How to deal with noisy neighbours

There is no precise definition of anti-social behaviour in housing. Broadly, it is acting in a way that causes or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress. To be anti-social behaviour, the behaviour must be persistent. It is also important to establish whether the behaviour is deliberate or unintentional. Landlords have virtually no powers to control anti social behaviour, but are often expected to deal with this problem and frequently blamed for its consequences
Antisocial behaviour and in particular excessive noise is a growing problem in society and landlords can face real difficulties dealing with it. Noisy neighbours can make life a misery whether you own or rent your home. It is a source of irritation and stress for many people and can interfere with people’s rights to peaceful enjoyment of their homes. Dogs constantly barking, whining or howling can also be disturbing and annoying for neighbours.

A landlord has no legal power to control a person’s behaviour. The only sanction or legal control they have is to serve notice on a tenant and ask them to leave the property, but they can only take this action for their own tenants. If the noise is caused by a home owner or another landlords tenant then eviction or threat of eviction is not an option.

To take action on anti-social behaviour it is necessary to establish who is responsible for the behaviour. The first step for anyone who suffers the effects of excessive noise or anti social behaviour is to have a quiet word with the person(s) causing the problem. They may not be aware that they are causing a problem. There are various community mediation services available which offer support and advice on approaching neighbours and they can be found online or in the phone book. The quiet word may have no effect and the complainant may then choose to contact the landlord of the person who is making the noise. The landlord has a responsibility to contact the tenant to point out that they may be breaking the terms of their tenancy and could be evicted.

The landlord can only take the matter further if the complainant provides evidence that can be used in court. A landlord cannot evict a tenant on hearsay. The complainant should contact the Lancaster City Council’s Environmental Protection Team who will advise them how to keep a record of the disturbances. Local Authorities (Councils) have a duty to perform an investigation when they receive complaints about noise from any form of location.

The assessment of noise nuisance is based on whether it is 'reasonable', bearing in mind the locality, how often noise occurs and how many people are affected. So whether you live next door to a pub or club, a noisy family or neighbour, have noisy machinery/vehicles and equipment in the street, a factory or any form of business close by, your local authority are obliged to investigate fully. They will also advise what other enforcement action can be taken. The complainant can then provide the landlord with the evidence, necessary to serve notice should the problem remain unresolved.
A problem tenant has to be given two clear months notice. The tenants may choose not to leave and a possession order will then be needed from the County Court. This can take a number of months and further action by a bailiff may also be required. It is not unusual for an eviction to take in excess of six months under current legislation.

Research from “Which? “suggests at least three million Britons suffer from noisy neighbours, but more than one third do nothing about it. There are solutions to the problem, but you have to take responsibility and do something about it using all the above help that is available.

Parkinson Property

28th March 2013


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