Noise can have a detrimental impact on the enjoyment of your home. We recognise this and will act against perpetrators of this where such noise is evidenced and considered a nuisance.
The completion of diary sheets is extremely important as it provides information about the time, duration, and frequency of the noise to help verify the complaint and assess as to whether it is a breach of tenancy, lease, and/or a statutory nuisance. The information provided may also be used as evidence in any legal proceedings by us against a tenancy or lease. It is therefore of vital importance that the diary sheets are completed regularly and professionally with only relevant information included. If you use the noise app, you should also complete diary sheets as they complement the recordings and put context on incidents.
Statutory nuisance and local authority assessment
A statutory nuisance is defined as:
“an unlawful interference with a person’s use, enjoyment or rights in connection with their property or land”
If the interference is substantial and more than a sense of 'annoyance' on the part of the person hearing it, then the local authority have a responsibility under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to investigate and act where a noise is considered a statutory nuisance. This would normally be the service of an abatement notice by them to order the offender to take steps to stop the noise. The build-up to this involves gathering evidence, including the noise being suitably witnessed by the local authority and sufficient diary sheet completion by the reporter. If you do contact the council, remember to report to us afterwards and provide any reference number or other details so we can communicate with them and work together. They may also ask you to keep diary sheets and download the Noise App. The government website has more information on how councils deal with complaints.
Complaints against non-Red Kite tenants or households should be reported to the local council. If you require further advice or signposting, please contact us.
Problems caused by different lifestyles or everyday living situations are not normally considered as antisocial behaviour.
The following noise is ordinarily considered to be 'household' noise and not a statutory nuisance or breach of a tenancy or lease agreement:
- Sounds of everyday life, such as footfall, closing doors, or the use of stairs
- Issues due to the level of sound insulation and the nature or period of the home
- Sounds of babies or children crying, upset or playing, including children or adults who may have neuro development disorders such as autism or ADHD which affect communication, behaviour, and interactions
- Toilets flushing or other bathroom activity such as showering
- DIY noise taking place during reasonable hours.
Insulation between properties and the natural transfer of sound
Due to the nature of sound insulation in homes which can in part depend on the age and type of property, transference can be a problem in homes. This often means you can hear domestic noise from your neighbour like conversations, dropping of objects, plugging electric items in and children playing. This is a part of ordinary life and in such cases it can be difficult as possible actions are very limited, when assessing we will provide realistic advice and necessary signposting and support. It is necessary to balance a level of tolerance with others when it comes to considering noise and always useful to put yourself in the same position as the offending household to assess reasonableness.
Early engagement with the person causing the noise
Initial reporting and conversations
If you are having noise trouble, try speaking to your neighbour first. This is the quickest and easiest way to solve a noise problem.
It can be daunting to talk to the person alleged responsible for the noise because you fear it will make the problem worse or the conversation will be awkward. Before doing this consider your expectations and the person’s lifestyle/living circumstances. Talking about the issue can help break down barriers and avoid a build-up of stress and frustration later. It is important you consider your safety before doing this to ensure it is appropriate.
You may consider:
- Using conversation as the focus, rather than assertiveness, demands or warnings which may immediately cause a defensive response
- Often others may not be aware of the noise impacting negatively on others. The issue may simply be one of a differing lifestyle, but a simple action could reduce or stop the problem
- Trying to avoid making it personal – concentrate on the impact of the action in question, not the individual. This will help them to understand how they might feel in the same situation
- Seeing if you can reach an agreement
- Moving the conversation on to more general issues - if neighbours get on it makes future dialogue much easier and fosters understanding
- Face-to-face conversation is always better, but if you feel uncomfortable doing this, use one of our Good Neighbour Cards which can be printed off and posted with a polite and simple message to explain the problem to your neighbour. If you don’t have access to a printer, you can contact us for a hard copy.
If this does not work, then you can consider the nature of the noise we talk about above and approach us. We will then assess the case to see if we can treat it as antisocial behaviour (ASB) under our policy and open an applicable case. If we can't do this, we may still be able to help by making a conflict resolution referral to Mediation Bucks or providing other assistance or signposting.
If the noise cannot be dealt with via enforcement through your ASB policy, what else can you do to help?
As a responsible landlord, we will seek to provide an explanation when noise cannot be treated as antisocial behaviour after an assessment and provide any assistance or referrals through other relevant policies to endeavour to assist.
Free conflict resolution & mediation service
Those experiencing antisocial behaviour can feel that it is taking over their life. It impacts on family relationships, amenity and relaxation in your home, and work and careers. We think it is important that we do what we can to stop that happening, and as such work in conjunction with Mediation Bucks to facilitate a free service to our tenants. We encourage the use of conflict resolution via a referral to provide advice, one-to-one coping strategies and coaching, and if appropriate mediation between neighbours to seek consensus and agreement through workable and constructive solutions to demanding situations. We may also offer signposting to other agencies and provide rehousing advice depending on the nature of the problem.
If a complaint of antisocial behaviour is made and we have conducted an assessment we may arrange for a conflict resolution telephone call or other appropriate contact, whether we are managing the issue under our antisocial behaviour policy or other relevant tenancy policies. This is a key step as it provides early valuable support to the complainant. This could progress with your agreement to mediation with the neighbour either in in person, or via 'shuttling'. This is where two parties in dispute are placed in different rooms or communicated with virtually and the mediator 'shuttles' between them. Whatever the ultimate agreement and whichever process you feel is correct, it is extremely important that you engage to help deal with the problem. In those specific cases where it does become necessary to pursue subsequent legal action to stop antisocial behaviour, conflict resolution and mediation can help provide a platform to do this by demonstrating to the court that all options to resolve the problem have been attempted.
You can also report noise through the free Noise App.
If you're not a Red Kite tenant, you can still use this app to report a Red Kite tenant, but please contact us first so that we can log the case.
When using the app, please consider the guidance above to consider typical household noise and ensure you record responsibly. We may not be able to act if the issue does not constitute ASB or noise nuisance which would not be a breach of tenancy or lease.
You should also complete diary sheets and clearly detail alongside the recording for context, assessment, and any future enforcement/legal action.
How to use the app
- Download the app - search for The Noise App on your smartphone - it's free
- Create your account and choose Red Kite Community Housing as your Service Provider. This means your reports will come to us directly, so we can start investigating
- Record 30 seconds of noise by holding down the orange button
Send us the recording by submitting the form.
- We'll investigate and get back to you.
- Though you don't have to turn on your GPS or allow access to your location to make a report, we suggest you do. This will make the evidence stronger because we can prove the noise is coming from a specific location.
- Don't worry if your recording isn't the best quality. We'll be able to hear low frequency or bass sound better when we listen to it with headphones on in our office.
- Make sure you're holding down the orange button the whole time you're recording. If you just tap it, it won't record properly.
- Please make and submit recordings regularly. A thorough evidence log will give us more options when it comes to taking action.
You can find out more by watching this video:
Other sources of support with noise nuisance
|Victim Support (Thames Valley)||www.victimsupport.org.uk/resources/thames-valley||0300 1234 148|
|Mediation Bucks||www.mediationbucks.org.uk||01494 520821|
|Buckinghamshire Council (ASB information)||www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/community-and-safety/safety-and-crime-in-your-community/anti-social-behaviour||0300 131 6000|
|Buckinghamshire Council Environmental Health (including noise nuisance)||www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/environment/environmental-health-and-nuisance||0300 131 6000|
|South Oxfordshire District Council (ASB information)||www.southoxon.gov.uk/south-oxfordshire-district-council/community-help-and-safety/antisocial-behaviour-asb||01235 422422|
|South Oxfordshire District Council Environmental Health (including noise nuisance)||www.southoxon.gov.uk/south-oxfordshire-district-council/environment-and-neighbourhood-issues/neighbourhood-services/reporting-a-nuisance||01235 422403|
|The Noise App||www.thenoiseapp.com|