You need to stay calm to deal with a noisy neighbour problem. Dealing with a neighbour who is acting unreasonably is always difficult. If you're not calm, it becomes impossible.
This is often difficult as you believe it is your neighbour who is behaving unreasonably. However, this is essential if the matter goes to court. For example:
- It helps to be seen as a reasonable person. Your neighbour may suggest that they are just trying to enjoy the comfort of their own home and that you are over-sensitive and making unreasonable demands
- The court will only consider something as a nuisance if it would be a nuisance to a "reasonable man or woman". Complaints about the occasional party or loud music are unlikely to be considered a nuisance. Such things are part of living in a community - all neighbours cause some inconvenience - even you.
Talk to your neighbour
It may be that your neighbour is unaware that they are causing a problem. Talking it over with them in a friendly way could solve the situation.
If things don't improve when you speak to your neighbour, further action may be needed. Start by putting your complaint in writing - a short and firm, but polite letter advising your neighbour why you consider they are being unreasonable. You may wish to state that if the matter doesn't improve you will have to complain to the council. The letter must be dated and you should keep a copy.
You may prefer to resolve noise nuisance issues informally and can do this with the help of a mediation service, such as Mediation Buckinghamshire (external website).
Notify our Environmental Health team
If you believe that there will be no action from your neighbour to improve the situation, you should contact the environmental health team.
We suggest you keep a diary, including date, time, duration and description of each occurrence. It is important to keep a detailed record to show that the nuisance significantly affects you and is not a one off event.
Action by the council
We will raise the matter with your neighbour, keeping your details confidential. In addition to your diary sheets, other evidence may need to be gathered to assess the problem. If we are satisfied that a nuisance exists, a legal notice will be served requiring the person causing the nuisance to stop. At this point it is not possible to guarantee to keep your details confidential, so you will be given the opportunity to decide whether to proceed. There is a right of appeal against all legal notices and if this right is exercised, you will be called to give evidence as to why the notice was served.
If the noise doesn't stop
If the neighbour does not stop causing a nuisance and evidence of the nuisance can be obtained, then we can take action against the person in the Magistrates' Court. If the person is found guilty, they can be fined up to £5000, plus the daily fine of £500 for each day on which the offence continues after conviction. Also, if the legal notice is not complied with, we may take the necessary steps to stop the nuisance itself.
Anyone affected by a statutory nuisance can make a complaint directly to the Magistrates' Court in a private action against a noise nuisance.