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Problems With Neighbours' Children

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 15 Sep 2021 | comments*Discuss
 
Child Parent Neighbour Property Noise

You don’t want to be labelled a complainer, but sometimes your neighbours’ children can be more of a nuisance than a blessing. Older neighbours may remember a time when you could pay an unruly child’s parents a visit and you would know that any issues would be swiftly resolved, but these days you have to be extremely wary of what you say and do about children in the neighbourhood.

What to Do About Noisy Children

Whether you appreciate it or not, there’s not much that you can do about excessive noise during the day from children. Kids are exuberant by nature and it would seem a little bit churlish to try to curb normal noise levels, even if the screaming and shouting is getting a bit too much.

If it really is becoming an issue, your only course of action is to ask their parents nicely to have a word with them. If you work shifts or simply need peace and quiet to concentrate while working at home, a quiet word might be the best way forward. Explaining that you need to sleep some afternoons may make the parents try to keep their offspring’s noise down.

Noise is a common complaint – recent research by Noise Concern revealed that 43% of people had been bothered by some form of neighbour noise.

Excessive noise levels were also blamed for forcing about half a million people to move in 2006, just to get away from their annoying and Noisy Neighbours, according the National Society for Clean Air and Environmental Protection (NSCA). At the time, their representative Mary Stevens said that many problems with neighbours were simply a result of being inconsiderate, and could easily be resolved by using a little common sense...

What to Do if Children Damage Your Property

Your first course of action, especially if the damage was clearly accidental, is to make a conciliatory approach to the child’s parents.

As far as the law is concerned, you can technically sue a child for the cost of the damage if they are old enough to understand what they were doing, but this kind of legal action is rare and somewhat frowned upon by the courts. It’s also a fact that not many children have the cash lying around in their piggy bank to pay for the cost of a broken window!

If damage has been done, and an approach to the perpetrator’s parents hasn’t been successful, you can consider suing the parents of the child. This is only appropriate in cases where there has been negligence on behalf of the parent(s) – for example, if they trusted their child with something dangerous like an air gun. They could also be considered liable for the damages if you can prove that they failed to exercise the control expected of a parent, given the child’s age.

“Can I Have my Ball Back?”

It can be irritating but it’s just a fact of neighbourhood life that kids playing ball games will occasionally mislay one into your garden. If children throw or kick a ball into your garden or onto your property, you should hand it back to them, keep hold of it for them to collect from you, or throw it back over if you find it later on.

The children should not trespass onto your property to pick it up, although in practice many probably do. If there is any damage to your garden caused by kids trampling over it, you would be entitled to compensation for any financial damages that were caused.

Still need more information? Read more about ASBOs, parenting contracts, penalty notices and parenting orders in our feature: children and anti-social behaviour.

Problem Neighbours is sponsored by Purely Energy, who have funded a lot of our content. If you are looking for a low cost business energy supplier, take a look at their website.

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I see most of the commentators on here have either no children or are lucky enough to have children who are angels! It is easy to blame bad parenting. I myself would be guilty of thinking this before I became a parent myself and realised it is never as straightforward as you think. Children are not robots and are not simply there to listen to commands. Home working? Well do you have have more rights to live the way you want to live then the children who are playing? Mental health issues? Parents can have more stress on their lives especially if they have to deal with children with certain disorders. It is not right to assume you've got it worse then them. I feel the way forward would be to compromise and have understanding and tolerance on both sides. And if one really cannot tolerate the situation anymore, then moving will be the only option.
mavanjay - 15-Sep-21 @ 8:43 PM
Ive been living in my rented home for the last three years & two out of those three years has been a living nightmare, next doors daughter simply cannot be bothered to look after her kids, so she palms them off to the grandma (Next Door to me), I have numerous health problems, & its like living next door to a fully fledged child day care nursery, the banging, screaming, were at out wits end, weve begged the council to move us as its taking a toll on my mental health on top of my physical conditions & its simply not fair on others, they dont give a toss about others, weve tried complaining & its useless, weve literally had enough.
slimjim - 13-Sep-21 @ 9:48 AM
I solved my problem with 4 horrendously (home schooled) noisy kids next door with the use of white noise! Headphones on, the sound of heavy continuous rain on a loop and voila I cannot hear them at all. Wish I’d thought of this last summer during lockdown when it was unbearable. I sat in my garden all day today reading and it was wonderful. Try it, it’s a revelation if your problem is one of noise. I feel so sorry for you when I read some of your stories - it makes my problem seem almost insignificant.
Linda - 7-Sep-21 @ 9:57 PM
What about a ball against the fence - football, tennis ball - even the Dad comes out and plays with the 6 year old. We are talking a small terraced house garden in a city. Not a big garden. We all have minimal space and live on top of one another. When this family, our direct next door neighbours are away - you could hear a pin drop. No one else seems to use their gardens for anything remotely noisy. It’s not just the contact football being kicked, smashing against the fence, being bounced, or actual football matches being played - it’s the family rows. Not just the two youngest children but also the parents get involved and scream at the top of their lungs. One day last summer the Dad said the 5 year old was ruining his life and other days told him to stop being a d***.
Enough - 6-Sep-21 @ 9:55 PM
We recently moved to a new build estate. We have an open (unenclosed) front lawn and drive way. I've planted lots of small bushes around the perimeter of the lawn. One of our neighbours (opposite and to the right of our house) is an absolute thug of a man. He just looks, sounds and is aggressive. You just know when someone's a horrible piece of work. He has 3 young feral kids. I have never encountered 4, 5 or 6 year olds so feral. They are always outside screaming, cycling, leaving their bikes in the road for us to move when we need to get on or off our drive, and most annoyingly, they are cycling over my lawn and in between my fragile bushes, as well as playing on our driveway and ringing our doorbell sporadically. It's extremely annoying. They're in our faces all the time, and I'm waiting for the day that they ruin hundreds of Pounds of vegetation on our lawn. I have no problem with kids playing, but they need to respect neighbours peace and property. I have spoken to the kids once or twice to no avail. Usually, I'd approach a parent, but I just know that no matter how politely I speak to their thuggish dad (he doesn't live with a partner) he'll just respond petulantly and aggressively. Any advice?
Harry - 3-Sep-21 @ 6:34 AM
Kids playing is fine Kids screaming for hours on end right outside my window? They can do one. I’ve taken to playing obscene music at full volume out the window when the kids are out there screaming. Parents now complaining that I shouldn’t subject children to foul language like that well tit for tat Karen control your spawn and I’ll control my music
FxckYourCrotchGoblin - 25-Aug-21 @ 4:44 PM
New people moved in 5 yrs ago, not spoken 1 word to eachother, renovated bungalow. Constant noise for 4 yrs. kids had trampoline up for 3 yrs constantly jumping on and noise levels, screaming shouting. All the kids from all over, came over to play. Same deal with the 10ft high play fort.they have 2 kids 6 and 8 kids, would come round to play, up till late October. No respect no value. Parents never tell the kids to be quiet, they disappear,inside.why do some parents never tell kids off outside. Also constant sleepovers both adults and kid.party’s not telling us there will be lots of cars coming round.
Angry dad - 22-Aug-21 @ 4:13 PM
2 options 1. Ear plugs 2. Get a humidifier that will interrupt external noise Othwerise pls dont bully families trying to lead a healthy life....its a part of children growing up, unless of course there is concern on mistreatement of these children. Ear plugs will do the trick, but I suppose they are not the not comfortable. So take option 1 or 2 and deal with your own problems unless of course we are talking about noise past 11pm I have a similar situtation...for 20 years i listened to my neighbours cats fighting at 5am and didnt complain...now i have neigbours complaining at 9.30pm because a 2 year old cries....so from the other side....no....if you are sensitive to others sound. Nobody has a god given right here to interefere in families trying to lead a healthy and happy life. Most people dont realize flats in London are not retirement homes or detached houses, and flat are not soundproofed for low frequency sounds (deep bass, walls, floors etc) Children are not robots, a city is not a village. You working from home and needing peace and quiet is nothing to do with children playing, those are your needs...and its not first come first serve in terms of who says how it will be. Having children is not illegal, children playing is not illegal...I have lived in a flat where only thin boards separate floors and believe me you could hear every footstep..
Not Reallt - 21-Aug-21 @ 6:59 PM
2 options 1. Ear plugs 2. Get a humidifier that will interrupt external noise Othwerise pls dont bully families trying to lead a healthy life....its a part of children growing up, unless of course there is concern on mistreatement of these children. Ear plugs will do the trick, but I suppose they are not the not comfortable. So take option 1 or 2 and deal with your own problems unless of course we are talking about noise past 11pm I have a similar situtation...for 20 years i listened to my neighbours cats fighting at 5am and didnt complain...now i have neigbours complaining at 9.30pm because a 2 year old cries....so from the other side....no....if you are sensitive to others sound. Nobody has a god given right here to interefere in families trying to lead a healthy and happy life. Most people dont realize flats in London are not retirement homes or detached houses, and flat are not soundproofed for low frequency sounds (deep bass, walls, floors etc) Children are not robots, a city is not a village. You working from home and needing peace and quiet is nothing to do with children playing, those are your needs...and its not first come first serve in terms of who says how it will be. Having children is not illegal, children playing is not illegal...I have lived in a flat where only thin boards separate floors and believe me you could hear every footstep..
Not Reallt - 21-Aug-21 @ 6:58 PM
Parents still do the kids will be kids and allow screaming, shouting, swearing. They seem to forget not 9-5 mon-fri anymore with jobs and even if kids in back garden sound does travel. Message local council over it with noise nusiance, volume of children. Record DBA if can. I'm in same boat. Neighbour kids screaming reaching over 70dba till gone 9pm from 6.40am nightmare
Emmalou - 21-Aug-21 @ 3:51 PM
I just went totalkto my neighbours i cant take this anymore i work night shifts or late evening i need to sleep during the day these kids come over in my garden make noise while im sleeping i cant remember how many time i have asked them to atlist keep it down i went to their parents trying to talk to them they got angry and told me theres nothing they can do its just kids but for christ sake they are in my garden i was not going to bother if they were playing in their own garden making noise there screaming there we had a heated conversation i cant wait to move out of this place its like living in a ghetto he said hes got 6kids he cant do anything about it i go to work pay tax so that people on benefits can sit fart and disturb my sleep working in a mental hospital i need to be very fresh and fit
Pinks - 20-Aug-21 @ 3:29 PM
Ferals or Animal farm when referring to the ones near us. I live on an estate and about last year things started to kick off when 2 families moved in near by. The one closest shouted, screamed and then started to bark back at any dog that barked near by. Then then got their own dog and every day depending on the weather we got the kids barking and screaming. Thankfully they were moved on due to the ongoing problems and complaints from others. The other family are true ferals, with no boundaries, no respect for people or their property, no volume control and they are just encouraging every other kids in the area to join in and make everyone's life a misery. It's 21.33 now and they have only just gone in.Since earlier today it's been non stop screaming and shouting and this is every day. One of the girls about 4 or 5 has this very aggressive, angry shout with a tongue that would put a sailor to shame. I can swear with the best but this one and her friend are pro's and they will call you names or make comments as they pass, even try to stare you down. The brother is a about 7 and a piece of work, will deliberately cycle out in front of cars and terrorizes the local animals.It's gotten to the point now that it's with local community policing but that won't stop the ongoing noise problems. I can only hope if renting they get moved on as soon as evictions are allowed to happen again.
Elle - 19-Aug-21 @ 9:37 PM
My daughter and her partner is going through the same. @Nannie you do have rights.Just because they are children it doesn't mean the laws etc do not apply.You take action against the landlord as they have the responsibility to ensure their tenant doesn't cause a nuisance, and if they are formally informed and they do act appropriately,then they are responsible. @Charlie.No you are wrong. You are responsible for your children's behaviour and actions.Your neighbours would be right to act against you. I believe the problem here is that we are too tolerant of badly behaved children. Excuses are made when parents simply aren't not made accountable for their children's behaviour.I had the same experience as many of you. I took Lambeth Council to Court as well as the nuisance neighbour and the noise and nuisance stopped immediately. Lambeth had failed in their duty but until then, in my estate no one had taken them to task. In my case, that neighbour stopped all nuisance until they left. Those suffering you do have rights and you must exercise them. The more people suffering do, the more the Courts will listen and change can happen
Karen - 14-Aug-21 @ 12:29 PM
OK this is to Charlie who said from the other side I'm assuming your not working from home err hello pandemic I live next to a absolute a hole step dad with 3 kids in a two bedroom house hes a pot head and I am trying to move im self employedunfortunately there screaming brats are making it hard for me to work so just can't move it costs i honestlywant to strangle the kids as they bring every kid on the road up till turned 11 pm they ain't even teenagers the parents are just a holes as for the bloke I hope he ends up in a bad traffic accident hes horrid a pot head with a bad attitude im sick of his weed smell im sick of his kids I absolutely hope he gets covid and dies basically you people with kids think they are so bloody preciousbut they ain't they are little c words those who let the kids play out after dark are the problem guess what im a mum my kids do not do this my kids are quiet they don't mingle with the other kids on here becausethey are aggressive little c words who don't know how to play they do nothing but physically fight they are going to be tomorrow'sdole scum mark my words as for being out after dark hell no dark comes bath time and bed those who don't want to parent and let them scream all fricking day shouldn't be parents cant wait to fricking move
Angry home worker - 13-Aug-21 @ 10:06 PM
Holidays are here.My next door neighbours 4 are out in force with their friends in their two large plastic pools,two slides,large bouncy castle and two football nets plus footballs.We are in a good neighbourhood with a mixture of housing but not rural..quite built up. Their parents have a really nice hot tub where friends gather and its in their garden right underneath my bedroom window. Today mum and friend were sitting in the garden drinking and sun bathing whilst the numerous kids created mayhem. We are quite old…my partner has Parkinson’s and has had a slight stroke.We have never had problems with noise before they moved in four years ago. It’s driving me nuts.I was a teacher for 30 years so understand kids need to let off steam but the utter lack of respect for the neighbours has me dumbfounded!! One neighbour with a young family has had enough and has sold their house…I am ready to go now myself afterliving here for a long time.Can’t stand it any longer.
Netta - 3-Aug-21 @ 8:07 PM
I have been reading the comments and the woman who has been told to let her child scream I feel for you. Of course children have to play but continual screaming is not part of playing, it’s very annoying. I moved to the country from London 6 years ago and all was fine until2 years ago my neighhour started up a B&B,. She has 3 acres of land with a few goats and pigs.She rents out a room and bought 2 yurts, then had an above ground swimming pool put right next to our fence and a trampoline at the front within 15feet of our sitting room.There were plenty of other places she could have out it as she has a massive field the other side of her property but she didn’t want dust going into the pool.They were fairly quiet until they did this, now whenever the 7 year old daughter is in the pool or on the trampoline we have the screaming, not only that they also allow children and dogs, so now we also have children who don’t even live here screaming and dogs barking.What annoys me was that 3 years ago she messaged me to keep my dogs quite when my dogs weren’t even barking. I don’t let them bark unnecessarily. Fortunately the children can only stay in the pool for short time as it’s a salt water pool and is verycold.The thing is this is going in all through the summer.We did hear one parent tell her child not to scream.It sounds like it’s in our garden.So now when the screaming gets to much just put opera loud enough that they can hear and hope they take the hint, it’s not happened yet.I know if I say something she will be miffed.She is running a business and has a duty of care.Neighbours along our road even hear it,I don’t want her to lose her business but why should we have to put up with the screaming when all she has to do is tell them not to.i
Saffron - 3-Aug-21 @ 12:06 AM
We have neighbours who are OK for the most part. Don't really speak to us which is fine, but their kids are constantly screaming outside, particularly during hot days. One kid in particular frequently screeches at the top of her lungs, sometimes multiple times in a row. It's frustrating that I often have to put music on just to not hear the constant screaming. They have also woken me up a couple of times with this high pitched screeching. I have a terrible sleep pattern, so I tend to sleep later than most, but I just feel sorry for anyone who might live nearby, getting home from a night shift, but can't sleep because of them screeching. I can only dread how much noise they'll make over the summer holidays.
Johnjesus - 25-Jul-21 @ 4:02 PM
In my street about 15 kids playing football and hitting cars and ball going on drive way damaging property when you speak to the child or parent all I get is abuse and told kids are allowed to play where they want do the kids are like "we can play where we want you cant tell us " I'm all for kids playing out but not with kids with no respect for other peoples property,I've contacted police and council and they sent letters out asking not to play in road or driveways and to play in there garden or a park but that went in one ear and out the other, this is getting to a point that me and 4 other home owners have complained but feel nothing is happening and kids are getting worse.
Tina - 23-Jul-21 @ 9:28 AM
I have no problem with kids playing, but my neighbours kids literally scream, fight and cry in the garden all day, and the mother just screams at them, so no wonder they don’t know how to communicate! My kids are grown up and I know they made noise, but not like this! It’s now the summer holidays and they are out there all day, every day. I don’t work currently due to health problems and so I have no escape. I often need a nap during the day and get woken up by screaming kids which makes me feel worse.
Emma - 22-Jul-21 @ 12:34 PM
Hey, other side here, One kid extremely noisy, other two can be when they’re having a bit of a wild moment. Kids grow up, remember that, they won’t be small forever and when your kids are old enough to be running around making noise - remember when you thought other kids were annoying, you’ll be annoyed by your own and as much as you love your kids they’re loud and irritating on times! I constantly tell mine to be quiet and try and keep them busy and focused. I take them out on walks during the day and I get them to help me water the plants etc but sometimes they will just be loud. Don’t always assume kids are vile or parents are vile because they’re not quiet every minute of everyday, kids aren’t mean to be seen and not heard, that died ages ago. They’re safe in their garden too, where I live people are inconsiderate… driving like idiots and letting their dogs crap everywhere, I’m protecting mine by keeping them in playing where they are safe & ironically the people who’d complain about the noise are the people with the dogs & drive their cars like absolute bell ends.
Charlie. - 21-Jul-21 @ 11:34 AM
As much as I would hate anyone to suffer too, it is sort of comforting to know that I am not alone. I am sat here fuming about the woman who lives behind, her children have been tearing round the garden screaming their heads off since they got home from school, they are still out there now, they are keeping my 9 month old baby awake, I'm having to have his windows open a bit die to the heat and it is so loud on his room. I don't understand how people can be so selfish and inconsiderate. I think I actually hate her. We bought this house with the intention of it being our forever family home and she and her vile children make living here utter hell.
Emma - 19-Jul-21 @ 7:31 PM
We are on the opposite side here. We are professional working parents with 2 children and one is very loud. We are seeking help with him and have been advised by health visitors to ignore screaming and shouting. Our neighbours have been horrible about it saying the noise is not normal, but I have no idea what to do about it.
Help - 17-Jul-21 @ 8:03 PM
Hello All, wierdy I have gleaned some comfort from reading your experiences. We've lived in our current house for 6 years, all was normal with normal noise levels. 5 months ago the family from my hellmoved in next door. We are privately owed as are 3 of the surrounding dwellings with 1 House bang in the middle owned by housing association. 4 kids who run riot, when not at school, screaming, squeeling and shouting constantly. We're trying to sell up and move, but whose going to buy our house with all the riotous ear splitting racket going on. We are extremely lucky that our house isn't attached to theirs, but I have to do what you're all doing too. Shut all doors and windows and go indoors, or go out. I've bought some noise cancelling head phones but in all honesty they don't help much. I'm constantly stressed, can't eat and have already lost 9lbs. I'm frightened and worried that we'll be stuck here for the rest of our lives. I've no idea how I'm going to cope with the summer holidays approaching. I don't want silence, just normal noise levels..... Why do we have no rights...
Nannie63 - 16-Jul-21 @ 11:13 AM
Same here - i have had 15 years of hell since neighbours moved in next to us. Did mediation but that didn’t work either as they just don’t care about anyone else.I thought as they grew up they would get quieter but 5 of them aged 12-20 still sound like babies screaming all day.It affects neighbours up to 10 doors away each side.I wish there was a law we could invoke for a bit if peace.If anyone knows of anything that can be done please share
Had enough - 15-Jul-21 @ 8:40 AM
Normal childhood exuberance is one think constant blood curdling screaming is another. Polite requests to reduce the noise levels are met with an escalation in volume. They know it is annoying you and damaging your mental wellbeing but they don’t care. Shrieking and screaming is a normal part of childhood development but good parents don’t allow it to become a way of demanding immediate attention or the primary method of communication. What will these children be like as adults when they have not been taught to communicate without screaming?
DJ - 12-Jul-21 @ 11:01 AM
I have the same problem. Neighbours put an above ground pool and let their 5 kids (and friends) shriek all day. Not yelling in fun…..but shrieks. We keep all our windows closed, we don’t have guests over anymore as no one wants to try to talk over the noise, we no longer use our patio or backyard. We are now getting ready to sell and leave our home because this is no life. I love to see kids playing outside instead of sitting in front of a screen, but my child was taught to be respectful of others. He was taught consideration and time and place. These children appear to be raised as if only their wants and needs matter. God help these parents when they are teenagers and told no about something.
Cc - 7-Jul-21 @ 3:03 AM
hi, I agree I was the same too I hate moaning it's not me it comes to a point that I actually question myself if I'm right or not or am I just jaded or something, these parents just do not care trouble is nowadays its almost kids with kids they can't handle them truth said, notbrought up properly that's the thing dragged up, it is a different generation to what it is now no values, decorum, respect, what's happening to this society stop the world I'm getting off ive had my rant lol adi
ADI - 28-Jun-21 @ 10:47 PM
In the same boat here. An ex council house (most of the houses here are now privately owned) was sold back to the council and the family from hell moved in! 3 kids, two boys with ADHD, and the eldest one is also ASD. Mum can’t cope, Dad is a tightly wound ball of barely contained emotion, ready to take on anyone who voices a concern about the noise. Eldest boy is 11 and left to play unsupervised in the garden all the time he is not at school. He shouts, he swears, he makes movies-type sound effects at the top of his voice for hours, and hours. During the hot weather I had to have all my doors and windows shut, and the noise still drove me to distraction. When I politely asked if the child could be asked to play more quietly he went running to his housing officer and complained about MY antisocial behaviour!! Many of us are now considering selling what have been private homes for years, back to the council and then this area will revert to its inglorious past as the lunatics take over the asylum.
Snafu - 22-Jun-21 @ 10:01 AM
Kids are treated as adults in the eyes of the law as of about age 12, depending on where you live. So why do police give kids of that age a pass in violating noise laws? An adult would be carted off for screaming nonstop for hours day and night, but we just have to live with it for kids? The law needs to be revisited and the parents who let these monsters yell nonstop should be fined. Otherwise, we all get to scream and throw stuff everywhere all the time, right?
Noisy Kids Are Hell - 19-Jun-21 @ 6:29 PM
I have read all of these replies and sympathise. What is it about kids just screaming for hours on end whilst playing? Can't say anything due to 'ASD'. But those with sensitive hearing are ignored, ignored, ignored. Those with ptsd or anxiety... Who still work.... Ignored, ignored, ignored. "My kid trumps your life" seems to be the motto 90% of parents live to nowadays. Or, "move to the countryside if you want no noise". Well I just don't want screaming all day long that can still be heard with the windows and doors closed, whilst living unnaturally sealed within my own home, on edge, and stressed!! NO. If YOU can't respect those around you, your neighbours and their animals and pets, then YOU move to the countryside. Not me, who shows consideration towards others. Cannot wait to move to a detached house with greater boundary space. Even then it's pot luck though. (Can we please petition for adult only estates? The risk of bad parenting is just too high!)
GovtMustChangeLaws - 16-Jun-21 @ 4:14 PM
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