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Dealing with noise nuisance

Updated: 2 October 2023

We understand how annoying and even upsetting noisy neighbours can be. They may not even realise they are noisy neighbours and noise can include:

  • Loud music or TV
  • Barking dogs
  • Cars
  • Late night parties
  • Excessively noisy domestic activities or being done at unreasonable times
  • Shouting, swearing and arguing
  • Loud banging or doors slamming
Logo of The Noise App

We would all like to resolve a situation quickly and sometimes the best way to do this is to have a friendly and honest chat with your neighbour. 

Ideally, you want to resolve the situation amicably and involving Torus straight away may only make the situation worse. Most people don’t realise how far the noise they make at home travels, or how much it can impact others. 

See if you can find a fast solution by just explaining the problem to your neighbour and trying to come to a compromise. 

Top tips:

  • Wait until the noise has stopped 

  • Speak to them in a calm and reasonable manner 

 That doesn’t mean you should have to put up with excessive noise but talking to neighbours first can often stop and prevent a long term noise problem.

In cases of everyday household noisesuch as noise from everyday appliances like a washing machine or children playing during appropriate hours, we encourage you to try to resolve the issue with a friendly chat. 

Everyday household noise is considered ‘acceptable’ and cannot be resolved by tenancy enforcement or legal action. 

We understand that there may be times when you may not feel comfortable speaking directly to your neighbour to try to sort things out. 

So, we recommend that if you are experiencing everyday household noise that you feel is unreasonable that you keep an up-to-date record of the noise incidents, noting the date, time and nature of the behaviour causing you annoyance or distress. This can help you get some perspective on how often it happens.

Disturbing the Peace

If your neighbour is disturbing or breaching the peace, then this is a criminal offence. It occurs when a person engages in some form of disorderly conduct such as fighting or causing excessively loud noise.

These incidents are dealt with by the Police, so if you are experiencing a breach of the peace or it is associated with threatening, violent or anti-social behaviour (ASB) the incident should be reported directly to the Police.

Torus works in partnership with the Police, so if the people causing the disturbance are our tenants, or their visitors, you must also report it to us.

Statutory Noise Nuisance

Your local authority (Council) must investigate complaints about noise that could be a “statutory nuisance” (covered by the Environmental Protection Act 1990), they have powers of enforcement that include abatement notices, seizing equipment and imposing fines,

Examples of noise nuisance that may be statutory noise nuisance include the persistent playing of loud music or a dog barking persistently.

Torus works in partnership with local authorities, so if the people causing the disturbance are our tenants, or their visitors, you must also report it to us.

Torus is committed to doing everything we can to stop ASB and support our communities. Below is what happens if you report noise nuisance (ASB):

  1. An investigating officer will contact you to explain what action can be taken and agree on an action plan.

  2. The investigating officer will provide an ‘Incident Diary’ for you to record any further incidents that you witness, including the dates and times and how the incidents affected you. Without evidence, we are not able to take any action.

  3. We may conduct a letter drop to surrounding properties appealing for other witnesses and encourage reporting.

  4. We may contact any other agencies who are involved, or we may require assistance from e.g. Local Authority.

  5. A Safer Estates Officer will arrange to interview the perpetrator regarding the allegations made and issue the appropriate tenancy warning as needed depending on the evidence and outcome of the interview.
    • If your neighbour denies the allegation that they are causing any noise nuisance and there is no independent evidence to support the complaint, we will issue a written reminder of their tenancy conditions.
    • If your neighbour denies the allegation that they are causing any noise nuisance and there is independent supporting evidence to support the complaint we will issue a Tenancy Warning confirming that they have breached their tenancy conditions.
    • If your neighbour confirms that they have caused the noise nuisance, we will issue a Tenancy Warning confirming that they have breached their tenancy conditions

  6. The investigating officer will contact you to confirm that the actions assigned in the action plan have been completed and provide you with feedback from the investigation.

  7. We can offer the services of an independent mediation service throughout this process. The independent mediator listens to your views and your neighbour’s views to help you reach an agreement or compromise.

  8. We will ask you (and any of your neighbours who have also witnessed the noise nuisance) to continue to complete incident diaries for any further incidents. The investigating officer will monitor the situation.
    • If no further complaints are received, the case will be closed
    • If the noise nuisance continues, we will review the evidence to decide what further action can be taken.

The Noise App

If you are having issues with noise, you can now use 'The Noise App', which lets you record audio for up to 30 seconds at a time on your Smartphone. This recording will then be sent instantly to our Safer Estates Team for review.

As well as recording the noise, you can also enter details about the nature of the disturbance. This can then be easily shared with us to support your complaint.

Find out more about The Noise App from your Safer Estates Officer.

If you believe noise nuisance is being caused by domestic abuse and there are sounds as a result of fighting/arguing, you should phone the police if you think someone’s safety is at risk.


Noise Nuisance or Domestic Abuse?

Torus takes reports of anti-social behaviour (ASB) and noise nuisance seriously. However on some occasions, what may seem like a noise issue could be domestic abuse. Domestic abuse should not be confused with ASB it is a form of abuse which can result in serious harm, injury or even death. It affects adults as well as children. 

If you believe you witness or hear what you believe is domestic abuse, we ask you to be a good neighbour and help to keep others safe by reporting it straight away to the Police, DO NOT wait to report it to Torus as noise nuisance. This could lead to delays in victims receiving the right support quickly. 

Remember, be a good neighbour, report the crime and you may prevent someone being seriously harmed or worse.

Find out more and where to report