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Neighbour noise

Noise nuisance is an unreasonable level of noise that has a negative impact on others on a regular basis.

We decide if something is a noise nuisance based on what the average person would find unacceptable, and what can be defined as a statutory nuisance.

Noise nuisance can vary in type, but for it to be considered a nuisance it will need to be happening on a regular basis. 

We will investigate
  • Loud noise or music
  • Dogs barking
  • Shouting or arguments   
  • Other domestic noise that is persistent or at unreasonable hours
We will not investigate
  • Noise from domestic appliances such as washing machines, hoovers etc. unless used at unreasonable hours, e.g. after 10pm and before 6am
  • Noise from children playing outside 
  • Noise from family lifestyles, including talking in gardens, noise from children, friction between day and night workers.
  • Occasional events such as barbeques and fireworks
  • One-off parties, e.g. religious celebrations, New Years Eve, weddings etc.
  • DIY work unless it is persistent and at unreasonable hours

This also includes, where the sound insulation in floors or walls isn't good enough to reduce sounds of everyday living. See our guidance on how to reduce noise in your home.

The Environmental Health team will also deal with certain types of noise including car and intruder alarms and commercial noise. See their pages for more information.

Dear neighbour card

Most neighbour problems can be resolved by talking to each other in the first instance. A friendly approach to make your neighbour aware of the problem is often effective.

If you do not feel comfortable approaching your neighbour directly, try using our Dear Neighbour card.

Mediation

We recognise people have differing lifestyles and that some everyday living sounds can still have a negative impact. In cases like this, we will offer mediation. Mediation is an informal way for both parties to amicably resolve disputes.

Investigating noise

When assessing whether noise is unreasonable and requires action we consider the following:

  • The activity causing the noise nuisance
  • How loud the noise is and how intrusive it is
  • Duration of noise
  • Frequency of noise
  • The time of day or night
  • Whether it is deliberate or not
  • What steps the person has taken to avoid or reduce the nuisance

We recommend you provide your caseworker with details of the alleged noise nuisance:

  • Dates and times
  • How it impacts you or your household
  • Recordings (if possible)

Noise reduction

Noise from neighbours is a common source of disturbance, as no house or flat is totally soundproof. 

Everyone can expect to hear some noise from the people who live around them and we ask that you are tolerant of this and also mindful when carrying noisy activities of the potential impact on your neighbour. 

Read our guidelines for reducing noise in the home to minimise disturbance to neighbours.
 

Garden noise

Your gardens are a place to rest, relax and play. Gardens tend to offer minimal sound insulation so your activities can have a greater effect on neighbours. 

  • If a child’s toy or game is extremely noisy, try and find quieter alternatives e.g. using soft balls or limit time playing the noisy games
  • If you have a barbeque or party, tell your neighbours, invite them if appropriate, avoid amplified music out of doors and if anyone does complain, turn it down. Either end your party or bring your guests indoors at a reasonable time
     
DIY

You may need to carry out some DIY works to your property to maintain and improve your homes. In order to reduce the impact on your neighbours, you could:

  • Whenever possible, let your neighbours know that you are undertaking noisy work during normal waking hours e.g. between 9am-6pm
  • Carry out the noisiest tasks in the middle of the day 
  • Keep tools well maintained and use lower/quieter settings on power tools where feasible
Household noise
  • Take care when closing doors, particularly if you live in a flat with a shared entrance and particularly late at night and early in the morning
  • Cupboard doors can also be annoying especially if the units are fixed to party walls. Avoid slamming doors. Inexpensive adhesive furniture pads can be a very effective way of reducing noise by sticking these to the inside of the cupboard door or around an internal door frame
  • If you live in a flat when you are buying floor coverings, consider carpet as laminate floor may increase the noise transmission to your neighbours. (If you are a Crawley Borough Council tenant and live in a first floor flat or above you are not permitted to lay laminate floor)
Fireworks

Everyone should be able to enjoy fireworks safely however others may not realise the harm and distress they are causing to local residents and animals. This is why members of the public may only use fireworks on private property, such as their back gardens, and only licensed professionals can use them in public places.

You must:

  • Always use fireworks outside with a bucket of water or hose nearby
  • Keep fireworks away from dry leaves and other materials that can easily catch on fire
  • Light one firework at a time
  • Keep the firework you are lighting well away from unlit fireworks

Misuse of fireworks can cause damage to property and do significant harm to people and animals.

The law says you must not set off or throw fireworks (including sparklers) in the street or other public places.

You must not set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except for on:

  • Bonfire Night, when the cut off is midnight
  • New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, when the cut off is 1am
Loud music

Music tastes vary so do not assume just because you like a song your neighbour will want to hear it as well. 

  • With amplified sound, keep the volume down, especially the bass which can be more annoying than higher frequencies. Don’t put speakers on or close to party walls, ceilings or floors
  • If you have a bedroom TV, keep it quiet at night, especially if your bedroom adjoins someone else’s
  • If playing an instrument, practice where and when it will have least impact on neighbours
  • Where possible, use headphones if listening to loud music/loud TV
Household appliances

Sometimes people are disturbed by you doing your household chores. Appliances such as dishwashers/washing machines can not only be noisy but can also cause vibrations which can sometimes be heard in neighbouring properties.

  • When buying new appliances, buy a quieter model, not all models have a noise rating, but look out for the “Quiet Mark”
  • Where possible, position them to cause the least disturbance to your neighbour
  • Ensure washing machines, dishwashers and fridge freezers if possible, are placed on an even floor and on a carpet/mat to reduce vibrations, if you live in a flat
  • Do the vacuuming at a reasonable time, especially if you live in a flat or terrace, avoid early morning or late night cleaning sprees
  • In the kitchen, avoid banging pans and cupboard doors and don’t use blenders/grinders on surfaces attached to party walls
Pets

As a responsible pet owner you need to ensure that your animal does not cause a nuisance to others. Whilst barking is a natural behaviour, continual dog barking/howling is unacceptable and the behaviour needs to be addressed.

Dogs bark if they are lonely/unhappy, dogs can bark continuously which neighbours may find disturbing. If you have to leave your dog alone, make sure it’s well exercised and fed. Some dogs like a radio for company, or get a friend or neighbour to look in.

You should not leave your dog alone for long periods of time if it barks continuously.