We frequently receive complaints about noise from loud music or TVs, DIY, dogs barking, car repairs, intruder alarms and sometimes about household appliances or musical instrument practice.
The best advice is to use common sense and try to be considerate of your neighbours. Generally, people are very tolerant of their neighbours and will only complain when something has a significant effect on them.
Here are some top tips on preventing noise nuisance:
Keep music or TV volume as low as possible, particularly late at night when people may be trying to sleep.
If you have loud speakers, think carefully about where you site them, try and keep them away from party walls and if you live in a flat putting them on stands will keep them off the floor, minimise the effect on the person below you and improve the sound quality.
Reduce the bass. Bass travels through buildings much better than other sections of the music.
If you think you may be disturbing your neighbour, have a chat with them to check your music or TV isn’t too loud, you might find they are only bothered later in the evening and you can reach an agreement.
You can’t always stop an alarm triggering but you can ensure that if it does go off the disturbance to neighbours is minimised by doing the following:
- Make sure your alarm is properly installed, and serviced once a year.
- Property Alarms should cut out after 20 minutes and car alarms after 3 minutes
- Complete a Keyholder Registration Form. This would give us contact details for someone who could help us if your alarm goes off when you are away on holiday.
- Make sure your alarm is not faulty and ensure it complies with BS 4737. Inform key holders that you are away and ask them to make regular checks of the property.
- If you do go away and you have an alarm, let your neighbours know you are away and how they can get in touch with the keyholder.
Unfortunately, if we have to deactivate your alarm it can cause damage to the equipment and cost the owner a significant amount of money.
DIY jobs can create a lot of noise. You can reduce the impact on your neighbours by:
- Warning them that you are going to be carrying out some noisy DIY work and discussing it with them, try to accommodate reasonable requests
- Carrying out the work during normal working hours
- Making sure that your noisiest tasks are done in the middle of the day, before everyone is home from school and work
- If you have to start early, try to do the quieter jobs first. Some people work from home and some people work nights
- See if there is a quieter tool available - hand tools can sometimes do the job just as well
- When buying power tools, you can check them for noise ratings
- Make sure your tools are well maintained, and use lower/quieter settings wherever possible.
- Avoid DIY activities late at night and on Sundays. If you are going to cause a great deal of noise or hammering or work for a prolonged time period - tell your neighbour in advance.
Gardens are places to relax and entertain in. But they also need maintaining. Your neighbours will be able to hear any noise you make in your garden, so:
- Carry out your noisiest activities in the middle of the day
- If you have a really noisy job to do, warn your neighbours in advance. This could be something like trimming your hedges or power washing your patio. If possible, agree the best time to carry out this work with your neighbours
- Where possible, use CE markings to help you purchase quieter equipment and maintain your equipment properly
- Don't put noisy water features or wind chimes near neighbouring properties. if you can, switch them off/silence them at night or if you go away
- If you're planning a barbeque or party, tell your neighbours. Invite them if appropriate
- Wear headphones if you want to listen to music, or the radio while sunbathing/mowing the lawn
- If you want to let off fireworks, proceed with care - let your neighbours know
- And remember! It is illegal to let off fireworks after 11 pm (except for Bonfire Night (5 November), Diwali, New Years Eve and Chinese New Year).
Keep windows and doors closed if you are having a party.
If you are having an outdoor event remember that noise will travel and affect people further away.
Remember that noise is more likely to become a nuisance when people would normal be sleep.
A one-off a party will rarely be a legal nuisance, however always try to be reasonable - if you can, let the neighbours know in advance and give an approximate finishing time. Let them know that they can come round to the property if the noise is a problem and act to remedy the noise if you receive complaints.
You should remember, that you have no automatic right to play music so loud that it disturbs your neighbours.
Keep the volume down, especially the bass which is more annoying than higher frequencies. Don't place speakers on or close to party walls, ceilings or floors.
If you have a TV in your bedroom, please keep it quiet at night - especially if your bedroom is next to someone else's.
If you play an instrument, practice when it will least annoy your neighbours. Don't use amplifiers, use headphones where possible, and use mutes for wind instruments and pads and brushes on drums. It is very difficult to control noise from a drum kit to a satisfactory level and we would recommend that you either purchase a practice kit or electronic drum kit which will be very quiet.
There are practice rooms that can be hired if your band needs to practice.
If you really want to listen or play music at a louder volume then you can use headphones. Just be aware that turning your music up can damage your hearing.
Don't slam doors, especially if you live in a flat with a shared entrance, and especially late at night and early in the morning.
Cupboard doors can also be annoying if they're fixed to party walls, so avoid slamming doors. You can use isolating wall plugs when fitting cupboards. It’s amazing how loud this can sound in your neighbour’s property. You can also get little rubber stops to stop the doors slamming against the cupboards. Even a small amount of foam draft excluder can help.
Personal disputes within the boundary of your home which involve shouting, screaming, arguing and swearing can be heard through walls, open windows and doors and over the fence if in the garden. Please be mindful of this as you may not want personal information about your private family life known by your neighbours.
If dogs aren't content, they bark. Make sure your dog is well fed and exercised if you have to leave it alone. You might leave a radio on, or ask a neighbour to check on them. If your dog still barks, you might want to consider dog training further advice is available from GOV.UK.
There is plenty of advice available online about controlling barking and if in doubt you can always ask your Vet for advice.
If you have a caged bird, make sure you keep it where it's least likely to disturb your neighbours, especially at night. Covering birds cages can stop them calling to give your neighbours some respite.
Try to buy quieter models when buying new appliances, it will be more pleasant for you too.
Place washing machines on even, concrete floors, ensure they don’t hit the party wall, don't overload them, and run them at a time when they will least disturb your neighbours. Remember, the final spin is the noisiest bit!
Try to be considerate when vacuuming - don't do it late at night or early in the morning.
If you're putting in a new boiler, remember the legal distances from windows when siting it. Get a plumber to check any pipes and cistern noises. Sometimes water hammer can be very loud in your neighbour’s home, even when it barely bothers you.
Make sure extractor fans are fitted securely so they don't rattle. Keep them clean so that they run smoothly.
Try not to put your fridge or freezer against a party wall. Vibration can pass through the structure, and also through floors, so if you live in a flat don't put your fridge above a neighbours’ bedroom. You can buy isolation feet to prevent vibration travelling into your floor which can help considerably.
Don't carry out car repairs early in the morning or late and night, and try to warn your neighbours about really noisy jobs.
Don't slam car doors, sound horns, or play your music so loud that it can be heard outside the car. If you have been listening to loud music, remember to turn it down before you arrive home - don't play loud music early in the morning or late at night.