether it’s loud music, shouting, banging on the walls, or a dog that won’t stop barking, having to listen to an endless racket from next door can really take its toll.
Research from consumer association Which? found that loud voices and arguing top the list of annoying neighbourly noises, followed by loud music and TVs, doors slamming and people stomping around.
More than half the people living near noisy neighbours said they were left feeling angry, while four in 10 said they felt stressed by it and one in 10 were afraid.
Here are six top tips to help you resolve things with your neighbours and return your home to the peaceful sanctuary it should be.
1. Stay amicable
Tempting as it may be to go next door and scream at your neighbours to keep the noise down, you could just make things worse by taking a hostile approach. Stay calm, and explain politely how their noise is impacting on your life. Suggest ways you might both be able to compromise so you can move forward without falling out.
You might find they weren’t aware how much they were disturbing you, and if you’re lucky they will be quieter in future.
2. Be safe
If you’re nervous of your neighbours, or they’ve previously shown aggression to you, don’t approach them directly about the noise. Instead, put a note through their door, requesting that they are quieter.
Don’t include your name and address if you’re worried about recriminations.
It’s important you contact your neighbours about the noise before getting the authorities involved, because this will show you’ve tried to resolve the situation yourself first.
Ask other neighbours if they are being disturbed as well. Your case will carry more weight if the noise is getting to others too
3. Keep records
Keep a noise diary and record all the times and dates when you’ve been disturbed by your neighbours.
If possible, it’s a good idea to take recordings of the noise too, as this could provide valuable evidence if they ignore your requests for them to be quieter.
Ask other neighbours if they are being disturbed too. Your case will carry more weight if the noise is getting to others too.
4. Talk to the council
If your neighbour refuses to keep it down, get in touch with the environmental health department of your local council.
Councils are obliged to investigate noise which has a negative impact on your life, including things like:
- loud music, TV or radio
- constant dog barking
- building and DIY work at unreasonable times of the day
- car and burglar alarms.
Present your council with your noise diary and contact them at times when you are being disturbed.
It should work in your favour that you’ve taken steps to try and sort things out yourself.
If the council find your neighbours are causing a noise nuisance it can issue them with an abatement order.
An abatement order can either order them not to make noise at all, or restrict it to certain times of the day.
If your neighbour breaks the abatement order and carries on making noise, they could be hit by council fines of up to £5,000, which should be a big enough deterrent for them to keep it down.
5. Get outside help
Your council may recommend that you get a mediator involved to try and resolve the situation.
They will be a neutral party who will listen to both sides of the story and come up with a solution that will hopefully keep both you and your neighbours happy.
For example, if loud music is the issue, the mediator might suggest that your neighbours only play it at agreed times when you are out.
This service is free, but your neighbour must agree to attend.
6. Don’t give up!
If your council won’t impose an abatement order, and your neighbour doesn’t agree to mediation, don’t assume you have no option but to accept their noise.
Try and find out if they are a leaseholder. If they are, they could be in breach of their lease if they are disturbing their neighbours, so get in touch with the freeholder if you can.
If there is more than one flat in a particular property, one of the other leaseholders may be able to provide you with contact details.
If the freeholder intervenes and your neighbours are told they could possibly lose their property, you might find the noise dies down very quickly.