18 April, 2009

Noisy Neighbours

man with hands over earsMozart Or Meatloaf? Neither If It's Too Loud
It's best to try and resolve any problem early on by talking to whoever is making the noise. Try and do so calmly and cheerfully. Bawling "shut that awful music up!" at the top of your voice over the fence probably won't work and you will then have a long running dispute on your hands (ie. the noise now comes second to the annoyance you both cause each other!). This is very tiring, very unpleasant and basically antisocial - for both of you.

If talking to them has no effect, then you need to record the facts. Write down where the noise is coming from, at what times, and if there are any obvious reasons for it. Some Local Authorities will be able to give you a 'noise record sheet' to note these.

You can try recording it too!

Contact your Local Authority (usually the Environmental Health Department) which will give you practical advice and might suggest using Mediation UK to help resolve a difficult dispute.

Remember, never take the law into your own hands as there are lots of good ways to tackle such disputes and experienced people who can help.

This includes any dispute with neighbours. For example: high hedges, smelly drains, very bright lights, barking dogs or overhanging trees. Anything.

websiteMED logo Web site: Local Councils

website Web site: Mediation

And, despite its 'reality TV name' here is a good site for background and information. With stories to match!

website Web site: Neighbours From Hell

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs has quite a lot of research going on about noise levels generally (planes, trains, cars).

website Web site: DEFRA - Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

The Law On Nuisance
If a Local Authority thinks the noise (or anything else) is a 'statutory nuisance', they can serve an 'Abatement Notice' on the neighbour. This will set out exactly what is required of your neighbour. For instance, if the issue is loud music, they may be asked to stop the noise outright, or be asked to play their music between set times.

In very difficult cases, people can be taken to court for anti-social behaviour, but this requires that the police have a good deal of evidence.

Service Families Accommodation
If you are having problems with neighbours in your SFA then you need to talk to your DEH Officer. Their recommendations are similar to those already mentioned:
  • Try and resolve matters reasonably, if not, then keep a diary of what is going on.

  • DEH can provide a Nuisance Log on which you can record what happens to support your complaint.

DEH have a useful 'good neighbour' check-list which works for all:
  1. Respect your neighbour's privacy and comfort.

  2. Keep noise at acceptable levels, especially in summer when windows are open.

  3. Do not leave your dog constantly barking at home or in the garden.

  4. Tell your neighbours if you intend holding a party.

  5. Do not park a vehicle on pavements in a communal area. These might be a danger or pose an obstruction. MoD Police may remove the vehicle.

and remember...
Your DEH SFA Licence states that you are not to cause nuisance or annoyance to neighbours. If you do - you may be asked to leave!

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