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Thomas Judge
Thomas Judge, solicitor Advocate
Category: UK Property Law
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My neighbours are constantly banging door, banging up the stairs

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My neighbours are constantly banging door, banging up the stairs and when trying to get in the property constantly bang on the front door until it is answered. She has a dog which when it is let out constantly barks at thin air and she does not tell it to shut up. She has a private landlord who is her uncle. We live in a housing association owned house. The noise is constant from the children coming home from school. We have doors been banged or slammed shut into the early hours of the morning, the latest time I noted this morning was 3-45am. We have approached the woman and ask her to stop all the banging or we would go to the council, all she said was 'do it see how far you get'. I am sure she is a drug addict as I saw her in the summer of 2009 sniffing off a mirror and then wiping her nostrils with her t shirt. It is affecting my health is there anything that can be done
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 6 years ago.

You seem to be doing the right stuff. The advice I always give is:-

1) Try and solve the problem with your neighbour in a friendly way, without involving the local authority in the first instance. Often or not, your neighbours won't know they are causing a nuisance and will probably be more considerate in future.

Never approach your neighbour when the noise is actually happening. You are more likely to be angry and have an argument with them.

2) If talking to your neighbour directly doesn't work, then the next step is to try mediation. Most local authorities will be able to provide a free mediation service between yourself and your neighbour, where a neutral party will come round and look to negotiate a peaceful settlement.

3) If all reasonable steps have been taken to sort the matter out privately, the next option is to contact the Environmental Health department in your local authority. By law, the local authorities have a duty to deal with any noise that they consider to be what's known as a 'statutory nuisance'.

Your Local Authority (Council) has a duty to perform an investigation when they receive complaints about noise from any form of location. So whether you live next door to a pub or club, a noisy family or neighbour, have noisy machinery/vehicles and equipment in the street, a factory or any form of business close by, your local authority are obliged to investigate fully.

Legislation is under sections 80 and 81 within the Environmental Protection Act of 1990 (as amended by the Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act 1993) and your Local Authority will have a responsibility to look into and deal with any noise sources that are considered to be a statutory nuisance.

Your Local Authority will have at its disposal different capabilities and resources in place that they can use to deal with and investigate neighbour and anti-social behaviour problems.

4) If the local authority decide not to intervene, or for whatever reason you do not wish to involve them, you can take your case to a Magistrate's Court. You must have already taken steps to deal with the matter privately before you can bring it to court.

You can complain under Section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 directly to the courts about a noise problem. You will need to convince without doubt, to the courts that the noise problem you are experiencing constitutes a statutory nuisance.

If this route is for you and you are convinced to take action under Section 82 of the EPA 1990, you are required to give a minimum of three days notice in writing to the person who is responsible for the noise you are taking action over. In that written record you are required to list details of your complaint and you must ensure this is delivered via hand or recorded delivery post, dated and that you keep a copy.

The Magistrates Court will then work with you and inform you of further procedures and expectations and will also decide if a summons can be issued.

I would strongly advise you to take detailed and further professional advice before embarking on this option either from your Local Authority, the Magistrates Court or a qualified legal professional. This is a more complicated route for individuals involved in making noise orientated complaints.

Also be aware that you will be liable for all costs relating to taking your own action through this route. You need to check this out fully in advance with the relevant professionals to avoid running up costly bills.

You will not be able to gain legal representation for a case of this type through the legal aid scheme but it's possible you could be eligible financially within the 'Legal Help' scheme which could provide free or partly assisted legal advice/assistance. Again it's very important you ask the Court or your local Citizen's Advice Bureau for more advice, help and information.

5.) It is possible that you could instigate a civil action concerning noise nuisance at common law and attempt to get an injunction to restrain the perpetrator from continuing with the source(s) of the noise nuisance. You could also issue a claim for loss/damages in place of this action or alongside it.

6.) If they are tenants. It's possible there could be a clause within the contract/agreement for their tenancy that prohibits your noisy neighbour from making higher levels of noise in between certain hours (11pm - 7am for example) or something similar.

So, in doing so they could be risking or breaking their tenancy agreement. You are not entitled to know about or see a copy of your neighbours tenancy agreement, but it is possible their landlord, especially a private landlord may divulge or show you this information. They may refuse however on the grounds that your neighbours privacy and confidentiality could be breached.

All different types of landlords - whether this is the council, the local housing association or private landlords have measures where they can instigate appropriate action against a tenant who is wilfully and regularly in breach of their tenancy agreement. Injunctions can be put into place (very effective measures to prevent and reduce nuisance from next door, but at the same time allowing people to retain tenancy in their homes). If the landlords originate from within a housing association or local authority, they are then able to ask a court to put a 'power of arrest' into this kind of injunction which is enforceable if there are any instances of violence, abuse, threatened violence or actual violent behaviour.

Ultimately, your neighbour in these circumstances can face eviction in the cases of people who consistently persist in making their neighbours and community's lives a miserable existence and flaunt the conditions of injunction enforcement's.

I hope this helps

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