Brief-Case – Your legal dilemmas solved by Philippa Rudd, a partner with Cozens-Hardy solicitors based in Norwich
We have recently moved into a semi detached house and an embarrassing problem has arisen. Our neighbours are a young couple and just about every night and most mornings and frequently at weekends they make very loud and long drawn out “bedroom noises” which we can all hear. We have young children and the noise is very difficult to explain to them. We have told them it is playfighting but we really just want our neighbours to be more discrete and respectful. What should we do?
I would suggest that you have a quiet word with your neighbours. Perhaps they don’t know that you can hear them. Also, I suggest you start to make a record of the noises, and the times.
What if that does not work? They do not look approachable and were unfriendly when we first met them.
If they continue to make the noises, you should contact your council. Usually the environmental health department deals with noise issues. They will give you practical guidance. They may give you a noise record sheet. There may also be a mediation service.
And if the problem persists? I fear that they won’t just stop altogether and the walls must be paper thin.
The assessment of noise nuisance is based on whether it is “reasonable” bearing in mind the locality, how often the noise occurs and how many people are affected. If the council think that the noise constitutes a statutory nuisance, they will serve an abatement notice on your neighbours. Noise nuisance can be difficult to establish as often noise considered enjoyable by one person may be found to be a nuisance by another. Generally speaking, however, if the average person would consider something unreasonable, a court may be satisfied that it is a statutory nuisance. An abatement notice will set out what is required of the neighbour. And if an order is served and your neighbours do not comply with it, then they could be fined up to a maximum of £5,000. In
extreme cases, prosecution can be made for anti-social behaviour, if the police have enough evidence.
Philippa’s on 01603 625231.