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General advice on reducing noise

General Noise Advice

Noise from neighbours is a common source of the disturbance. The most frequent complaints are about loud music, dogs barking, banging doors and DIY activities. Remember that no house or flat is totally soundproof and noise travels further than you think, especially in flats.

Gardens tend to offer minimal sound insulation so your activities can have a greater effect on neighbours.

Everyone can expect some noise from the people who live around them and we ask that you are tolerant.  Some noises, such as babies crying, automatic extractor fans or loud washing machines may not be in the complete control of your neighbours.

Definitions:

'Persistent Noise Nuisance' means the disturbance lasts for continuous periods of over 30 minutes a day for at least 5 days within one week.

‘Night-time’ – after 11 pm and before 7 am

Here are some tips for reducing noise in the home to minimise disturbance to neighbours.

Alarms

Alarms are designed to make a noise – but misfiring alarms can be very disturbing and annoying.

  • Ensure you choose a reliable product and ensure it’s serviced regularly.
  • Car and intruder alarms should have a 20 minute cut out.
  • When batteries need changing, please do so promptly.

DIY

DIY jobs such as drilling and hammering can create a lot of noise.

  • Whenever possible, let your neighbours know that you are undertaking noisy work and try to work during normal waking hours, but be mindful this may be different for the very young or the elderly.
  • Carry out the noisiest tasks in the middle of the day. If you must start early, do quieter jobs first.
  • Keep tools well maintained and use lower and quieter settings on power tools where feasible. If possible use hand tools.

Garden noise

Our gardens are a place to rest, relax and play. Remember that any noise you make in your garden will be heard by your neighbours.

  • Try and carry out noisy activities in the middle of the day, for example, mowing the lawn.
  • Where possible, purchase quieter equipment and maintain your equipment properly.
  • If a child’s toy or game is extremely noisy, try and find quieter alternatives, or limit the time these toys are used or games are played.
  • 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.
  • Children playing in their garden outside of “Quiet hours” is not noise nuisance in itself.

People

  • Take care when closing doors – particularly 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 – particularly 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 them to the inside of the cupboard door or around an internal door frame.
  • When considering floor coverings we ask that residents in flats do not lay laminate flooring.  Research has shown that when a carpet is removed and replaced with wood or laminate flooring the noise your neighbour in the property below experiences will increase significantly.
  • If you have laminate or wood flooring, consider the soundproof versions where possible, or rugs for the most travelled bits of flooring.
  • If you have a party, tell your neighbours in advance, invite them if appropriate, avoid amplified music out of doors and if anyone does complain, respond politely by trying to be quieter.  This includes people who have gone outside to smoke or use a vaping device. Be mindful that, while you are entitled to have guests, having repeated parties that cause noise disruption, environmental noise pollution or ASB could be a breach of your tenancy.

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 the least impact on neighbours.  This is best during normal waking hours,
  • Where possible, use headphones.
  • Be mindful of open windows

Pets

  • Dogs bark – but only bark a lot if they are not content. 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. If your dog continues to bark, consider dog training.
  • Cats can wail and fight – as they are independent they can be difficult to manage – however if a neighbour complains about your cat at least try and keep it in at night.
  • If you have a caged bird that likes to sing and squawk, make sure it’s kept where it will least disturb neighbours, particularly at night.
  • Some caged pets tend to be more active at night -chewing and rattling their cages. Consider carefully where and how such pets are housed.

Household appliances

  • 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.
  • For washing machines, if possible, place on an even floor; do not overload, and run the machine at a time when it will least disturb neighbours. Remember the final spin is the noisiest bit.
  • 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 on surfaces attached to party walls.
  • If a neighbour states that a particular device is noisy please be considerate with the timings when you use it.

Entering and leaving your home

  • Avoid slamming front doors or communal entrance doors, particularly late at night or early morning.
  • If expecting a visitor or a taxi, ask them to knock rather than sound the horn and try not to slam your door or car doors.
  • Please remember noise in communal hallways and stairwells travels, so avoid loud phone calls or conversations outside normal waking hours.

What can you do?

If you are being disturbed by your neighbour follow the guidance on our noise nuisance pages.

 

 

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