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Your Rights Under the Noise Act 1996

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 14 Aug 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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Stuckkk - Your Question:
Hi, I moved into a property and had a fall out with my neighbours we live in a quite close I have a drink occasionally (once every couple of months) but never loud music just a civilised drink my partner has a car with a big engine on it and sometimes it is a little loud which they have complained about, whenever I have anyone at the house they all stand gossiping and putting malicious story's together to tell the housing association the following day, I have asked 2 other neighbours who have said they never hear a thing, this is making me feel intimidate and have me really bad anexity where do I stand with the maliciousness it has even got to the point they are messaging my ex parter who I suffered domestic violence with telling him who's at my house and what's going on and even times I'm getting home if I've been on a night out I feel like I'm being spied on constantly what can I do and where do I stand with my housing rights I don't want to loose my house with their maliciousness and bullying

Our Response:
You should check your tenancy agreement with the Housing Association. It will contain full details of what you can/cannot do etc. If your neighbours are intimidating/harrassing/stalking you to the point where you feel under threat, then your local police are the ones you should be talking to.
ProblemNeighbours - 16-Aug-17 @ 10:59 AM
Hi, I moved into a property and had a fall out with my neighbours we live in a quite close I have a drink occasionally (once every couple of months) but never loud music just a civilised drink my partner has a car with a big engine on it and sometimes it is a little loud which they have complained about, whenever I have anyone at the house they all stand gossiping and putting malicious story's together to tell the housing association the following day, I have asked 2 other neighbours who have said they never hear a thing, this is making me feel intimidate and have me really bad anexity where do I stand with the maliciousness it has even got to the point they are messaging my ex parter who I suffered domestic violence with telling him who's at my house and what's going on and even times I'm getting home if I've been on a night out I feel like I'm being spied on constantly what can I do and where do I stand with my housing rights I don't want to loose my house with their maliciousness and bullying
Stuckkk - 13-Aug-17 @ 10:52 PM
KattyKat9 - Your Question:
My neighbours and I all moved into new build houses the same week, One side we don't hear & have a bigger family the other 3 family members like ourselves but we can't have one day of peace, For the past couple of years it's been non stop banging, shouting, diy at gone 11pm loud parties, rubbish thrown over our garden, we can't even sit out in our garden without being spied on every 5 minutes. The noise is making me ill, I'm now on tablets to help me sleep and for nerves. When I've contacted the housing officer she's been no help what so ever, I went above her and contacted anti social officer who came out heard the noise and said the noise was unacceptable and would be issuing them with a warning, This didn't happen as the officer went on sick leave me was passed on to housing officer who told me that I had to live with it or put in for an exchange. My family and I don't want to move and don't feel it's fair that we should be made to feel like we in the wrong. Where do I stand on this as I don't know how much more we can take, Talking to them does nothing.

Our Response:
Report it again to environmental health. If the first council representative said there was a case then this will be action that environmental health can take...not the housing officer.
ProblemNeighbours - 9-Aug-17 @ 1:03 PM
Agh - Your Question:
We recently moved to a lovely area, which we have worked really hard to get to! The property next door is rented out (no issues with this at all) BUT The situation is pretty much the same as Tog (minus the assault). It seems that no matter how many times we ask them to turn down loud music (which sometimes starts at 9.45pm!) after a few days we are back to square one!They fill both their recycling and waste bins to the point where they can't close either of them up. To say it stinks is an understatement. There have been maggots, rubbish strewn all over the street, and we currently have an issue with rats. Have spoken to the council a few times now but nothing seems to be done! I can't even open the living room windows because the smell finds its way into the property!!We have tried speaking to the neighbour but it seems that the language barrier is an issue! The lads seem nice enough, and I don't think they mean to be like this, but there are clearly a fair few of them living there. Any suggestion on what can we do now?? Thanks

Our Response:
Make a formal complaint to your environmental health department. You say you've spoken to the council, is this what you did? Why have they not responded? Follow it up if necessary.
ProblemNeighbours - 8-Aug-17 @ 12:32 PM
My neighbours and i all moved into new build houses the same week, One side we don't hear & have a bigger family the other 3 family members like ourselves but we can't have one day of peace, For the past couple of years it's been non stop banging, shouting, diy at gone 11pm loud parties, rubbish thrown over our garden, we can't even sit out in our garden without being spied on every 5 minutes. The noise is making me ill, I'm now on tablets to help me sleep and for nerves. When I've contacted the housing officer she's been no help what so ever, I went above her and contacted anti social officer who came out heard the noise and said the noise was unacceptable and would be issuing them with a warning, This didn't happen as the officer went on sick leave me was passed on to housing officer who told me that I had to live with it or put in for an exchange. My family and I don't want to move and don't feel it's fair that we should be made to feel like we in the wrong. Where do I stand on this as I don't know how much more we can take, Talking to them does nothing.
KattyKat9 - 7-Aug-17 @ 10:52 PM
animal sanctuary - Your Question:
My husband and I have lived in our flat in a block of four for over forty years and we keep a very beautiful tidy garden and the lawn is shared. We have never had trouble with any of our neighbours before but one of our recent neighbours has a lovely friendly dog but the owner lets it run all over our flower beds and poo on the back lawn. She does pick it up eventually but surely this is not allowed as we have tramped on mess a few times. She is quite unapproachable can anything be done do you think?

Our Response:
Is it a communcal space? Are there any conditions in the rental agreement or any lease/title deeds that prevent pets etc? Sorry there's not really enough information to comment on this at the moment.
ProblemNeighbours - 7-Aug-17 @ 2:28 PM
We recently moved to a lovely area, which we have worked really hard to get to! The property next door is rented out (no issues with this at all) BUT The situation is pretty much the same as Tog (minus the assault). It seems that no matter how many times we ask them to turn down loud music (which sometimes starts at 9.45pm!) after a few days we are back to square one! They fill both their recycling and waste bins to the point where they can't close either of them up. To say it stinks is an understatement. There have been maggots, rubbish strewn all over the street, and we currently have an issue with rats. Have spoken to the council a few times now but nothing seems to be done! I can't even open the living room windows because the smell finds its way into the property!! We have tried speaking to the neighbour but it seems that the language barrier is an issue! The lads seem nice enough, and I don't think they mean to be like this, but there are clearly a fair few of them living there. Any suggestion on what can we do now?? Thanks
Agh - 6-Aug-17 @ 9:06 AM
My husband and I have lived in our flat in a block of four for over forty years and we keep a very beautiful tidy garden and the lawn is shared. We have never had trouble with any of our neighbours before but one of our recent neighbours has a lovely friendly dog but the owner lets it run all over our flower beds and poo on the back lawn. She does pick it up eventually but surely this is not allowed as we have tramped on mess a few times. She is quite unapproachable can anything be done do you think?
animal sanctuary - 4-Aug-17 @ 2:49 PM
Sammyjj74 - Your Question:
A neighbour of my child's school has complained about the noise of the kids playing outside. Surely when they bought the house directly behind the school they accepted this situation? The children & staff are getting stressed now when outside. Does the neighbour have right to complain?

Our Response:
They can complain, but it's highly unlikely that any action will be taken. As you say, if you live near a school, you can expect noise from children.
ProblemNeighbours - 31-Jul-17 @ 10:36 AM
edy - Your Question:
Hello, I have rented out with my partner a ground floor flat last year in November. Everything seemed to be fine at the beginning. But then the neighbour’s living above us, including their kid, started being up up to 2/ 3 o’clock in the morning, clapping her/ his hands, singing, having arguments etc. next to the wide open window. Sometimes we can hear that there are their friends or family, including kids, being up and loud after midnight. I got really annoyed two nights ago and started banging soft ball on the ceiling, but that didn’t help. Last night they came back from somewhere very late and didn’t finished being noisy until about 3am. I’m really getting frustrated as it’s getting worse, even though once I have explained to the husband (I think) that he is being loud when he was having “conversation” (shouting) from his car parked in the middle of the road with another person above my bedroom (not the closest room to the street) after 11pm. I’m really getting tired after not being able to sleep nearly whole night. Unfortunately I know that talking to the women won’t help, as before I had some issues with her over her excessively overgrown garden which I see from my bedroom window and where my gas extraction pipe was blocked. Because she lied, it took me over two months to get someone to sort it (involving council, landlord etc.). SO I don’t really know what to do and would appreciate some advise.

Our Response:
Speak to your landlord about this, they may be able to help especially if they own the flat above you as well.If the noise continues later at night and into the small hours, speak to your environmental health officer.
ProblemNeighbours - 28-Jul-17 @ 12:55 PM
A neighbour of my child's school has complained about the noise of the kids playing outside. Surely when they bought the house directly behind the school they accepted this situation? The children & staff are getting stressed now when outside. Does the neighbour have right to complain?
Sammyjj74 - 14-Jul-17 @ 7:32 PM
Hi I own the house, the next door neighbor is rental house...I work nights 10pm till 8am in a care home and on my day off I like to have a catch up sleep on days as I can't sleep much on nights. My house is my sanctuary..it has been 2 weeks now the next door having the whole house renovated without giving us prior notice. Also I suffer with migrain trigger is loud and constant noise and I have a very sensitive ears...At one point I only have 2 hrs sleep and I have to work on night again. It really affected my health I became irritated and moody.I spoke to the builder/worker they just told me to dealt with it and I tried to contact the landlord through the rental company but i just got told off. I look around the building its going to be long time to finish. What do you think is my right. The builder start at 8am to 6pm...the wall of the next door and our wall is one so the banging and drilling is too much and also the vibration.
I'msickofthenoise - 29-Jun-17 @ 7:09 PM
I own my house. Next door is a rental house. The landlord only rents to East European people. We have a constant string of anti-social people living there for about 7 years. Loud music day and night, hammering and banging, we have been physically assaulted by one lot who were living there. I have spoken to the landlord countless times and to be fair, he sorts it out, but then puts another problem family in it. The house and garden is a tip, scruffy curtains nailed up at the windows. Last night, next doors were hammering at gone 10pm. I get up for work at 5.15am, so I banged on the wall and the man came knocking to ask what was the problem! He used the old "You are racist" chestnut, which I'm not. I don't care where they're from, I just would like quiet and consideration. Last Saturday, they had extremely loud music in the garden, so we couldn't sit in ours. He just said we should go in and close the windows. It was 30 degrees. Why should we, and why should we listen to their crap music blaring out.
Tog - 21-Jun-17 @ 9:39 AM
Hi I live in an apartment building and the walls are very thin, the kitchen/diner being attached to someone's bedroom . Our neighbours are constantly complaining that there should not be any noise until 8:30am ! My toddler which is the issue wakes up by 6:30 as most kids and I have to bring him to have breakfast by 7 or 7:30 to get ready for nursery . Can you advise me of my rights as she has started to be rude and comparing my child to a dog !
Lisa - 17-Jun-17 @ 5:10 PM
Sylvie - Your Question:
I had issues with noisy neighbours. I called the police who were out within 10 minutes. I made a note of each police call out with the police reference. I then launched an official complaint with the council who took it on very seriously. The music and get togethers have now stopped. No one should have to put up with the excessive noise of their neighbours.

Our Response:
Glad the whole process has worked effectively for you.
ProblemNeighbours - 6-Jun-17 @ 2:05 PM
Dave - Your Question:
Hi, my neighbour has had a massive extension to there house last year which took 6 months of noise and disturbance. Every weekend when I get time off work and want to relax and my girlfriend wants to sleep after a night shift, he has jobs done in and around the house. Its rediculous the noise they create with power tools. Nothing happens through the week but every weekend they do something, its making me angry towards them and I dont enjoy living here sometimes. Which is a shame as its a lovely area appart from the newsance neighbour

Our Response:
Have a polite word with the neighbour. Ask how long it's likely to go on for and if they can restrict the work to say a specific a three hour period on each weekend day every now and then. That way you will be able to plan your weekends around the noise at least. They can't be doing DIY forever, so once you've established an end point, things might become easier for you. If they noise starts up before 7 or 8 in the morning or after 10pm you can complain to environmental health about the noise nuisance.
ProblemNeighbours - 6-Jun-17 @ 10:50 AM
I had issues with noisy neighbours. I called the police who were out within 10 minutes. I made a note of each police call out with the police reference. I then launched an official complaint with the council who took it on very seriously. The music and get togethers have now stopped. No one should have to put up with the excessive noise of their neighbours.
Sylvie - 4-Jun-17 @ 9:21 AM
Hi, my neighbour has had a massive extension to there house last year which took 6 months of noise and disturbance. Every weekend when i get time off work and want to relax and my girlfriend wants to sleep after a night shift, he has jobs done in and around the house. Its rediculous the noise they create with power tools. Nothing happens through the week but every weekend they do something, its making me angry towards them and i dont enjoy living here sometimes. Which is a shame as its a lovely area appart from the newsance neighbour
Dave - 3-Jun-17 @ 10:11 AM
My mums neighbour leaves her 16 year old son home alone all weekend and during school holidays. Every time he is left he invites all his friends round to drink, smoke and party in their hot tub (they have loud music and shout and scream constantly, using foul language). This weekend he saw my mum looking out her window at them (as they were being so loud and obnoxious) and he called her a f@#king c@#t, he hopes she gets run over and dies and then said to his friend he was going to throw sh#t up her house. These "gatherings" have been going on for over a year, most weekends and school holidays. She's at breaking point. If she complains she is worried about his reaction and the consequences of it. She's spoken to his mum many times, she's been to CAB. What will the council or police do if she contacts them?
Sarah Yeo - 29-May-17 @ 10:38 PM
Windy. - Your Question:
What time legally do you have to finish diy like banging and drilling.

Our Response:
The usual time period for excessive noise to be "actionable" is between 10pm and 7am
ProblemNeighbours - 19-May-17 @ 2:30 PM
What time legally do you have to finish diy like banging and drilling.
Windy. - 18-May-17 @ 6:19 PM
new upstairs neighbours that every day play their music. I can hear it as their lounge is above mine. it's beyond a joke now. last neighbours were just as bad. I've reported it to my landlords who don't seem to care.
fedupwithconstantmus - 13-May-17 @ 5:57 PM
Karzee - Your Question:
My neighbours build things after midnight? They have children?! That go to school?! Consistent dull hammering that you can hear through the whole building. They live across from me! I can hear it like they are above me. I am a light sleeper and after 12pm is completely not acceptable. If the noise dept came to my house it wouldnt be loud enough for them to hear. What would they be able to do?

Our Response:
Sorry, you say if the "noise department" came to your house it wouldn't be loud enough to hear, so how is it disturbing your? Also noise after 12pm until 11pm would not usually be considered a disturbance in the same way as noise from 11pm to 7am
ProblemNeighbours - 9-May-17 @ 12:56 PM
Lou- Your Question:
My neighbour had party 7th may started at 3pm to 11pm shouting drinking and speakers outside back garden this neighbour is having special treatment because she and her girlfriend work in the week and the dogs go mad Barking early hours in the morning late at night housing associations don't do nothing I have 2 year daughter and partner we and all other tenants got the right to peace and quiet

Our Response:
Try environmental health about the barking dogs. It's unlikely anything can be done about a one-off party that finished at 11pm.
ProblemNeighbours - 9-May-17 @ 12:16 PM
My neighbours build things after midnight? They have children?! That go to school?! Consistent dull hammering that you can hear through the whole building. They live across from me! I can hear it like they are above me. I am a light sleeper and after 12pm is completely not acceptable. If the noise dept came to my house it wouldnt be loud enough for them to hear. What would they be able to do?
Karzee - 8-May-17 @ 12:28 AM
My neighbour had party 7th may started at 3pm to 11pm shouting drinking and speakers outside back garden this neighbour is having special treatment because she and her girlfriend work in the week and the dogs go mad Barking early hours in the morning late at night housing associations don't do nothing I have 2 year daughter and partner we and all other tenants got the right to peace and quiet
Lou - 7-May-17 @ 10:15 PM
Rebecca - Your Question:
Hello, I need some advice, I have recently moved into my first home with my boyfriend. We bought the property and after 5 days of being their my neighbors started being really loud (they privately rent, do not work). They scream at each other for hours on end, bang and slam doors, smash things against the wall, threaten each other and are very aggressive. This can occur any time night or day. They often keep us awake all night and it is really upsetting, I have stayed at my mums on a number of occasions. I have spoken to the neighbor on the other side and she has informed me that the woman may have mental health issues, however I am unsure because as soon as I knock on their door it falls silent and they wont answer but then as soon as myself or my boyfriend are back inside the house they will continue. I am unsure weather I should be calling the police. I dont know what action to take at all. I am aware that I could contact environmental health but I know that they are often ineffective and the process takes a very long time. I have looked and paid for the Land Registry details but they are out of date. Could anyone please advise us on which steps to take first? It is ruining our experience and either of can stand being at home.

Our Response:
The police will not be able to do anything unless you actually witness violence/aggression. You should complain to Environmental Health about the anti social behaviour and the noise. You say they are ineffective but that's just from anecodotal evidence we imagine; most local authority EHOs are extremely efficient at fulfilling their statutory duties. If you don't want to do that, you could consider taking a private legal action against your neighbour.
ProblemNeighbours - 5-May-17 @ 10:45 AM
Hello, I need some advice, I have recently moved into my first home with my boyfriend. We bought the property and after 5 days of being their my neighbors started being really loud (they privately rent, do not work). They scream at each other for hours on end, bang and slam doors, smash things against the wall, threaten each other and are very aggressive. This can occur any time night or day. They often keep us awake all night and it is really upsetting, I have stayed at my mums on a number of occasions. I have spoken to the neighbor on the other side and she has informed me that the woman may have mental health issues, however I am unsure because as soon as I knock on their door it falls silent and they wont answer but then as soon as myself or my boyfriend are back inside the house they will continue. I am unsure weather I should be calling the police... I dont know what action to take at all. I am aware that i could contact environmental health but i know that they are often ineffective and the process takes a very long time. I have looked and paid for the Land Registry details but they are out of date. Could anyone please advise us on which steps to take first? It is ruining our experience and either of can stand being at home.
Rebecca - 4-May-17 @ 1:03 PM
Rachel - Your Question:
Hi, we've been in our house for a year now and we have 2 small children. My next door neighbour has 2 boys, one a teenager and the other about 10. As soon as the weather changes and gets slightly warm the younger one and his mates are out very late, screaming and shouting, dropping litter everywhere and generally being a nuisance. None of the other neighbours seem to mind, or haven't said anything. But it's disturbing my kids sleep, and my sanity. These kids never go to any other house except my neighbours. And the problem is that half the time their mother is out because she works, so I'm not even sure if she's aware of it. We're kind of like the new kids on the block so don't want to rock to boat, but what can we do? My husband is going to speak to the family but failing that where do we stand? I don't want to stop the kids fun, but it would be nice if it wasn't every night right outside my house! Many thanks

Our Response:
Speaking to the neighbours is the thing most likely to achieve results in this case, as there don't seem to be any specific laws broken (apart from the litter).If the noise continues after 11pm, environmental health will be able to do something. If the behaviour is extreme, there's a possibility that antisocial behaviour legislation could be used - you'd need to speak with your council or PCSO about this.
ProblemNeighbours - 12-Apr-17 @ 12:24 PM
Anonymous - Your Question:
I tread the dry weather coming due to the neighbours children screaming , shouting etc in the the Garden directly next to ours from early morning to the evening , the parents are fully aware of the noise but don't really understand how much it effects us in our own garden. I now wear ear plugs to cut down the noise.Their property is private ours is rented with 6ft fence between both gardens. What can we do?

Our Response:
There's not mcuh you can do about this kind of noise. It's natural for families to be outside in the fine weather. You could play music through your headphones, that might help cut out a bit more noise. Or move house?
ProblemNeighbours - 11-Apr-17 @ 12:26 PM
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