Home > Rights > Your Rights Under the Noise Act 1996

Your Rights Under the Noise Act 1996

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 7 Feb 2024 | 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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I am in a very similar situation to a lot of people on this thread. I am in a middle flat between two families. Downstairs don’t teach their 3 boys any manners and they’re allowed to kick footballs around their flat all day while screaming at each other. Upstairs are worse- they don’t work and let their children slam doors and stomp and run around all day. Constantly arguing one minute and then laughing hysterically the next. I have contacted noise pollution over the course of 1.5 years and upstairs have had 3 abatement warnings however they cannot be evicted as they have ‘children’ I am now back on the housing list under band 1 priority for harassment but it took a lot to get me here. Don’t give up!
Sharan - 7-Feb-24 @ 3:35 PM
It is obvious that with the unravelling of our society, lack of clarity around values and accepted customs is causing friction and disturbances in communities up and down the country. If you live in a non detached premises you have to compromise and be flexible around others. That means being reasonable and dynamic, how much noise or a nuisance are you making?.... In any case, moving is often a temporary solution as you can simply import yourself into the same situation elsewhere. There are many arrogant and entitled families everywhere who should be in detached homes where their noise cannot affect others but many are in cheaper social housing where management of young kids is difficult or non existent. To anyone serious about escaping problem families, I would recommend moving to a better area and ideally remortgaging or renting a detached home. It may cost more but the quality of life improvement and quietness will be surely worth it.
Agma - 17-Jan-24 @ 7:53 AM
I purchased a noise revenge of ebay cost £81 worked at low setting two runs of 10min and worked.
James - 15-Jan-24 @ 8:20 PM
For over 1 year, every few weeks, the fire panel starts beeping loudly throughout the night. It's located in the communal area just across my flat's entry door. Each time it starts in the evening and doesn't stop until noon next day. It's unbearable and of course no sleep. The agency I'm renting from are not doing anything to fix the situation. Looking for any solution or suggestions!
Smunteanu - 3-Jan-24 @ 10:26 PM
I ve had Scottish neighbours for the last 5 years. A single mum with 3 daughters, 2 adults and 1 in high school. They are on benefits, they live on 130 square meters. They have everything for free. They disturb us in the nights and sleep until afternoons as they have nothing to do. They started to bring boyfriends home, they shout, have sex all the time and they don't care about anything. No responsibilities. We work and we are extremely tired. We work for public sector and we can't even rest in our own home which we paid of with hard work. And we are foreigners. I am starting to dislike this country and its social policies which destroyed people will to work, involvement in community and justice.Please don't blame foreign for being difficult as
Grik - 26-Dec-23 @ 11:35 PM
We live in the home of our dreams, we bought it 2 years ago and have been really happy here. A year ago, our neighbours moved out and the new owner rented the place to a crazy couple with 6 (yes 6) children under 7 y/o to say it’s been hell is an understatement. The mother is south American and keeps screaming to the kids in Spanish at all hours. The kids jump, run, kick walls, cry, scream and fight amongst themselves non stop day and night. There’s no routine in the household and the children are up until midnight screaming and running every night. We tried to talk to the husband and he said “he’s too busy making money (he stated he’s very rich) and that they’re just kids” the landlord won’t do a thing. The mother screams at me and my husband whenever she sees us …. It’s a nightmare!I’ve lost faith in humanity and feel completely hopeless
Lisa - 21-Dec-23 @ 6:04 PM
Looking for advice please. Just got new neighbours. They have multiple cars n vans which they park across my gates, I've since bought a sign which I've put on gates. They have a child who SCREAMS all day. Then late at night anywhere between 8 PM and1 AM they decide its a great time to hoover, drill, sand, hammer etc. Now I am an understanding person and I get kids make noise but the DIY at that hour I think is ridiculous. 11.45 PM last week they were banging, hammering and drilling. Would anyone else be frustrated with this situation???? How would you deal with it. Plus am not well either amd need rest had surgery so could do with out having to listen to make shift building site at night when trying get to sleep. TIA
Can't ?? - 18-Dec-23 @ 9:45 PM
4-5years ago an Indian family has moved in our building . They live above our flat . They are those terrible noisy neighbours that no one wants them around . We called the police, we called the council, we spoke to them, we gave them a letter… no one has done anything. They said that they can do whatever they want .
Anita - 4-Dec-23 @ 7:18 PM
My neighbour smokes weed to the point it comes through the walls and smells my house out they shout and play loud music I can hear their conversation word for word. Is there anything I can do as getting to my wors end.
Krrymarie - 29-Nov-23 @ 10:17 PM
My partner and I moved into a ground floor flat in April. The neighbours upstairs pay no attention to their bins or garden which is a total mess. From am to pm and well into the early hours of the morning they argue to the point I've called the police.They slam doors , shout, play computer games on full volume and their youngest runs and stamps until 3am they also have two dogs that bark all day. Since I've called the police the woman wouldn't make a statement for domestic violence and had her partner back two days later. But I am too nervous to say anything incase they turn on me. They rent the property but would the landlord inform them that me and my partner have said something?
TM - 2-Aug-23 @ 3:52 PM
We've had a family of Hong Kongers next door for the past 18 months. They have 3 children under 8 yes. They are so loud, they constantly shout, the house is a rental too. We discussed with the owners the problem with 'thin' walls and they said they'd vet the new tenants carefully. What a joke! I've been round twice to ask politely to keep the noise down but they won't come to the door. I've been in touch with the Agents, they want us to keep a diary, so we've recorded hours of the din. The owners don't seem to care, they've also been onto the Agents but nothing has happened. We're in our 60s, we've been here 40 years. How sad that there's nothing that can be done. We're going to have to move. Our blood pressure ishigh too. Laws need to change regarding neighbours like this if causes a lot of ill feeling.I'll keep at it though, I'm furious!
Gel - 16-Jul-23 @ 11:02 AM
Neighbour bought house a year ago. Got planning permission for extension . We had building site for a year drilling for a year etc. He also built a nightclub in garden. For last two months we've had loud music upto 3:00am from this garden. Also all day weekends and the speakers are professional and the bass sounds travel 100 yards and our house vibrates. Police visited him several times he just doesn't care. Bexley council have done nothing. I reported it 29 times. A solute vile family . On top of all this they breed litters of expensive pups and all we have is howling and scratching all the time aswell. They really would win Britain's worst neighbours Imagine no peace ever and never being able to sleep as all you can hear and feel are the boom boom boom bass thudding noises upto 3:00am. No one will help and I'm trying my best not to do something I might regret
DistressedOfSidcup - 27-May-23 @ 8:10 PM
Hi can anyone help me with who can assist me writing a letter of complaint to a landlord? I'm in Scotland. Had an issue with noisy neighbour, same landlord for 4 years. The person has been spoke to several times but noise just start again after a few days. The last 9 months have been the worst. We both signed agreement and I feel this person is breaching it by having no respect. I feel it's intentional. My health is suffering with the severe stress and lack of sleep. Noise goes onto 3/4 am every night. I'm at my wit's end. Not sure my rights nor what to write in my complaint. Thanks
Kaz_kat - 9-May-23 @ 3:02 PM
I have a noisy neighbour in the ground floor flat who's been there now since February and every single night since then she has done nothing but slam her inside doors over and over. It's not just once or twice, it's constant and it goes on for practically the whole evening. I have been woken up by her doing this during the night and the early hours of the morning and I'm up at 5.30 am! I'm really angry about it and decided to write to her landlord, who privately owns the flat. It's not making any difference though. I even got the council involved and they wrote a letter to her but I'm thinking that won't make her stop either. I'm so tired of it and don't know what else to do.
chris - 18-Apr-23 @ 8:29 AM
Our neighbour plays the piano. When she is not playing, her children do ... We live in an old terrace house and it’s affecting our health. To the point where we are considering selling up and moving away.We feel like we are being driven out of our home. There seems to be no respect or empathy for other people. Just selfish, rude individuals. Very sad times
Fed up - 19-Mar-23 @ 2:09 PM
I moved into an end of terrace cottage in mid 2022, my only neighbour at first was a solo Indian woman that worked locally for the NHS who was quiet and solo like me. She moved out at Christmas, then late January 2023 new Indians moved in but this time they were a family and they're on social and none of them work. The child is loud, always crying or running upstairs. I sent them an angry note one day because I was woken up on a Saturday, since then it has got better but I don't talk to them now, I just want them to leave. They are reclusive and have no intention of integrating into the local area, but unless they do something wrong repeatedly then I'm just going to have to wait and hope they move out and get sick of the isolation. They are renting and I've got a mortgage on mine, I just hope if they leave the next tenant will be better than they are and not even worse!
A - 16-Mar-23 @ 7:44 PM
In practice very few abatement orders are made in my area and that's straight from the Head of Housing. My next door neighbour is directing some kind of low frequency hissing sounds through the walls but turns it off when we have visitors, as it's just me and a 81 year old in the property no one else hears it so nothing meaningful done. Microphone installed while the neighbour in, no noise. He lets them in a year later at the second visit and acts plausible, no one going to start moving furniture or lifting floorboards to disprove it as he owns his home. Well on the way to going crazy with this predicament.
John - 7-Feb-23 @ 7:16 PM
Help please, the neighbour has done DIY for 5 years, not kidding, i have it all recorded, noise and i mean, hammerdrill, local council done nothing, i have to put my dog outside as he shakes. and the neighbour is vile.
- - 27-Jan-23 @ 5:56 PM
I live opposite my sister and brother in law on a terraced street.Every morning he leaves for work a 03:30 am, which isnt a problem, however he has a boy racer type car with a massive exhaust and a loud stereo.I havent slept from 03:30 for around a month.Its awkward to confront them as they are not the most reasonable of people.Are we within our rights to ask him to park his car out of the street and on the hill where there are no houses?
andi - 24-Jan-23 @ 3:31 PM
I practice it is impossible to bring the legislation into effect.Council as Landlord points the Tenant to its Agent.The Agent then , effectively,. is incapable of getting noise stopped.
Sabash - 18-Nov-22 @ 11:28 AM
Empty bins ,filling up,confront you don't answer.had earpiece recorded whole thing.police called out.using rigging to say people simple,police can't proof it nonsense.wouldn't give people forms if that was truth.banging around.no one acts like this who is normal minded.under mental health act can be cautioned.severally disturbed people do this who should be committed.report it anyway.
Vice - 11-Sep-22 @ 2:52 PM
I live in a duplex next to a guy who continually plays his music extremely loud...enought to make the floors and walls vibrate and me not be able to sleep. I call the police about twice a week as when I ask him to turn it down he cranks it up, then turns it down then cranks it up again and so on. He has even stood outside my house after the police left and said"call the cops on me again a d see what happens you stupid f' ing b....h". I have repeatedly told the landlord that he frightens me and she will not do a thing. She told me just today that I should not irritate him and this wouldn't happen. I do not speak to him at all. I am a single woman and stopped speaki g to him right after I moved in in November2022 after he git in my face when I asked him to move his truck out from in front of my door (as advised by owner /landlord mind you). What are my rights and what is the owner/landlords responsibility? I live in Oregon if that matters.
Fed up - 21-Aug-22 @ 12:22 AM
I have new neighbours that have moved into the flat directly above mine. They stomp around, bang theirs doors all day, let their kids run back and forth on the uncarpeted floors and do DIY up until the early hours. I have had the council fit a microphone (which the neighbours do not know about) and have recorded some decent examples of noise. I am a single mum with a young autistic son so am worried about next steps but I physically can’t take this much longer
Shabs - 18-Aug-22 @ 2:21 PM
I have a neighbour who threatens me if I make any noise at all after 11pm. I live alond and make very little noise. I recently noticed that my washing was still on the line at midnight - I went out to bring it in as it looked as if it might rain. He threatened to kill me if I made his dog bark after 11pm again. I know it must be annoying to be woken up by you dog at midnight but his response was OTT and scary.
lolly - 1-Aug-22 @ 9:43 PM
Hi, so we just moved into a really nice place. Thing is, it's on top of a pub. Weknew this going in. Also,there's a nightclub & and a restaurant or something next to that. These two aren't an issue whatsoever. It's the pub beneath us that is the problem. I understood when told by the landlord that there would be music more often than not, but she said it would be at normal decibels, like it was when we came to view the place. We were fine with that.But since we've moved in Mon-Sun ( especially Fri-Sun ) right at 10:45pm the music goes up as loud as they can get it, and worse is the bass. We try to go upstairs to get away from it, but can't. This goes on well into 3am at weekends.I would think they would do all of that during the day, not right at bedtime.????? We've spoken with the owner about the bass. Everyone was cordial on both sides. We don't want them to not play their music, but do we need to vibrate? And does it need to be during the time of night when we're trying to sleep?Anyway, since we even said anything, now they're making a point to not play music at all during the day, but will turn it on and way up with bass when it's time for us to sleep and are thumping their ceilings, if when were home during the day. I genuinely don't understand these people, but the council is about to know about all of this.
Fed Up - 25-Jul-22 @ 2:05 AM
I have neighbours who have 4 very loud cockerels right under my bedroom window. They start crowing at 5am until 9/10pm at night. My council has been out, I’ve provided times, videos and because they didn’t crow the day he came out to investigate (20 minutes) they say nothing can be done. I can’t open my windows at night because they wake me and my family up. If anyone reads this and has any advice as to what I can do next, it would be massively helpful.
Pitch5 - 15-Jul-22 @ 9:42 AM
I have a neighbour who is in her 80s. She has full capacity.She is very aggressive towards me. She has shouted at me. Called me a slut a bitch. I hang my washing out yesterday.Went round my daughters came back to find my washing had been taken off the line and thrown by my door. She came out was very violent towards me. I have rang the police on three actions. I am fed up with it now. I am scared to sit on the step outside my flat or peg my washing out now. Also a few weeks ago she tried to kick my door down. I am at my wits end with her. I have never said anything bad to her always been kind and helpful. Now I am to scared to leave my flat.
Gwen - 11-Jul-22 @ 2:32 AM
After having a microphone from the council for a week(which they inform the neighbours about) we had a mostly quiet week with some noise. Recorded a good few dozen examples only for the council to state it's not enough to be considered a nuisance. The sudden loud wall taps, door slams, max volume door bell, and other knocking and banging sounds have plagued me for years, leaving me sleep deprived and slowly worsening physical and mental health. Yet there seems to be nothing that can be done.
Joe - 28-May-22 @ 7:29 PM
My neighbour empties their inside bins and recycling into their bins every night between 11:30pm-2:30am. I won’t go into why my neighbour does that just that it’s done so no one sees. They stop after getting a letter from our local council environmental team for a few weeks and then they start again.
Blakey - 24-May-22 @ 10:05 AM
I'm dealing with an elderly deaf neighbour who turns on the tv full blast at different intervals day and night..I wouldn't wish my situation on anyone
Lana - 11-May-22 @ 12:10 AM
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