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Noisy and nuisance neighbours

 

If noise from your neighbours is disturbing you, approach them politely and explain the problem. They may well not realise the effect they are having. Most people will be glad to do what they can to reduce noise. Do approach the matter carefully if you think your neighbour may react angrily to your complaint.

If your neighbour is a tenant, discuss the matter with his landlord as the tenant may be in breach of his Tenancy Agreement. Most Tenancy Agreements require that the tenant and his visitors do not cause nuisance to neighbours.

If you really feel this is inappropriate or you feel threatened, or where previous personal approaches have not worked, you can contact the Private Sector Housing Renewal Team for advice and assistance.

If the problem persists we would advise you to keep a diary. You should record the dates, times, duration and the cause of the noise and what effect it is having on you or your family.

Keep a record of any conversations or correspondence with your neighbour.

If the Private Sector Housing Renewal Team finds that a nuisance exists action can be taken.

Please refer to the DEFRA leaflet available on the right of this web page.

Domestic noise that can annoy neighbours can include:

Dog Owner? - How to avoid constant barking

Barking comes naturally to dogs, but any constant barking or whining can be both annoying and disturbing to your neighbours. Often the problem occurs when you are out of the house and so you are not aware until a complaint is made.

In law, a barking dog can be a noise nuisance. The owner can be taken to court if they do nothing to stop the nuisance.

There are many reasons why your dog may bark and there are many simple actions that you can take to try and overcome this problem. Dogs may bark because they are lonely or insecure or feel threatened. A well trained dog will not bark unnecessarily.

Check out the leaflets "Banish Barking" and "Is your dog barking too much?" available on the right of this page for some helpful tips.

Intruder Alarms

Please Refer to the Intruder / Burglar Alarms page for more information

Car Alarm

Car Alarms can go off accidentally triggered by the vibration of passing traffic or windy conditions and the noise can drive people living nearby mad, especially at night. So if you have a car alarm, make sure it is properly fitted, regularly maintained and has a 20 minute cut out. And remember - if your car alarm continually malfunctions, your car could be impounded.

Loud Music and Home Entertainment

Technology enables us to keep ourselves thoroughly entertained at home. However, entertainment systems are also noise sources:

  • Sound Systems
  • Home entertainment systems/TV
  • Games
  • Noisy toys

There are many different musical tastes and there is increasingly powerful equipment for reproducing sound. Remember that your favourite tunes or TV programmes may not be to the taste of your neighbours.

To reduce noise nuisance you can:

  • Keep the volume down on amplified sound systems especially the bass which can be more annoying than higher frequencies because it travels further.
  • Make sure speakers are away from party walls and floors, raise them up if you can. Keep the volume reasonable taking into account the time of day or If in doubt, use headphones.
  • Use cushion speakers stands or speaker isolators to prevent soundwaves travelling.
  • Balance the speakers of a home cinema system to fill the room evenly - sub woofer speakers can be especially disturbing.
  • Game soundtracks can annoy anyone not playing, so turn it down.
  • Some children’s' toys can be very noisy - if they are driving you mad they could be annoying your neighbours too. When it all gets too much give them a quieter alternative.
  • If you play a musical instrument and need to practise, consider carefully where and when. If you tell your neighbours that you will be making a noise, and agree what days and times will cause them least disturbance, you are less likely to have complaints.

Playing loud music at night (11pm - 7 am) could result in confiscation of your equipment or instruments, and fines.

DIY and building work

Home maintenance is essential, and home improvement is a rapidly growing popular pastime. A lot of DIY or building work can be very noisy for example:

  • drilling and hammering - especially party walls
  • decorating (scraping and sanding)
  • noisy plant or machinery
  • floor sanding
  • car repairs

These can all take their toll on neighbours and the rest of your household.

You must consider your neighbours when you are carrying out work. Let them know if you plan to do anything that involves work on party walls or floors or that will be extremely noisy – such as floor sanding. Try to agree a time for work when it will least disturb them. Avoid drilling and banging late at night and early in the morning.

If you are being disturbed by your neighbours, first approach them politely - they may well not realise they are causing a problem. Let them know when noisy work will disturb you least.

Household chores

  • Some chores can be very noisy such as:
  • mowing the lawn
  • vacuuming 
  • washing, especially when spinning clothes
  • Tumble drying

Consider not starting at the crack of dawn. You may be an early riser, but others could be trying to get some rest. Night birds should equally think about doing their chores at less 'anti-social' hours.

People Noise

Just living in your home can create noise that can disturb your neighbours especially if you live in a flat, Tyneside flat or terraced property. There are a number of sources of these noises:

  • Footsteps - the recent popularity of hard and laminated flooring has been the cause of an increasing number of complaints about noise. If you are considering fitting hard flooring, you should carefully consider the potential impact on your neighbours - particularly if you live in a terraced house or flat.

    Make sure that it will not increase noise impact on your neighbours, and that any sound insulation fitted is effective. Using rugs and removing shoes can reduce the impact noise on hard floors but will probably not completely solve the problem.

    In many dwellings the fitting of hard flooring is prohibited by the lease. In some cases, where buildings have poor sound insulation, carpet with a good underlay may be the only solution! 
  • Door Slamming
  • Voices

Parties

If you're planning a party, your neighbours are likely to much more understanding if you warn them well in advance - you could even invite them.

Don't ruin their evening and yours by being noisy, keep music at reasonable levels for the time of night and refrain from loud singing and shouting - and encourage your guests to be equally respectful.

"Improving Sound Insulation in Homes" from the Building Research Establishment.

Fireworks

As well as traditional events such as bonfire night, fireworks are increasingly used to mark special occasions including birthdays, sporting events, outdoor festivals and events.

Fireworks can be fun - but noisy fireworks can frighten people and animals. So if you must have your own fireworks - warn anyone nearby , especially if they have pets or livestock, young children or are elderly, and let them off at a reasonable time.

In 2004 regulations were brought in to manage nuisance noise caused by fireworks. It is an offence to let off fireworks after 11pm at night - with the exception of Bonfire Night, Diwali, New Year and Chinese New Year.

To make a request for service or for further advice, please contact the Private Sector Housing Renewal Team today on (0191) 433 3000, or contact us online now by completing the form below.

Contact Us

Private Sector Housing Team
Gateshead Council
Civic Centre
Regent Street
Gateshead
NE8 1HH
Tel: 0191 433 3000

E-mail: privatesectorhousingcivic@gateshead.gov.uk