“Should we just learn to live with our noisy neighbour?”
Mar 4, 2022
There can be something reassuring about occasional laughter, or the knocking of a nail, emanating from next door. It’s part of being a community. But everyone knows that there is a line between what is acceptable and what isn’t. The trouble is, there is a great deal of subjectivity around where that line lies.
Noise can be a nuisance. In a legal context, it’s potentially a ground for bringing action that can lead to a court-imposed resolution. But litigation is not something to leap into. It can be expensive and it carries other costs too, including the potential for further damage to relationships. And when it comes to disputes between neighbours, neither of whom have any intention of upping sticks, the ramifications can mean many difficult years ahead.
So, while court action may become necessary, it’s wise to explore alternatives first. The most obvious of these is: a conversation with your neighbour. Whether this is feasible and likely to be successful in your situation will depend on the relationship between you. But it will also depend on the way in which you go about having this interaction.
Before doing anything, be very clear about what the issue is. Is the noise unduly intrusive? Is it happening at an inappropriate time? Is it a ‘repeat offence’? Is there a reasonable explanation for it - a newborn or some building work, for example? Could the neighbour do something to reduce its impact on you? Keeping these types of questions in mind should help you avoid knee-jerk reactions and avoidable clashes. It may be worth running things past a friend, to get their take on how reasonable it would be to object to the noise (and how reasonable it would be to put up with it).
Disputes between neighbours can escalate very quickly. Listening to what your neighbour has to say, and taking it on board in a measured way, can be crucial. We all have to accept a certain level of neighbourly noise, and to recognise that neighbours may be equally tolerant of ours. So, try to see maintain perspective. Ask yourself if the noise is within your neighbour’s control. If it is and, despite your further efforts, it continues or escalates (keep notes of what happens and when), you may want to look at taking some formal action.
Our team guides clients through these tricky issues. We help them have the right conversations with neighbours at the right time, and explore the option of mediation, or of involving the council or the courts. To discuss your situation, contact us on 01264 353411 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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