Home > Rights > Your Rights Under the Noise Act 1996

Your Rights Under the Noise Act 1996

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 4 Dec 2023 | 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.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
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
I have read a few story from other here and it's so frustrating living in your home, a place which should be safe and relaxing but is spoilt by inconsiderate people. I have been dealing with noisy neighbours who turn their music on as early as 9 in the morning and you're constant hearing loud foot bangin. Sadly, a wall seperates the two house so you never know when you get back home from work it will be a quiet peace relaxing evening or a back and forth next door to turn it down. Phoned the police won't do anything and the landlords housing association is a pain to get through to. Dire times. Hope we can all find peace in our own homes, we don't ask for much. Just a basic right!
Bob - 5-Apr-22 @ 7:00 PM
Two and a half years ago I started really noticing that my upstairs neighbour had a fixation on me. It started of by her placing an alarm on the floor that would go off every morning ar 3am and stopped at 8am, this went on for 6 months, then she has her 14 year old son kicking down my front door this has been going on for more than two years, no she drills/ let's the drill run for hours on ends even late into the night and even use a hammer to poud the floor everytime I speak . The worst is using the kids to jump of the chairs and bed all day and night long the constant thumping has left me in pannick mode and even on antidepressants. Its really not normal I can't enjoy any activity at home none and if I try to thet pond on the floor and thrash large object. No to mention she shouts profanities and screams at the top of her lungs all day and night
Mel - 2-Apr-22 @ 2:06 PM
Hi. Our neighbour has an electric car so will always charge his vehicle at night which is fine, as it’s cheaper. However he has a habit of banging his bins around 10:30 and every Tuesday without fail he puts his bins out between 10:30-11pm. He makes an absolute racket. Also, at times I’ve seen him with a hedge trimmer taking his aggression out late at night. He moaned the one time my tradesman used there equipment at 07:57am but it’s ok for him to cut the grass during the summer months at 745/8pm. He is so weird I find the best thing to simplify ignore him and icing on the cake was he was against my home planning plans but they got approved. How do I approach him?
Harry - 7-Dec-21 @ 10:50 PM
Mynext door neighbour either practices with his band or I suspect hires out his extension as a music studio, the nose is mostly during the day but, I can't enjoy sitting in my garden and have to close my windows,however we are not in attached properties, but the the noise is horrendous, heavy metal, rock, they are quite arrogant and appear to have no consideration for anyone living in the street, do I have any rights, I am reluctant to approach him directly
Jack - 9-Sep-21 @ 6:47 PM
So i got this neighbor that always keep up stuff round they house have cars pulling up left to right , loud talkn throwing trash constantly getting they house broke into but always got something to say i know what im capable of doing so i ignore it but im fed up what do i do ? How do i contact landlord?
Mo Mo - 4-Sep-21 @ 2:52 PM
We live next-door to a family with 4 kids. Im a childminder so don't mind this at all I love kids. What I do mind is the mom allowing the kids out at 7.30am in the garden screaming which wakes me up. I mind at her children use to keep my children use to keep my child up with playing in the garden late at night. I minded that my husband could never sleep after a night shift because her kids think it's OK to shout and scream at each other and they think that's OK. So we spoke nicely to the mom. We moved rooms for my daughter and husband meaning I don't have the same room as my husband anymore.Then when her kids have woke me up yet again at 7.30 when I'm ill and I text her to tell her....the response was I will ask them to keep the noise down. I would be mortified if a neighbour had informed me my daughter had woke them at 7.30am. Then again my daughter is not allowed to play in the garden till 9am because I think its disrespectful.It's been 6 years now and I've had enough. What can we do
Angie - 11-Aug-21 @ 6:34 PM
I want to offer some solutions to peoples' problems. If a neighbour damages or removes your fence, bush or tree this is classed as criminal damage. Call the police. Don't worry about what people think of you, just do it! If people get noisy, speak to them once.After that just call environmental health and keep calling them.You need to do this to get evidence. Also keep a diary no matter how boring it is. If it is a rental property, email/write to the letting agent/landlord/housing association.Keep complaining to them, don't stop. If it is students you can also contact the local university/s and complaint to them. They are responsible for their students behaviour. If they are causing a disturbance the street at night, you can call the police. If they threaten, harass or touch you - call the police. If a council housing association, police, university etc. is treating you badly, contact you local councillor or even MP. Don't back down, don't fold like a deckchair at the first hurdle, stay strong and keep pushing. YOU ARE NOT THE BAD PERSON, YOU ARE NOT MAD, YOU ARE NOT THE PERSON IN THE WRONG!
Kerry - 7-Aug-21 @ 8:56 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments