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Your Borough Of Poole

What to do about noise nuisance

Who else can help me?

In cases of noise nuisance an outside agency may not be the best or only solution, or even be able to help you at all. In the first instance read Noise Nuisance FAQs which explains when we can, and can't investigate.

  • Landlord: If you live in rented accommodation your landlord may have a duty to help you solve any noise problems, particularly if the perpetrator also has the same landlord. Tenancy and lease agreements usually contain clauses that prohibit tenants and lessees from causing noise or nuisance, breaches could result in eviction. Contact your landlord and explain the problem with times, dates, effect of the noise and actions you have taken. Your landlord will expect you to have spoken to the alleged perpetrator first.

  • Mediation: You could suggest to your neighbour that you attend mediation organised by one of the specialist mediation agencies. An independent, trained mediator will attempt to bring you and your neighbour together in a positive agreement. This may be put into a voluntary contract.

  • Solicitor: You may wish to speak to a solicitor for independent legal advice. They may write a letter to your neighbour or in some cases help you prepare an application to the court for an injunction to stop the nuisance. These interventions will have some cost implications, but you may have no alternative.

  • Planning Authority: Planning and Regeneration Services including Building Consultancy, at the Borough of Poole may be able to help where planning regulations have been breached. This may be the case in noise nuisance from commercial premises and unauthorised businesses run from home such car repairs or retailing.

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When does noise become anti-social behaviour?

Again, not a straight forward question. If the noise causes you alarm, distress and harassment it may be classified as anti-social behaviour. Noise has been known to be used as a weapon in harassment, a sustained campaign involving verbal abuse and noise can be very destructive and needs to be addressed. In these cases in addition to the above agencies the police and the council’s Community Safety Team may be able to help.

  • The Safer Communities Team: An Anti-Social Behaviour Officer may be able to advise or intervene if you believe you are being harassed by a neighbour. They may issue diary sheets, visit or write to your neighbour and involve other agencies in a co-ordinated approach. If there is sufficient evidence they may ask your neighbour to sign an Acceptable Behaviour Contract or help you mediate.
  • Police: In most cases the police will not get involved in neighbour disputes and noise nuisance. The police would need clear evidence that harassment was taking place before they could act. If proven the police may issue an Harassment Notice in the form of a letter, if the alleged harassment continues the perpetrator may be arrested and charged and may appear before the courts.

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In conclusion

Do not expect a quick result when you involve other agencies as procedures must be followed and evidence gathered. Agencies will also expect you to have done whatever you can to resolve the problem and be prepared to give statements, to evidence your complaint, gain witnesses and to support your allegations all the way to court if necessary. You should also be prepared to accept that changing people’s behaviour can often be difficult and time consuming, if not impossible and you may have to learn to live with a certain level of noise. Some of the problem may even be to do with the building itself or poor sound insulation. Therefore you may have to be prepared to add insulation to your internal walls.

Please bear in mind that agencies will not investigate vexatious or malicious complaints, or ones that lack the necessary evidence.

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