Being a good neighbour
We frequently get complaints about noise from loud music or TVs, DIY, dogs barking, car repairs, intruder alarms and sometimes about household appliances or musical instrument practice. The best advice is to use common sense and try to be considerate of your neighbours.
Top tips to prevent noise nuisance
- Keep music or TV volume as low as possible, especially late at night when people may be trying to sleep.
- Put speakers away from the party walls and on rubber mats.
- Reduce the bass.
- there's nothing worse than a house alarm going off for no reason.
Make sure your alarm is properly installed, and serviced once a year
- car and house alarms should cut out after 20 minutes
- complete a keyholder registration form. This would give us contact details for someone who could help us if your alarm goes off when you are away on holiday.
- Make sure your alarm is not faulty and ensure it complies with BS 4737. Inform key holders that you are away and ask them to make regular checks of the property.
DIY jobs can create a lot of noise. You can reduce the impact on your neighbours by:
- warning them that you are going to be carrying out some noisy DIY work
- carrying out the work during normal working hours
- making sure that your noisiest tasks are done in the middle of the day, before everyone is home from school and work
- if you have to start early, trying to do the quieter jobs first - some people work from home and some people work nights
- seeing if there is a quieter tool available - hand tools can sometimes do the job just as well
- when buying power tools, checking them for noise ratings
- making sure your tools are well maintained and using lower/quieter settings wherever possible
- avoiding DIY activities late at night and on Sundays - if you are going to cause a great deal of noise or hammering or work for a prolonged time period, tell your neighbour in advance.
Gardens are places to relax and entertain in, but they also need maintaining. Your neighbours will be able to hear any noise you make in your garden, so:
- carry out your noisiest activities in the middle of the day
- if you have a really noisy job to do, warn your neighbours in advance (this could be something like trimming your hedges or power washing your patio) - if possible, agree the best time to carry out this work with your neighbours
- where possible, use CE markings to help you purchase quieter equipment and maintain your equipment properly
- don't put noisy water features or wind chimes near neighbouring properties. if you can, switch them off/silence them at night or if you go away
- if you're planning a barbecue or party, tell your neighbours - invite them if appropriate
- wear headphones if you want to listen to music, or the radio while sunbathing/mowing the lawn
- if you want to let off fireworks, proceed with care – let your neighbours know
- remember, it is illegal to let off fireworks after 11 pm (except for Bonfire Night (5 November), Diwali, New Years Eve and Chinese New Year).
- keep windows and doors closed if you are having a party.
- if you are having an outdoor event remember that noise will travel and affect people further away.
- remember that noise is more likely to become a nuisance when people would normal be sleep.
- a one-off a party will rarely be a legal nuisance, however always try to be reasonable – if you can, let the neighbours know in advance and give an approximate finishing time. Let them know that they can come round to the property if the noise is a problem and act to remedy the noise if you receive complaints.
Music that is too loud can be annoying for your neighbours, so:
- keep the volume down, especially the bass which is more annoying than higher frequencies - don't place speakers on or close to party walls, ceilings or floors
- if you have a TV in your bedroom, please keep it quiet at night – especially if your bedroom is next to someone elses
- if you play an instrument, practice when it will least annoy your neighbours - don't use amplifiers, use headphones where possible and use mutes for wind instruments and pads and brushes on drums
- if you really want to listen or play music at a louder volume then you can use headphones - just be aware that turning your music up can damage your hearing.
- don't slam doors, especially if you live in a flat with a shared entrance, and especially late at night and early in the morning.
- cupboard doors can also be annoying if they're fixed to party walls, so avoid slamming doors. You can use isolating wall plugs when fitting cupboards.
- if dogs aren't content, they bark. Make sure your dog is well fed and exercised if you have to leave it alone. You might leave a radio on, or ask a neighbour to check on them. If your dog still barks, you might want to consider dog training.
- if your cat goes out fighting and wailing, and a neighbour complains, you could try to make sure you keep it inside at night.
- if you have a caged bird, make sure you keep it where it's least likely to disturb your neighbours, especially at night.
- if you have a dog which is kept in the yard or garden whilst you are away from the property you have no idea whether the dog is barking when you are not there. This can affect others if your garden backs on to other gardens.
- if the dog is kept inside keep them away from the party wall.
- try to buy quieter models when buying new appliances
- place washing machines on even, concrete floors, don't overload them, and run them at a time when they will least disturb your neighbours. Remember, the final spin is the noisiest bit!
- try to be considerate when vacuuming - don't do it late at night or early in the morning
- if you're putting in a new boiler, remember the legal distances from windows when siting it. Get a plumber to check any pipes and cistern noises
- make sure extractor fans are fitted securely so they don't rattle. Keep them clean so that they run smoothly
- try not to put your fridge or freezer against a party wall. Vibration can pass through the structure, and also through floors, so if you live in a flat don't put your fridge above a neighbour's bedroom.
- don't carry out car repairs early in the morning or late and night, and try to warn your neighbours about really noisy jobs
- don't slam car doors, sound horns, or play your music so loud that it can be heard outside the car.