Every now and then, people suffer from excess noise caused by the occupiers of nearby properties. These could be the people in the neighbouring house who enjoy blasting out music late at night. However, equally, local businesses can also cause noise nuisance. Commercial noise nuisance could be anything from machinery in a factory; to the noise from a construction site out of regular hours; or the noise from a local pub. So how should you deal with noisy neighbours?
Dealing with nuisance neighbours
With any neighbour dispute, it is important to tread carefully as the way you handle the dispute may dictate the nature of your future relationship with your neighbour. Any correspondence could potentially be presented to a judge at court if the matter should progress that far. Further, if you want to sell a property and have an ongoing or historical dispute with your neighbour, you are likely to have to disclose the details of that dispute to your purchaser during the enquiries process.
In the first instance, a good-natured chat with the neighbour can assist. You could explain that the noise is causing you issues, and ask them to stop. If the initial chat does not work, then there are various routes that you can potentially go down in order to resolve the problem.
A nuisance occurs when someone does something on their own land which they are lawfully entitled to do, but which becomes a nuisance and impacts on a neighbouring property. For example, a person is entitled to listen to music in their own home. However, if that person listens to Meatloaf at a high volume at 2.00am, disturbing the neighbours, this would be a noise nuisance.
If you suffer a nuisance, you can ask the court to order an injunction to stop the neighbour causing a nuisance and / or to award damages to compensate you for any loss suffered. If your noisy neighbour will not stop his behaviour, the best next step would be to send him a letter of claim. This should set out the behaviour causing you a nuisance and how you would like it to be resolved. If the behaviour does not improve, you can issue a claim at court.
If the person causing you a nuisance rents his property, you may have another avenue to pursue. Most tenants agree with their landlords in their leases not to cause a nuisance or annoyance. Therefore, by causing you issues, the neighbour may also be in breach of lease. As a result, the landlord may be able to place additional pressure on the noisy neighbour to stop the nuisance. We have previously looked at ‘quiet enjoyment’, which may assist some tenants suffering from noise nuisance.
Another form of nuisance is known as statutory nuisance. Such nuisance could include noise from premises or vehicles. The nuisance must be unreasonable and substantially interfere with your use or enjoyment of your property, and injure (or likely injure) health.
In cases of statutory nuisance, your local authority may be able to take action instead of you. The local authority may serve a noise abatement notice. This is a demand from the local authority to stop the nuisance behaviour. Whether they serve an abatement notice, however, is very much in the local authority’s hands. It is well known that local authority resources are stretched, and therefore you may find that your local authority does not have the necessary time or funds to dedicate to enforcing such claims.