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Your Rights Under the Noise Act 1996

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 1 Mar 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Noise Act 1996 Neighbour Advice Noisy

Under the provisions of the Noise Act 1996 and other associated legislation, your local authority has a mandatory obligation to deal with any noise which is deemed to be a ‘nuisance’. It’s not simply at night where the act might come into force, nor is it restricted to common complaints like music and loud parties – general traffic noise, DIY/construction projects and use of other kind of machinery is also incorporated into the legislation.

Measuring The Noise and Permitted Levels

The Permitted Level Of Noise can vary depending on different circumstances and ignorance is not an acceptable excuse. If, for some reason, a person knows that an activity is going to result in excessive noise, it is their responsibility to check with their local authority what level is permitted and what is considered excessive. Local authorities have approved noise measuring devices to determine whether or not a particular ‘noise complaint’ is breaching the law.

Abatement Notices

If the local authority deems that the noise represents a Statutory Nuisance and/or that it’s likely to reoccur, they can issue an abatement notice which will stipulate that the noise stops altogether, is reduced to an acceptable level, or is only permitted between certain times of the day.

However, an abatement notice is not normally served immediately. Usually if you Contact An Environmental Health Officer, they will visit the ‘offender’ first to see if the problem can be resolved without having to take matters further. If the issue hasn’t been resolved within a week, then an abatement notice must be served.

If The Abatement Notice is Not Complied With

Once an abatement notice is issued, if it not complied with, then the offender will have committed an offence. There can be fixed penalty notices and both the courts and the police will now get involved. Fines of up to £5,000 can be imposed on individuals and up to £20,000 if it’s a business within or close to a residential neighbourhood which is involved.

In certain situations where the noise maker might end up being violent or aggressive, the police, in conjunction with the local authority, have the power to Issue An Anti-Social Behaviour Order and if the noise maker fails to comply with that, it might even end up with them even being sent to prison.

Seizing of Equipment

Once an abatement notice has been served, if it is not complied with, an officer from the environmental health department or someone acting upon their behalf, such as a police officer, has the power to gain entry to the residence and to seize the equipment responsible for the problem under warrant provisions. This can be done by force if necessary and can result in a further fine if the person involved wilfully tries to obstruct the removal of the equipment.

The equipment can be seized for up to 28 days, and it is up to the courts to decide what will be done with the equipment in the long term. If no court proceedings have begun within 28 days, the equipment must be returned to its rightful owner. However, if the court decides to convict a person in relation to the said equipment, then a forfeiture order can be made by the court which deprives the offender of any further rights to the equipment.

What to Read Next...

Your Rights Under Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act.

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Zo - Your Question:
I live on a ground floor 3 bedroom with my children and my partner they my neighbours above are young with a young toddler therself they are constantly playing music throughout the day and that loud every morning around 7am they are the alarm for are household they are racist to my partner they use foul language all the time towards us and certain family members teenagers have mocked my 6 year old son kicked my plants over in the garden and are that intimidating that my young children will not play in the garden and ask us to lock the front door when we are home they have also recently for the second time blocked the drains putting things down there toilet that they shouldn't be doing the first time the blockage man told them not to then they did it again the invoice was sent to are landlady stating it was the flat above that causes the blockage flat above refused to pay so she said me and my partner have to and when we refused she said she was when step away from giving ourselves a notice as she is sick of the complainants and noise she is absolutely useless when we tell her she says she dosent want to get involved I also work and pay rent on this property the above are claiming jobseekees allowance and are an absolute nuisance and because the landlady is friends with the aboves mother she is being vile to us and when we said we couldn't cope with them anymore she was happy to give us a notice and we have black mold when my son has been in and out of hospital since born with a bad chest and a specialist came out and said are son wasn't to be near it the landladys answer told my partner to paint over it and what a surprise as we new it would absolutely covered in fury black mould advice much appreciated desperately please.

Our Response:
If you feel your rented property is unsafe or a health hazard, your local council can help. The environmental health department can carry out an assessment using a standard called teh Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). The results of this may enable them to take against the landlord to make him/her improve the standards of their property.
ProblemNeighbours - 2-Mar-17 @ 1:53 PM
I live on a ground floor 3 bedroom with my children and my partner they my neighbours above are young with a young toddler therself they are constantly playing music throughout the day and that loud every morning around 7am they are the alarm for are household they are racist to my partner they use foul language all the time towards us and certain family members teenagers have mocked my 6 year old son kicked my plants over in the garden and are that intimidating that my young children will not play in the garden and ask us to lock the front door when we are home they have also recently for the second time blocked the drains putting things down there toilet that they shouldn't be doing the first time the blockage man told them not to then they did it again the invoice was sent to are landlady stating it was the flat above that causes the blockage flat above refused to pay so she said me and my partner have to and when we refused she said she was when step away from giving ourselves a notice as she is sick of the complainants and noise she is absolutely useless when we tell her she says she dosent want to get involved I also work and pay rent on this property the above are claiming jobseekees allowance and are an absolute nuisance and because the landlady is friends with the aboves mother she is being vile to us and when we said we couldn't cope with them anymore she was happy to give us a notice and we have black mold when my son has been in and out of hospital since born with a bad chest and a specialist came out and said are son wasn't to be near it the landladys answer told my partner to paint over it and what a surprise as we new it would absolutely covered in fury black mould advice much appreciated desperately please.
Zo - 1-Mar-17 @ 7:47 AM
Hi. I am after some advice of possible. My partner and i along with our 1 year old son have just moved to a ground floor flat. We have a foregin couple above us.. this is not a problem but what is a problem is that the man of the house has a big multi gym above our bedroom. He seems to be home 90% of the evening with hardly a noise apart from heavy foot steps. This is untill 10pm or later he decided to work out.. tonight he started at 10.50pm and was still going at 11.50pm. This is happening probably 3 to 4 times a week and is starting to grind us down. I presume i am perfectly within my rights to make a formal complaint? Luckily him doing this has not woken my son up yet but with ot being so regular i imagine it won't be long. Any advice would be great fully appreciated.
Mj - 18-Feb-17 @ 11:50 PM
Hi there Was wondering if you could offer some advice. I bought my first flat about 2 years ago. It's the bottom flat of 3 from a pre-victorian house conversion. The tenants, above me, moved into the second flat roughly about 9 months ago. Because the property is old, sound is transmitted quiet easily so we all have to have some respect for each other where noise is concerned and I had no issues with the pervious person above me. Unfortunately the current tenants are excessively noisy in my opinion and sometimes sound like they are running in the place. They tend to slam there feet on the floor and are either dragging or dropping items on the floor. On numerous occasions the ceiling light has shook in my bedroom. I am also renovating my place but usually start after 8:30 and finish before 18:30 and have advised them that if I'm making too much noise to let me know so Ican quieten down, but nothing has ever been said. I work shifts and the noise can be quite disturbing even with wearing ear plugs. I really like my place but I'm at the point of considering selling and moving on. I have spoken with them a number of time to no avail and unable to contact the landlord. Next step is to search the letting agents in this area. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Shane - 18-Feb-17 @ 7:48 PM
Hi. My parents who are both over 80 have lived across the road from a school for over 15 years. In the last three weeks the school has started playing loud rap music at regular intervals which can be heard inside the house during the day.This is disturbing my parents and other neighbours.My parents are not well and need peace and rest.The music can be heard regularly for over 30 minutes at a time.We called the school to ask them to turn the volume down.Their initial response was it had to be played today because of activities, but when advised it had been going on for some time they said it was only in break periods.There was no apology and they refused to turn it down. I have advised my parents to keep a diary of when the noise is played, but would the environmental department review such a case - it is obvious from the phone call that the school do not want to co-operated with the neighbourhood or take into account those living in the local area.Advice on next steps would be very much appreciated. For example are there local contacts through the council (Birmingham area) Thank you
HB - 16-Feb-17 @ 7:59 PM
Charlie - Your Question:
Hello, just moved to a flat, had some friends over listened to some music it was 22:00.At 22:01 heard some really powerfull knocks at the door (think they used their feet) :). so nextdoor neighbour started to talk very rude and aggresive complaining about noise just wanted to specify I have just a 30Watt sound bar it wasn't even 23:00. telling me they have a new born baby. obvious didn't knew that. just a week here, tried to explain I didn t knew that,couldn t talk with her,she was swearing etc.asked her to leave my yard, she sustains that im allowed until 22:00 to listen to music. any advice I would appreciate it. Many thanks

Our Response:
Generally it's courteous to keep music noise levels down if you know your neighbours have young children. In general environmental health will investigage excessive noise that occurs between the hours of 11pm and 7am. It sound as though your neighbour did overeact a little but is potentially under stress having a baby that needs to sleep etc. Perhpas drop a note apologising and say that at weekends you might play music (not too loud) until 11pm and earlier in the week to allow for the baby and for people that might need be in bed early because of work etc.
ProblemNeighbours - 16-Feb-17 @ 1:59 PM
Hello, just moved to a flat, had some friends over listened to some music it was 22:00.At 22:01 heard some really powerfull knocks at the door (think they used their feet) :) ... so nextdoor neighbour started to talk very rude and aggresive complaining about noise just wanted to specify i have just a 30Watt sound barit wasn't even 23:00 ... telling me they have a new born baby ... obvious didn't knew that. just a week here, tried to explain i didn t knew that,couldn t talk with her,she was swearing etc ....asked her to leave my yard, she sustains that im allowed until 22:00 to listen to music ... any advice i would appreciate it. Many thanks
Charlie - 16-Feb-17 @ 3:16 AM
I live in a terraced house which is beautiful both inside and out. About 9 months ago a woman and her Autistic 28 year old son moved in next door. He screams and shouts for hours and hours. I can hear it over my Television in the evening which demonstrates how loud he is. It's making my life a complete misery and one evening it got so bad that I went and knocked on the door. The mother opened the door and I said: "can you please tell him to stop shouting because you are making my life a misery" She slammed the door in my face without a word and 10 minutes later I had her daughter hammering on my door accusing me of upsetting her mother!.! I have hundreds of recordings of the noise and been in touch with my local councils Environmental Health team and they refuse to do anything because he is disabled!! The Environmental Health officer sent me an email today suggesting that I wear earplugs!! Seriously
Doodle Bug - 14-Feb-17 @ 2:49 PM
Hi, I need some advice guys. Basically I have a shop on the first floor and there is an ice cream shop below me who has speakers in the ceiling and always loves to blast them with BASS at maximum! It is extremely annoying and I can't even stand to work here anymore but I have to so i can pay my bills. After speaking to him and to the landlord numerous times nothing has changed! What do you think I can do to put an end to this? Is there any legal procedure that I can take so this stops? Please help me Thank you
Shabz - 9-Feb-17 @ 2:48 PM
I need some advice. I live in a flat and neighbours downstairs tend to play loud music everyday, on weekends they start around 10-11am. Workdays I finish at 3pm by the time I get home, the music is already playing. The sound is turned up to full blast and even my floor is vibrating from their speakers. If I sit down on the sofa, I can feel the music vibrating through. Normally they play it up to 8pm but it's too loud. I cannot relax after work in early evening or enjoy any TV by putting my own volume up to an accesive level. They tend to ignore any requests to put it down. Other neighbors seem to ignore it. I am hesitant to call the police with a complain as the neighbors are aggresive and like to pay back for causing them a problem. What should I do? It's like this everyday non stop.
GK - 30-Jan-17 @ 5:20 PM
Lou- Your Question:
I live in a nice flat with my partner and 2 year old daughter neighbour above has 2 dogs and 1 cat the dogs bark all the time even when my daughter play in our back garden and the neighbour moves table and chairs around the flat early hours in morning also has people staying there every weekend they noisy too this is a regular thing now why should we move we go by the tenancy agreement but neighbour above don't I'm stressed out and tied a lot and the neighbour never take the dogs out the share the litter tray with the cat and when the summer time the dogs and cat business in the bin smells strong it's disgusting

Our Response:
Firstly, complain to your landlord, they will be able to take action about this, especially if it's antisocial type behaviour. If that doesn't do the trick, try send a note/formal letter to your neighbour. We have a selection of free letter templates here that you could use. If the problem, persists, your council's environmental health service should be able to investigate both the noise and the sanitation issues.
ProblemNeighbours - 30-Jan-17 @ 10:29 AM
I live in a nice flat with my partner and 2 year old daughter neighbour above has 2 dogs and 1 cat the dogs bark all the time even when my daughter play in our back garden and the neighbour moves table and chairs around the flat early hours in morning also has people staying there every weekend they noisy too this is a regular thing now why should we move we go by the tenancy agreement but neighbour above don't I'm stressed out and tied a lot and the neighbour never take the dogs out the share the litter tray with the cat and when the summer time the dogs and cat business in the bin smells strong it's disgusting
Lou - 29-Jan-17 @ 1:16 AM
My neighbours on the adjoining house have had workmen in doing huge alterations to their house. It has been going on for six months now. The noise has been unbearable even on Saturday afternoons and Sundays! At one point there were five workmen working on separate rooms drilling and banging so I couldn'tget away from the noise! As I am writing this a huge router has been drilling loudly next to the adjoining wall and it is 6.50pm. I can't even hear the TV! I was put on hold when ringing noise pollution council phone number. It is driving me crazy. I've been next door to complain twice now and they were very unpleasant. What can I do? It
Long suffering - 16-Jan-17 @ 6:51 PM
Please give me advice on what to do, I'm literally going crazy! I do 12-14 hour shifts, finish at around 3-4am, then, the builders over the road start drilling at 6am! Over the past week I've probably had about 6 hours sleep - I've tried everything from putting a loud electric fan next to my bed to muffle the noises which doesn't work because they're so loud, to trying to sleep on the kitchen floor with a blanket because it's the room the furthest from the noise, but I can still hear it! My next option is gonna be sleeping tablets but I'm scared that if I take them I'll miss my alarm and be late for work.
Ryan - 12-Jan-17 @ 9:13 AM
karen - Your Question:
Hi,Just a bit of advice please, my neighboughs over Christmas suddenly started playing music and it was coming through my walls quite loudly like the whole one side of my house, I messaged them on facebook and asked if they could turn it down, they said sorry yes and did slightly but I could still hear it, then the next day it came on again I spoke to my daughter who was off uni for xmas and she said it had been happening on a morning for the past week and had woke her up, I went next door and spoke to the man of the house I said do you have your music on now again as it is coming through the walls really loudly again he said yes sorry I will turn it down I said do you have surround sound or anything like that as it really does echo through the whole side of my house he said no I just have one big large speaker so I thought well that must be it, anyway I didn't hear it again until new years eve whicj I thought was fair enough it was party night however last Saturday I heard it again around 5pm tea time it is annoying as I can hear it over the sound of my tv boom boom in the background, I Messaged them around 10pm as I was going to bed to turn it down , they never replied but it went off around half 11, I was just wondering if I could do something about it as it is distressing to me and I have told them this but it looks as though it is going to continue whenever they feel like it.

Our Response:
If the noise continues on a regular basis, it's excessive and it occurs after 11pm, your environmental health officer should be able investigate and if necessary, take action.
ProblemNeighbours - 10-Jan-17 @ 12:30 PM
Hi, Just a bit of advice please, my neighboughs over Christmas suddenly started playing music and it was coming through my walls quite loudly like the whole one side of my house, I messaged them on facebook and asked if they could turn it down, they said sorry yes and did slightly but I could still hear it, then the next day it came on again I spoke to my daughter who was off uni for xmas and she said it had been happening on a morning for the past week and had woke her up, I went next door and spoke to the man of the house I said do you have your music on now again as it is coming through the walls really loudly again he said yes sorry I will turn it down I said do you have surround sound or anything like that as it really does echo through the whole side of my house he said no I just have one big large speaker so I thought well that must be it, anyway I didn't hear it again until new years eve whicj I thought was fair enough it was party night however last Saturday I heard it again around 5pm tea time it is annoying as I can hear it over the sound of my tv boom boom in the background, I Messaged them around 10pm as I was going to bed to turn it down , they never replied but it went off around half 11, I was just wondering if I could do something about it as it is distressing to me and I have told them this but it looks as though it is going to continue whenever they feel like it.
karen - 9-Jan-17 @ 2:03 PM
my neibour is playing loud music and its 1 in morning what can i do
gavybaby - 8-Jan-17 @ 12:59 AM
Can you please advise me.Ime house owner next door is landlord renting house (actually is council renting 4 bed house for the one person but actualy leaving 4 peopl)for the day she moved we don't have quiet life.she shout.talk on phone very loud till 1am.I know now all her live.. plus dog barking.we go talk to her she call police and said that we disturb her privacy. So now 4 moth we complain every were but noresults as council and environmental said the will come to talk to as.Sone as we both working full time my husband take day off no one come ,no one call.plz plz advise what to do as I can't sleep properly I need to awaik everyday at 5 am I get sleep just 4 or 5 h.thanks
Vi - 6-Jan-17 @ 10:56 PM
Mona - Your Question:
I have been at my new apartment for a year now and ever since I moved in my neighbors upstairs have been drilling every day of the week all day long and there I's also a lot of banging and furniture moving after 9pm at night it's making me feel like killing myself just to get a little peace. What should I do

Our Response:
It's worth popping round and politely mentioning it to them first. The drop them a note followed by a formal letter - see our templates here for assistance. If that is not successful, you could call your environmental health officer.
ProblemNeighbours - 6-Jan-17 @ 10:41 AM
I have been at my new apartment for a year now and ever since I moved in my neighbors upstairs have been drilling every day of the week all day long and there I's also a lot of banging and furniture moving after 9pm at night it's making me feel like killing myself just to get a little peace.What should I do
Mona - 5-Jan-17 @ 8:43 AM
mar570 - Your Question:
Can somebody give some advice. I have a neighbor that lets his children run upstairs until after 1 am in the morning. We have been down the route with the council which ended up with him accusing me of making up complaints against him because he's Pakistani and despite me giving the council video and audio recordings of the noise. He said that his children were under 11 and he cannot control them. It went quiet for about a year and now his children are back to playing and running all day and up to 1 am, now they are all over 11 years old. They yell abuse at me through the walls and kick the partition wall on my bedroom at all hours when they think I am asleep. Been round to ask him to stop his children playing but they run even more after I asked them. I am wondering if I could seek legal advice to either get the council to do something or can I take legal action against him?

Our Response:
Report it again to your environmental health officer, they have a duty to investigate especially if the noise occurs after 11pm. If they cannot find any proof to take further action, you could try legal action.
ProblemNeighbours - 4-Jan-17 @ 11:59 AM
Can somebody give some advice. I have a neighbor that lets his children run upstairs until after 1 am in the morning. We have been down the route with the council which ended up with him accusing me of making up complaints against him because he's Pakistani and despite me giving the council video and audio recordings of the noise. He said that his children were under 11 and he cannot control them. It went quiet for about a year and now his children are back to playing and running all day and up to 1 am, now they are all over 11 years old. They yell abuse at me through the walls and kick the partition wall on my bedroom at all hours when they think I am asleep. Been round to ask him to stop his children playing but they run even more after I asked them. I am wondering if I could seek legal advice to either get the council to do something or can I take legal action against him?
mar570 - 3-Jan-17 @ 11:55 AM
Do anyone actually take notice of these complaints I have thirteen people living next door to me the noise and banging is constant I've reporting this so many times its driving me crazy nothing is ever done somebody has got to help
Help - 2-Jan-17 @ 3:12 PM
My neighbors above me was second time making noise make me crazy . Open loud music whole night at the first time , walking up and down with lots of noise and talking screaming like nobody . I talk to them at the first time, when the door open I see like lots of younger inside the flat , they said will lower down the volume . I said now is 4 am you supposed to off the music not lowering down . Second time was yesterday with music not loud then last time , but we still can hear at 3 am morning and I can hear they have sex . The girl screaming and you can the sexual activity was on going . What the hell is this people doing . I failing complaint to council second time . There never replies me at all .
Anonymous - 2-Jan-17 @ 8:59 AM
ok i know it new years eve ive enjoyed myself with my family tonight. the problem i have is a neighbor thats is playing music from there culture its been going on since 1pm and it is still going on now at 4pm. id love to go and knock on the door but i live on a street where a lot of them live and it could make life hell so please is there anything i can do about it. i know the house is rented out and there are different people in alot. but it moves from one toom to and other and it is very loud.
johnny7944 - 1-Jan-17 @ 4:08 AM
I know it is New Years eve and it is the time to celebrate but having a stereo in the back garden at 2315hrs on full blast is a bit over the top. This is not the first time this has happened can any one make a suggestion as to what i can do. Approaching the neighbours is not an option.
Carlos - 31-Dec-16 @ 11:25 PM
I have a new neighbour. He has contacted me living a note in my letterbox reproaching me to listen to the same piece of music too often. I do not listen to music often and always day time. The flats we live in are let by an agency and he twice contacted them to complain. I am upset he dares to complain.I do hear him taking showers late at night. I told him.to contact me first. But he did not today. It is embarrassing and very unpleasant not to have a chance now and then to listen to classical music or a little bit of other styles without having a neighbour complaints. What shall I do? I a very upset about I all.
nanoo - 30-Dec-16 @ 1:22 AM
Hi there i live in a property and a garage workshop business has an extractor fan motor mounted to their roof which is at the end of my garden. The noise is approx 65db at 775hz as a constant drone in operation from 9am to 7-9pm daily. You can also hear the hum even indoors when the windows and doors are closed. It is a nuisance to me and i was wondering what noise limits there are on commercial businesses to emit this much noise in a residential area. I don't want to contact the council at this stage until i know what likelihood there is they will ask the business to replace the fan for something less noisey. i.e. if there are permitted noise limits in effect. I've already spoken to the owner of the garage who wasn't interested in taking any action even when i offered to pay a contribution to any costs. He simply stated he has a license to run the business 24hrs and he'll do as he pleases. Charming! Any help hugely appreciated. Thanks!
Peace&Quiet - 29-Dec-16 @ 5:55 PM
Can you advise please. I live in a converted property on Christmas Eve at 12.10 I had the handrail put back on the wall as it became loose. The guy who did it for me was coming back into the property when he was approached very rudely from the owner of his flat below. He demanded he stopped drilling which he was not doing he was putting the screws back into the wall where the original holes are. Ihave lived in my flat for over 28years and it has been very difficult for me. The man below always approaches anyone who comes to do works in my home he has also tried to stop council workers from carrying out their work which he did not succeed in doing. His approach is very much bullish towards myself and others. He makes noise but i dont complain I am so depressed I am not having Christmas. I really am hurt at the way he speaks to people who come to me I am elderly and I don't need this.
BM - 25-Dec-16 @ 11:34 AM
toogoo- Your Question:
On a Saturday night my parents have my two young children so me and my partner like to have a quiet drink in the house and listen to some music. We never play the music passed 11pm as we are normally in bed by this time. Last night our neighbours come knocking on the door screaming at us to turn the music off. It was before 11pm Which to my knowledge is okay.?? This really upset me as every night we have to listen to these neighbours arguing and fighting really loud with one another. Can anyone tell me my rights on music loudness before 11pm please.??

Our Response:
11pm is generally the time at which environmental health services will investigate. If you live in an attached property, it's general deemed inconsiderate to be playing music loud enough that it's interefering with their enjoyment of their property even if it's before 11pm.
ProblemNeighbours - 13-Dec-16 @ 10:08 AM
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