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Your Rights Under the Noise Act 1996

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 23 Nov 2020 | 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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Is it possible to get a noise measuring device sent out. I live in a terrace and next door building effecting other neighbours incl myself for 5 months woken up to loud banging and drilling men walking on my roof. Its all hours morning, during day, evenings, sundays and we have kids either side of this neighbour and With no end in sight id like to know what can be done.
BT - 23-Nov-20 @ 8:36 AM
I lived in a private road , in rented accommodation. The women next door to me hired an old builder to do her work, instead of a team of young builders who could of come in and done it all in no time. Every day he would turn up in his old van , banging away for 5 years, l worked nights and l constantly asked her to employ proper workman .we never knew what day he would turn up, and were never informed, she said he was an old friend and was cheap Even a year after moving , l cannot stand any building noise , because of the nightmare of living in that flat. He just fobbed of the environment health.
Ally - 11-Nov-20 @ 1:04 PM
Neighbours 3 doors up have a patch of land. They have goats, ducks, chickens. 2 of the birds hatched as cockerels.The earliest they start crowing in winter is 4.40am. In summer it was 3.30am and 11pm at night. I've spoken with the neighbour and she now puts them in a coop at night but you can still hear them. It was 5.40am they started today. Its causing terrible early mornings for us
Mary - 5-Nov-20 @ 7:30 AM
Have got the worst neighbours ever. Can’t even hear the tv, they are scaring my dog and have not even been around to apologise in advance. Really does not help you like them. The drilling sound beats any noise I have ever heard before and has given me such a bad headache......
Can’t hear myself th - 4-Nov-20 @ 3:00 PM
Hi there to all that are looking what to do I will copy an email I sent with help of my lawer and public servants to help you all. To whom it may concern, Following on from my previous phone call on the 1st October 2020, where a complaint was lodged with yourselfs in relation to your new tennents. I am forced to submit another complaint up holding further lesiglation. The noise has now continued to the stage it is affecting both my children. Under the noise act of 1996 this has now become a nuisance. This DIY construction has continued for now over a month and has progressively gotten worse, we are now experiencing loud noises and slamming after 1-2am, we are dealing with shouting excessive slamming banging and deliberate noise as of today after speaking to your tennents yesterday about there deliberate slamming of the close door shocking and scaring my 1 year old into tears due to this ANTI-SOCIAL Behaviour I am forced to submit this. Has now prompted the deliberate nuisance of noise they are creating. If this matter is not settled I will have to take further action as the safety and mentality of my children are now at risk. I do not wish to have to enforce the laws currently set but if my hand is forced I will be referring to both local council and my lawer. -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. -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. As I am sure you know and understand your regulatory standards for being the current standing agent I would like to make sure; All landlords should take reports of antisocial behaviour seriously. Although local authorities and housing associations may have more resources to deal with problems, private landlords must also take steps to address any difficulties. If private landlords do not respond to complaints of antisocial behaviour in relation to their tenants, occupiers or visitors to the property they own, the local authority can serve an antisocial behaviour notice (ASBN) on the landlord. An ASBN will set out steps that the landlord must take in order to tackle the antisocial behaviour. If the private landlord does not take these steps, the local authority can do a number of things, including obtaining a rent penalty order or a management control order. A rent penalty order means that no rent is payable on the property until the landlord addresses the problem of a
Patrick - 25-Oct-20 @ 11:03 AM
Hi there to all I have recently been housed in my own council flat under the COVID-19 act which I am very grateful for I have recently been housed in my own council flat under the COVID-19 act which I am very grateful for I am a very considerate person and do not like to disturb others to the extent that if I’m watching a movie with shooting or swordfights I am up and down turning the volume to make sure that the loud noises do not disturb my neighbours I’ve become very sensitive to noises myself in the thought that I am disturbing others however when I wake usually around midday or after I need a little bit of music to get rid of the cobwebs and the bad Demons in my head watching the level of music that I Play and my choice of music is quite subtle no headbanging no And the other day my neighbour came down to tell me that the bass was pounding into her living room I have my base stand all the way down on my device as it is quite sufficient enough without to the level that it is hardly considered to be pounding at all I would like a little bit more basing my music but because There are people living above and on one side of me I take into consideration that this can go through walls but I am certain that the level of base that I listen today certainly not enough to consider is pounding into the room When the people above had listened to music it overrode my music and their baseline was actually over riding into my music which I just enjoyed as it done a mix of it’s own After receiving this complaint it has made me very uncomfortable and on the day of it happening I had a nightmare which was very disturbing I have been told by one of the neighbours that the person who complained has always played the music really loud to the level that echoes in the neighbourhood so makes me wonder why is it good for the goose but not the gander After receiving this complaint it has made me very uncomfortable and on the day of it happening I had a nightmare which was very disturbing I have been told by one of the neighbours that the person who complained has always played the music really loud to the level that echoes in the neighbourhood so makes me wonder why is it good for the goose but not the gander I will not be bullied into silence as my mental health gets very affected and I don’t want to listen to my mind since I played some upbeat music usually some nice house music with vocals which are very calming but now it has turned into a bit of an uncomfortable this on my behalf I will not be bullied into silence as my mental health gets very affected and I don’t want to listen to my mind since I played some upbeat music usually some nice house music with good vocals which are very calming but now it has turned into a bit of a nerve in uncomfortableness on my behalfAs I stated the sounds of the music is usually midday to maximum 3 o’clock in the afternoon then I leave the house I’m hardly in doors and on other occasions when I am here but
Barda - 25-Oct-20 @ 10:59 AM
I live in a flat and have received a noise letter stating that my flat is cause of loud music during day and night. The only thing is firstly i work during the day so no music is played and secondly I have to work from home one night a week as a radio DJ host and any music I do play is rated at 72db as I’ve got soundproofing panels. Anyone tell me what I can do now
Fred - 24-Oct-20 @ 12:30 AM
I live in downstairs flat what it is the family above seem to always make a lot of noise after 7.00 at night they are quite during day but make a racot after that like washing machine going about after 8.30 then kids are banging crashing about screaming crying then there be drilling noises all hammer banging this sometimes after 9.45 noise sometimes don’t stop intill after 12 even kids still up. It just gets me cross because I have a son of my own and I’m trying to get him asleep at 7.00 especially after he had school he needs his sleep and loads noise going on above he gets upset because he’s tired want to get some sleep I have many times told them to be quiet sent letters but seem they just icnora them carry on please help me
Gem - 23-Oct-20 @ 9:26 PM
Had new neighbours this year.The DIY is never ending.The wife leaves and takes the yappy puppy with her whilst the husband is left with the DIY.Builders are not allowed to make noise after 6pm but there are no regulations for DIY.I am typing this with the hammer drill going and reverberating through my home.These are semi detached houses so there is just no getting away from it. I think DIYers should have to comply with the same regs as builders for the safety of the nation!
paulie - 22-Oct-20 @ 6:59 PM
We live in a ground floor flat & are experiencing noise from the flat above which is rented.We have had no problems with previous tenants who were very quiet all through lockdown.They constantly stamp across the floor & things are dragged & dropped across the whole flat.There is also a child up there who constantly runsaround all the time & the noise is horrendous.They don't walk across the floor they stamp & we have glass lamp shades on our ceiling which actually ping when this happens.I am at home a lot of the time & I am living on my nerves.My husband works hard & he has to come home to this noise which is not fair.We have complained on a couple of occasions & they said it is because the floors are spongy.Today my husband is going to make a official complaint to their landlord.
Just want some peace - 19-Oct-20 @ 8:36 AM
Living in a respectable neighbourhood with a family in a privately rented house. The problem is a generator runs to heat a hot tub from early evenings right through to early mornings. It’s vibrating inside four properties that I know of and the noise is piercing that much you can’t hear yourself think or sleep.
Jim - 18-Oct-20 @ 8:23 PM
I'm in a middle flat and during lockdown someone was housed above me. This person has friends round all hours any day of the week, the banging has drove me mad. I've been recording to the noise app, updated my landlord, had the police out 4 times and even went through community trigger, just to be told that apparently my landlord (housing association) have done enough. So I'm stuck here with this banging, spitting out of windows, incessant shouting. I've written to my MP but short of doing myself in I've lost the will to live. Does anyone have any advice? CAB also advised that it seems I've done all I can and if I'm struggling to find somewhere else.. I wish I could just go private.
Nuisance101 - 16-Oct-20 @ 5:17 AM
I am suffering from constant drilling and hammering all day long from a neughbour they never contact me they start when ever and when I am in bed I get no peace at all during the day I ave contacted council they are not interested at all because it's two private houses this as gone on for 5 months why do I pay council tax when there is no one to help I ave constant headache everyday I dread the next day
Julie - 12-Oct-20 @ 4:30 PM
Finished work got home at 11:30 heard loud music went to investigate, a man was asleep in his car with music on full blast knocked on his window 3 times before he heard me ,got out of his car and told me to ( used inappropriate language) am worried now that he might do damage to my car or property.
Barinder Atwal - 3-Oct-20 @ 12:25 AM
What should I do about my neighbour that shares a wall with my house and on Fridays and some days during the week they like to have music on Loud. I can still hear it and it's 6am other times 5am as I need to go to work and the family are still partying. Also another neighbour always shouting to her children who are under 18.. She uses every type of swear word with her children and when she's indoors or outdoors all the neighbours can actually hear her even from inside our houses. Sometimes there are arguments so none of the neighbours want to get involved but it's necessary to put an end to all this. We used to have respectful neighbours before them but now nobody wants to say much because of any type of arguments. Thank you for your advice
Ya - 26-Sep-20 @ 5:59 AM
We have a neighbour who seems to be addicted to hammers. He cannot go for one day without using one. The sound is so intrusive and insidious that it echoes through our house so much that I feel like they own our house as well as their own(although I don't know that they do own theirs)and the back bedroom has been untidy for months since they were working on that room the other side of that before so I didn't bother to tidy that up as I felt like the noise was so intrusive that they owned that room as well so I was waiting until I could have it back.It's random times of the day he starts and I'm starting to suffer health problems through lack of sleep from it and anxiety when he's going to start up again,and I have sleep problems already.I feel like I want to bash his head in with one. We had the same kind of neighbour where we lived before, that's why we moved and he's turned into the same person it seems. Council couldn't care less and are toothless and are of the opinion you can do what you want when you want for however long even if it's constant and incessant. My only hope is that they are doing this to sell up and move. But I'm not sure that's the case. Have decided that we're moving as soon as we can safely do so. I've gotten to the point now that I'll do what I want and make as much noise as I want when I want at any time and stuff what they might think or do. I have to laugh at people who call diy 'life improvement'...improve your life while destroying your neighbours lives.
Annabelle - 25-Sep-20 @ 11:57 AM
Hi, we got a neighbour who during lockdown bought a swimming pool. However the noise and humming of the pool pump is incessantly driving us nuts. It has taken away the tranquil of the neighbourhood also makes it difficult to fall asleep. Is there anything we can do?
Angelsing - 20-Sep-20 @ 2:59 PM
How do we make a complaint about family with banging our fence all the time with their toys Football banging
Sa - 13-Sep-20 @ 6:05 PM
After months of dealing with a self-centred neighbour who bangs doors and put her dogs out barking for hours, I’ve decided to get even. The authorities go out of their way to be obstructive and don’t enforce their own legally binding tenancy agreement. I purchased some ‘happy ears’ earplugs blocking out most noise so I get sleep. I get up at 7am and put my Sonos speakers in the bathroom facing neighbours bedroom wall and turn up the volume.
Dontgetmadgeteven - 11-Sep-20 @ 11:47 PM
I keep making complaints about the banging from my neighbour. We have a shared wall and they randomly bang it in a hammering kind of fashion. It can be a few times a day, or it might be only a few times a week. It's loud enough to wake me up but due to the short nature of the noise it's hard to record for the council noise app. Consequently I've been told the council can't do anything, so I must continue to lose sleep until what? I can no longer do my night job? My health gets even worse? All because my inconsiderate neighbours have some need to bang on the walls throughout the day. Can anyone offer any advice?
CoisyNuntingNeighbou - 11-Sep-20 @ 12:51 PM
Our neighbours do DIY basicaly anytime and it's always against our dividing wall. Hammering, slamming doors, slamming boards, masonry drilling, sanding cutting.You name it, any time from 6pm to 4am. The council has made them stop so now it's only until 10pm - Yayy!Lucky us hey!30 mins relaxation before bed if we're lucky, if we're not listening to them slam doors all night chain smoking. It hasn't really stopped since they moved in 17 years ago but since lockdown it's REALLY gone up a notch.I don't understand what there is left to do in the house?Since March they've had a new kitchen, bathroom, new ceilings ( I assume new floor boards) they've messed up their decking which they cannot even walk on without it slamming and now they are having new wardrobes throughout and apprently converting their attic. We don't get a single peaceful evening.Council are useless. Apparently "it's part and parcel of living on an estate, in a terraced house" and "they've been asked to stop".Neighbourhood support will not even enter the house to record the noise.. I cannot talk to either of them, it came to blows over a football being hammered against the doors and windows day and night a few years ago.I've just had a gutsful.No one is willing to help one bit. They're banging and hammering again as we speak.I have no option but to move.
TiredNFedup - 10-Sep-20 @ 6:35 PM
Living in apartments can be hell these days. Because of how apartments are you can hear noise from a variety of other rooms if they have their windows and doors open. Here there are different blocks. Getting increasingly fed up with the people who play music with so much bass. If I can close all my windows and doors and still hear it then that's too loud. Happens everyday now at 6pm onwards. I know that's probably a decent time to do it and doesn't disturb sleep but after working all day you just want to relax. People can do whatever they want but not if it disturbs other people. Too many different apartments here don't seem to understand that. I can't even see who is causing the noise sometimes which means it could be from a different block, yet it can still be heard. Such a shame. Was so peaceful first 2 years living here but this culture of being loud has sadly crept it here.
Loud people - 10-Sep-20 @ 6:19 PM
We have a neighbour next door who has dogs which run about all day barking and the neighbour plays music too which don’t really bother me, but what gets my back up when the neighbour wants quiet time we all have to be quiet and if you make any noise she is the first to complain.... Well this week enough was enough this week, she was out in garden shed running on treadmill playing music which I could hear through my closed window , so I played some music in doors to drown out the noise coming from them, later that day I receive a complaint via face book about my music apparently keeping her 2 and half year old waken from his afternoon nap ….. long story short ,I knock on the neighbours door and confronted them which got a bit heated …. Hopefully now they will be more considerate !
Jamie - 10-Sep-20 @ 7:33 AM
I live few doors down, there’s Guyanese men living together they have no respect in the neighborhood they moved on the block Just 1 year ago and they play their music starting at 5:30-6:30pm until 3-5am I don’t understand why nobody called the police I wonder did they do a craft on the people or said something frightening to them ??????? It’s crazy and frustrating I’m a Nurse I want sleep ??.
Blessed - 6-Sep-20 @ 6:55 AM
I have 2 shops - next door to each other. A gym moved in next to us. Constant noiseand vibration from dropping heavy weights etc. Runs across both of my shops. This is in a town centre location. Looks like I need to find new premises, can’t cope with the noise and headaches
Patty - 4-Sep-20 @ 12:17 PM
Just noticed on my last comment I put noise was 6am to 4am when I meant to put 6pm to 4am loud music was on. See it's frazzled my brain all this torture.
Fedup - 30-Aug-20 @ 4:29 PM
Last night I had to put up with loud music people shouting above the music from 6am until 4am. I called police to be told the power was taken out of their hands and all I got was sorry for what your going through. They told me I need to contact the housing place in which on a bank holiday weekend are closed so not helpful at all at the time it's happening. My husband had word with guy outside who lives in the house only for him to say why haven't you come round a told me before erm hello this is covid times and why would I subject myself to the risk of that while they are blatantly spreading it around but husband said I am telling you about the music now. Well the music got turned up . I even said to police I feel suicidal at times and lack of sleep makes me I'll. I need my 8 hours. It's time the police were able to come out when noone from housing office. The app housing office tell you to use is rubbish and anything you record without the noisy neighbours knowledge cannot be used against them , they have to be told by housing first which makes no sense to me at all. The law seems to be protect the culprits and punish the victims. It all about human rights for the culprits but what about the human rights of the victims. This country is screwed up no wonder mental health are over run these days. Them that don't go to doctors about anything suffer in silence.
Fedup - 30-Aug-20 @ 12:39 PM
I moved into my rented flat in January and THOUGHT it was a quiet home; I WAS partially deaf due to double ear infection... Now the noise is making me want to pack up and leave! There is a couple with SIX children in the one bedroom flat above! During the day I accept there will be running and playing and during the pandemic I appreciate that children are at home and get bored etcetera... But the jumping and running goes on until midnight most nights! I knocked at 1.00am one time. After speaking through the door for a couple of minutes, he eventually opened the door and said he was sorry... He then pointed to a child of no more than 6 years old, shrugged and said "It's..." I was flabbergasted! I replied "Well yes mate, but it's one in the morning!" Within a few minutes it DID go quiet... Every single night it is the same... Running, thudding etc and I have ended up thudding on the ceiling on several occasions. Myself and my fiance came very close to booking into a hotel one night and many tears have been shed... I have now written a letter going over my visit at 1.00am and asking them again to be considerate. I even say that maybe they are NOT aware of how bad the noise is, and offer to let them come into our flat whilst their children run about upstairs, so that they can hear for themselves. I have also said that I do not WANT to put in a written complaint to their landlord, but if they do nor show consideration I will have no other choice... What more CAN I do? I love my little flat. I am disabled and really do not want to have to move again!
unicorn69 - 28-Aug-20 @ 8:44 PM
I am in disbelief regarding the impact of the noise from my neighbours and how inconsiderate they are. I also must have missed something - lockdown equals- let’s play drum and base as loud as we can - argue - scream and shout in a terraced house with no sound proofing and don’t forget be just as loud in the garden playing music so loud that the neighbours fence and floor tiles vibrate. Working and living next to a disfunctional family has been horrific - I have received verbal abuse and threatened when asking if the music could be turned down ... I can hear simple conversations through the party wall which they are aware of- so imagine the impact of music and arguing. I for one do not want to hear the music, constant slamming of the front door which shakes the walls and can be heard upstairs at the back of my house or the fights or be forced to be part of the neighbours family yet I have no way out. The police have been called the council been contacted ...... I cannot put sound proofing in as this would require a refit of the house and i already have the cost of cctv as advised by the police. I have to live with my neighbours screaming Alexa and now just because it wasn’t mad enough a door bell has been installed by the neighbours which I can hear in my kitchen...... all that needed to happen was for the neighbours to turn the volume down and improve their communication skills to stop shouting and so the community do not know the ins and outs of their business and can I can work, hear and focus on my remote meetings and live in peace and they can crack on with their business without me knowing. How can councils leave residents with loss of agency declining mental health and Wellbeing
Broken biscuit - 27-Aug-20 @ 9:52 PM
Neighbours being noisy and inconsiderate. I have to get up at 5 am to work, I go to bed at 10:30pm and have asked the neighbours to keep the noise down between those hours, I have written to them as well, they continue to have guests staying there overnight every night and I’m sure they are dealing drugs as the go out every 10 mins for a short period of time between the hours of 6:20pm and 5am hey know I have mental health as well and I struggle to sleep, they just don’t care!!!
Melaelliott2018 - 21-Aug-20 @ 1:09 PM
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