Being a considerate neighbour

Useful advice for Considerate Neighbours

Noise is a normal part of our daily lives and everyone from time to time will be subjected to it. Tolerance is something that we all should have when living in a community where inevitably people lead different lifestyles. But it is also very important to remain reasonable, considerate and mindful of our neighbours.

Excessive noise is unreasonable and can cause disturbance especially if regular and prolonged or at unsociable times.

Top Tips for being a Considerate Neighbour

  • Try to keep the volume of your TV, radio and/or music down, especially late at night. The bass can be a particular problem, so set your bass control at a low level. Don’t put speakers on or close to party walls, ceilings or floors.
  • If you own a dog and you have to leave it alone make sure it is well exercised and fed. A radio for company or a friend visiting can break up a lonely day. A dog will only bark a lot if they are not content.
  • Try to site noisy household equipment such as washing machines and dish washers away from partition walls or place them on a carpet or rubber mat to reduce vibration.
  • Do the vacuuming at reasonable times – especially in a flat or an attached property. Avoid early morning or late night cleaning.
  • Consider fitting carpets over floorboards to reduce everyday noise such as heavy footsteps and banging in your home. However, check with your landlord before doing this if you are living in rented accommodation.
  • Take care when closing doors, particularly if you live in a flat with a shared entrance. Avoid slamming doors including cupboards, especially if affixed to party walls. A rubber or spring doorstop can help reduce the impact when doors are opened.
  • If you are entertaining late at night/early hours, please think about your neighbours as voices carry further at night.
  • If you have any type of alarm have it maintained regularly so it doesn't sound accidentally. Additionally, appoint a key holder who can be contacted if it goes off while you are away from your home.
  • When having a party, especially if entertaining outside, tell your neighbours about your plans in advance; perhaps even invite them along! Keep music to a reasonable level and don’t play it outside. Remember voices can also carry further at night and in the early hours of the morning.
  • When doing DIY try and make sure you carry out the noisiest jobs during the day. Keep the evening for quieter work such as painting and decorating.
  • Children will inevitably play, but it is important that a responsible adult keeps an eye on the level of noise.
  • If playing a musical instrument, practice where and when it would have least impact on your neighbours. If necessary, agree a regular time slot with your neighbours.  Play without amplifiers and use mutes for wind instruments and pads or brushes on drums where possible
  • Boilers, pipes and cisterns can be a source of noise if sited in the wrong place, poorly constructed or maintained.
  • If using fireworks to mark a celebration, proceed with care. Again, inform your neighbours and remember that it is now illegal to let fireworks off after 11pm (with the exception of Bonfire Night, New Years Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year where different timings are set).
  • Site water features and wind chimes away from neighbouring properties and switch them off/silence them at night and/or if you go away.
  • Consider mowing the lawn and using garden power tools at a reasonable time – not early morning or late evening when the noise could be most annoying.
  • If you’re a car or motorcycle driver, always drive quietly in built up areas. Try to avoid revving the engine and only use the horn in an emergency. If you like to play music in your car keep windows and doors closed.
  • Talking to your neighbours about noise issues and politely explaining the problem in the first instance can hopefully resolve any issues in the early stages without having to pursue a formal route – please see below for more details.
  • All owner/occupier(s) of a property have a responsibility for the noise created within their home and the surrounding land - this also includes kept animals and visitors to the property.

What can I do if I’m disturbed by noise

If you have approached your neighbour and the problem cannot be resolved informally; or you feel that for whatever reason you cannot approach your neighbour, you should contact the pollution team who can investigate a noise complaint.

If you are a housing association tenant or a private tenant, and the disturbance arises from a nearby flat controlled by the same landlord, the team can liaise and investigate alongside your landlord.

At the same time as contacting East Staffordshire Borough Council, it is also recommended that you contact your housing officer/landlord, as most tenancy agreements/conditions include clauses about noise nuisance/anti-social behaviour and your landlord can look into whether these conditions are being adhered to.