No house or flat is totally soundproof - everyone can expect some noise from their neighbours, but it should be reasonable.
Things to consider
- If you live in an attached house or flat you will at time be able to hear noise from your neighbours in their home because noise travels through walls and floors/ceilings.
- You may have poor insulation between you and your neighbour which will mean that you will be able to hear each other.
- If you can hear their music/TV they may be able to hear yours as well, so first consider whether you may be disturbing them.
- You could either speak to your neighbour or put a note through the door explaining how you are affected and asking them to keep the volume down. There is a suggested letter format on our website that can be printed off and used.
What steps you can take
Noise disputes are often resolved informally. Legal action should be a last resort. It is unpleasant and will inevitably further sour the relationship between you and your neighbour. It is very important that you do your best to resolve any problem in a friendly way:
- Approach your neighbour and explain politely that you are being troubled by noise. You may find this difficult, but often people are unaware that they are causing a problem. Most will be glad to do what they can to reduce noise. However, approach the matter carefully if you think your neighbour might react angrily to a complaint.
- If the problem continues, start a diary recording dates, times and cause of the noise, and the effects it has on you.
- Write to your neighbour explaining the problem. Ask them to stop the noise nuisance, referring to any conversations you may have had and what, if anything, they agreed to do about it.
- Keep a record of any conversations you have or letters you write. If your neighbours are tenants, discuss your problem with their landlord (if they are private tenants, you may need to find out who the landlord is). If they are Council tenants contact your local housing office. Most Conditions of Tenancy require that tenants do not cause nuisance to neighbours and landlords should take action if a nuisance is being caused.
- Mediation can often help resolve some neighbour disputes. It is a step by step process in which an impartial mediator helps people in dispute settle their differences quickly and confidentially. It does not seek to prove right or wrong but helps those involved to identify what they want to change.
Report a problem
You can report the following noise complaints to us:
- Noisy neighbours (loud music, parties, alarms, DIY at unreasonable hours)
- Anti-social neighbours (shouting, arguing, door slamming)
The Noise App
The Noise App is a software application that can be downloaded from Apple and Android app stores. The free application allows residents to record noise issues on their smartphone or tablet and then sends the recording directly to the City Council to investigate.
The new system means investigators can receive noise recordings almost immediately and act more quickly if the noise is particularly bad.
Once you have recorded the noise, forward the recording to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Download the The Noise App
We have created a template letter that you can use to help you write to your neighbours when you have a noise problem
Other information leaflets available are: