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Using Loudspeakers at Home

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 17 Jun 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Using Loudspeakers In Residential Areas

The use of loudspeakers and the music that accompanies them are often one of the biggest causes of neighbourhood disputes. Unlike the noise from parties, where loud music is usually played for a set time period, some people think that music can be played as loud as they want it to be, no matter what time of day or night it is.

The Law

People who like to play their music loud will often get into arguments with their neighbours as they might also claim they should be able to enjoy their leisure time in the way they choose without interference, especially if it’s at a reasonable hour, say, in the afternoon.

However, while this is true in principle, the law firmly comes down on the side of those who wish to be protected from excessive noise under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, The Noise Act 1996 and the Common Law of Nuisance. If you refuse to reduce the volume, both the Environment Health Department and the police can get involved, and it will be them who will determine whether the Noise Exceeds Legal Limits.

Environmental Health has the power to issue you with an abatement order to reduce the volume and, if you do not comply, the police can also take matters further. You could end up with an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) which can result in even harsher penalties if you break it.

How to Reduce the Impact From Loudspeakers

Quite often, you can prevent problems arising with your neighbours over your use of loudspeakers in the first place by taking some simple precautionary steps. These can include situating any loudspeakers away from adjoining partition walls, or there are acoustic mats you can buy if they’re floor standing speakers. Even suspending them from the ceiling can help.

Using several smaller speakers such as you’d find on the latest surround sound systems will also have a far less negative impact upon your neighbour’s experience, as opposed to using a couple of extremely large and powerful ones. This is because these smaller speakers can be strategically placed around a room, so you’ll often get the same amount of ‘noise satisfaction’ yourself without upsetting your neighbours.

Much of the annoyance comes from the bass control. While you might be sat in your house enjoying the music pumping out, all your neighbours might hear is the ‘thud thud’ of the bass, so turning the bass control down can often help.

Another useful resolution is to find out when you neighbour will to be out, and blast your music louder during those times. This compromise is often welcomed and respected so that the music is turned down when the neighbour returns home.

Loudspeakers and Business in Residential Areas

There are other laws pertaining to the use of loudspeakers if you’re operating a business within a residential area. It could be a pub or some other premises used for entertainment, the use of loudspeakers on cars during election rallies, and even the ice cream van’s chimes. All of these examples aren’t immune to the law. Therefore, if you do operate a business in a residential area, it’s important you find out what you can and cannot do as it specifically relates to your type of business.

If you’re a resident, you’ll need to consider your neighbours and, better still, if you simply can’t reach an agreement with them in terms of how loud is acceptable, buy yourself a pair of headphones. There are even some great cordless models these days which you can use to pump out the music at whatever volume you choose. This sound will go wherever you go, even as far as the garden and beyond in some cases, and these can often be synchronised with additional headphones so that more than one person can enjoy the same experience simultaneously.

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I would be interested in views. We live in a converted block of flats where sound insularion is poor. The building dates from 1870. We have a downstairs neighbour who complains very aggressively and at length over small sounds such as floorboards creaking, and in particular over any music we play. We've switched off the subwoofer and never play music louder than you can comfortably talk over. We have tried reasoning with them but to no avail. It is making my partner miserable, who feels intimidated by the couple and feels she has to creep around avoiding making any noise. They never complain if they know that I'm at home. We value our and our neighbours' rights and have never had such a problem before. It is becoming bad enough that we are considering moving. Any suggestions or advice?
Agvolant - 17-Jun-16 @ 11:59 AM
lala - Your Question:
I have just read the message what mandy has written (29th april 9.30am) and I am totally in awe with her situation as I thought I was the only one!! I was afraid to come forward with this complaint as I thought I would sound like a raving lunatic.I have also been having the exact same experience with my neighbours now with the same symptoms that has been escalating now over 5 years.my additional problems associated now are - my neighbours listen to everything im planning and act up to ruin things for me and my family,i am stalked by her and other family members no matter where I go in my house for example when I do my housework I go into my kitchen.she follows.I open my back door to get some fresh air.she will open her back door and creeps around the back of my garden to spy on me (my dog is very anxious and runs/looks to the back of my garden).I have a bath and neighbours bathroom door will slam shut.I could go on.its literally EVERYTHING im doing she seems to try and control??I have spoken to her and she has blatently denied what im asking her about as if to say im making it up and her mother has responded in the same way(who is often there).I have a little boy who is 6 years old who now suffers with anxiety.often gets physically sick with worry as the atmosphere is often so tense you cant move for fear of causing her to kick off.thease kind of things include stomping around her house,her dogs barking at I assume us inside our house as their is no other reason for them to be barking.or plungeing her house into complete silence so quiet for sometimes hours until she feels I am paying attention to her drama??I am finding it very hard to keep mentally ontop of it all as its constant.she never lets up.why the hell should I live this way?? all I want to do is live a happy normal life without being provoked in my home.and the worst thing is the more I ignore the worse its getting its crazy.who are thease people and who the hell do they think they are??I have tried everything to resolve this but she will often play the victim.she has never worked and never leaves the house unattended and will often stare at me if I do see her out (very rarely)I feel she is obsessed with me and I feel watched wherever I go/whatever I do while I am indoors its awful.Have you had any other response to your write up mandy?? I would love to discuss with you your problem as I know what you are going through

Our Response:
We can't see Mandy's post anywhere?
ProblemNeighbours - 29-Apr-16 @ 12:15 PM
I have just read the message what mandy has written (29th april 9.30am) and I am totally in awe with her situation as I thought I was the only one!! I was afraid to come forward with this complaint as I thought I would sound like a raving lunatic. I have also been having the exact same experience with my neighbours now with the same symptoms that has been escalating now over 5 years...my additional problems associated now are - my neighbours listen to everything im planning and act up to ruin things for me and my family,i am stalked by her and other family members no matter where I go in my house for example when I do my housework I go into my kitchen....she follows...I open my back door to get some fresh air...she will open her back door and creeps around the back of my garden to spy on me (my dog is very anxious and runs/looks to the back of my garden)...I have a bath and neighbours bathroom door will slam shut.....I could go on...its literally EVERYTHING im doing she seems to try and control?? I have spoken to her and she has blatently denied what im asking her about as if to say im making it up and her mother has responded in the same way(who is often there)....I have a little boy who is 6 years old who now suffers with anxiety...often gets physically sick with worry as the atmosphere is often so tense you cant move for fear of causing her to kick off...thease kind of things include stomping around her house,her dogs barking at I assume us inside our house as their is no other reason for them to be barking...or plungeing her house into complete silence so quiet for sometimes hours until she feels I am paying attention to her drama?? I am finding it very hard to keep mentally ontop of it all as its constant....she never lets up....why the hell should I live this way?? all I want to do is live a happy normal life without being provoked in my home...and the worst thing is the more I ignore the worse its getting its crazy.....who are thease people and who the hell do they think they are?? I have tried everything to resolve this but she will often play the victim...she has never worked and never leaves the house unattended and will often stare at me if I do see her out (very rarely) I feel she is obsessed with me and I feel watched wherever I go/whatever I do while I am indoors its awful. Have you had any other response to your write up mandy?? I would love to discuss with you your problem as I know what you are going through
lala - 28-Apr-16 @ 8:21 AM
lovethyneighbour - Your Question:
I live in a dead-end where the single access lane is owned by an elderly neighbour, she has let the lane deteriorate to worse than any country lane you may come across, with marshy central part and craters either side that allow the build up of water and leaves. I go out there to sweep leaves and occasionally put gravel down, she objects to this and purposely scatters the leaves everywhere, and when clumped together and frozen are dangerous. She now has CCTV to capture me attending to the lane and has had a Solicitor write to me telling me to stop, surely I'm aloud to (for my own safety and others) keep the lane safe and tidy.

Our Response:
What are the terms of your deeds? If the lane is for access, there may be some conditions about keeping the access open and who is responsible for maintaining it etc. You may want to seek the help of a solicitor yourself if this causes damage to you or your vehicle.
ProblemNeighbours - 23-Feb-16 @ 12:10 PM
I live in a dead-end where the single access lane is owned by an elderly neighbour, she has let the lane deteriorate to worse than any country lane you may come across, with marshy central part and craters either side that allow the build up of water and leaves. I go out there to sweep leaves and occasionally put gravel down, she objects to this and purposely scatters the leaves everywhere, and when clumped together and frozen are dangerous. She now has CCTV to capture me attending to the lane and has had a Solicitor write to me telling me to stop, surely I'm aloud to (for my own safety and others) keep the lane safe and tidy.
lovethyneighbour - 22-Feb-16 @ 11:04 AM
stargazer - Your Question:
Can I sue my neighbours for the cost of moving?

Our Response:
Why?
ProblemNeighbours - 6-Oct-15 @ 12:54 PM
Can i sue my neighbours for the cost of moving?
stargazer - 5-Oct-15 @ 3:55 PM
@Nisa. There's not much you can do about this kind of behaviour except it it gets worse, go back to the police as it's more of a harrassment issue than anything else. If they make further racist comments then of course report this to the police immediately.
ProblemNeighbours - 9-Mar-15 @ 2:21 PM
Hi! I've recently moved into a cul de sac, assuming it's quiet end and moving to it, to my horror I realised my NEIGHBOURS have a problem with my lifestyle! I am a very respectable woman who is a single mum with a 4 year old, my neighbours have called me a prostitute infront of her children, her husband asked me how much my services cost! They are affixated with the whereabouts of my ex husband! She has told me I am a tart not wearing a niqab and disrespecting her religion, which is also my religion! Her husband has threaded to run me over etc this lists endless. However, the police have advised me to ignore them :/she had a problem with me putting up my CCTV and has gone around the cul de sac to get the other residence to complain ( my cams are not pointing ones property but my car and the drive! Any help, suggestions in what I can do would be appreciated. Thanks Nisa
Nisa - 5-Mar-15 @ 1:25 PM
@bert. You can continue to cut back any overhanging branches. If the trees cause serious structural damage to your fence, then you can ask the neigbour to contribute towards the cost of repair. Their insurance policy may cover this. As for the rubbish, you can try your environmental health officer. If they consider the problem to be serious enough, they have the power to force them to clean up.
ProblemNeighbours - 6-Feb-15 @ 10:34 AM
our neighbor has tall trees along our boundary about 60ft long we have politely ask them over the last two years to trim the trees as they are now pushing the fence out to the point the panels are about to give way and snap at points along the boundary I do cut back the overhang but they have now grown too high for me to reach using a ladder and pole, we don't really want to fall out with our neighbor but he has now started storing rubbish from his work and the ongoing work to there house next to our garage at the front but not against it, and along the fence line. It has been piled up there now for about five months, I would not mind so much but there are three adults with two cars and a van between them and we live a ten minute drive from the council tip, can we ask the council to look at the rubbish situation without notifying the neighbor that the complaint came from us?
bert - 2-Feb-15 @ 7:29 PM
@fenda. The council are correct. Contact the owner of the sheltered accommodation that you are living in and ask them if they can do something about it.
ProblemNeighbours - 8-Jan-15 @ 11:49 AM
I am having a problem I live in sheltered acc and someone is using my garden as a toilet Dogs It is disgusting I have reported it to the counil and the police and need to put up a cctv and the council say i can only put it pointing down to my door step Useless they say i have to ask the neighbours All i want isto put it in the window facing the garden to catch the person Who is right I am an disabled older lady and it is making me ill plus the council would charge me to have it removed help
fenda - 6-Jan-15 @ 3:33 PM
@Em. Sorry to hear about your situation...we's love to hear what you've tried and what has/has not worked.
ProblemNeighbours - 26-Aug-14 @ 11:54 AM
OMG!!! I am leaving a comment in response to MANDY who left a message at 9.30 on 29th April 2013. I am so relieved that I am not alone I am going through the exact same thing except it has been going on now for almost 3 years!! And I have tried every avenue to have this stopped to no avail it's bloody ridiculous that we can't do a damn thing about it. My advice is move and try to move ASAP these people are control freaks and it will only get worse the more you try to ignore it why the hell should our quality of life be less in the hands of someone else. What happened to Human Rights!! Disgusting people.
Em - 26-Aug-14 @ 7:43 AM
We've been having problems with our neighbour blasting music through our walls for some time now. We have had the council involved and they sent an officer around. The neighbours were sent a letter and were spoken to and the noise died down for a while. Its come back again...worse! Our biggest problem is that we want to sell the house but are afraid we're going to get tied up in legal procedings. Besides who would want to buy a house with noisy neighbours? We feel trapped, depressed and sick. We have tried speaking to the neighbours in a friendly manner and were promptly told where to go rather profanely. Any advice would be so appreciated.TY :)
Jewels^ - 25-May-14 @ 2:46 PM
@mandy, 1. Go to the council page and make a formal complaint. 2. Second, try to get advice from Citizen's Advice Bureau, though they seem to be less effective than they used to. 3. Call the police if you feel you can't stand it.
Y - 2-Aug-13 @ 5:29 PM
my grandson uses weights in my garage and has music on loud to help motivate him, during the day while people are at work my next door nabour keeps telling him to turn it down as he the rite as its only for about half an hour
gracy - 11-Jul-13 @ 1:42 PM
For the past few weeks I have been driven mad by some gadget or other my neighbour is using, I`m feeling a vibration, odd pressure in my chest and tingling in my hands, some static-like shocks, my ears are ringing and, having previously been feeling fine, I become fearful and anxious for no apparent nor logical reason. The neighbours are very unapproachable and blatantly ignore me knocking on their door, they are driving me out of my mind and, though I`m reluctant to say this, it seems deliberate. I don`t know them, have not had any kind of run in with them nor would I even recognise them in the street! I would be very grateful for any advice or suggestions, what should I do?
mandy - 29-Apr-13 @ 9:30 AM
I would like to know how to word a short letter to neighbours to explain my son is having a 18th party at home and there might be some noise.
kez - 10-Jan-12 @ 3:13 PM
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