“It has been nearly eight years and I am still here … but flagging.“ ‘Janet’, Luton
Many of us hear some noise from next-door from time-to-time. Many of us make noise which at times can be particularly loud – especially when children are around, or when we need to do some DIY, or perhaps we get into an argument and voices are raised, or we have the odd celebratory party. We must all learn to be tolerant of our neighbours and reasonable in what we consider excessive noise.
However, for some people, those noisy moments can suddenly turn into an intolerable Noise Nightmare. A nightmare that threatens to take over every area of their lives, a nightmare that means their home is no longer a relaxing and enjoyable place to be.
This week is Noise Action Week – here are some true stories of people suffering today with their own personal noise nightmare:
1. ‘Janet’ in Luton knows all about how a noise nightmare can go on for years. “It has been nearly eight years and I am still here … but flagging” she says. Next door has large parties on a regular basis, especially weekends. They are out in the garden with teenagers screaming and shouting up to 3 or 4am. They also harass her by throwing stones at her windows. ‘Janet’ feels like they are more supported by the Council as Council tenants – she as a home owner is unable to move (because she would need to declare the ongoing dispute with her neighbours) and must suffer alone. “I wish I had more support“, she tells us, “but people get bored with hearing about it.”
2. A couple of pensioners in Stockport, one aged 77 with heart problems, cannot sleep in their own bedroom due to the noise from next door’s radio. They are sharing a single bed in their other bedroom. They are unable to watch their television and feel their conversations are being overheard and telephone listened into. They are at the end of their tether and feel they can’t take it anymore.
3. Another couple in Stoke-on-Trent are unable to watch their TV because their neighbour has her TV on so loud. Add to that the fact her dogs are barking and she lets them bark constantly all day long. As a result they feel stressed and on edge and are not sleeping properly, which in turn will affect their ability to cope. “Even when we get an odd moment of peace,” they say, “we can’t enjoy it as we just sit wondering when the next incident is going to be.” Their noise nightmare continues – they spoke directly to her first but she was aggressive and abusive. They turned to the local agencies but were not taken seriously and told the noise wasn’t loud enough and to ‘just ignore her’.
4. Fred in Bristol hears constant intermittent loud banging on a daily basis with a cacophony of noise – internal and external doors banging, running across the floor, jumping from a height, thudding on his wall when they are playing X-box – all of which can go on until late at night. Fred feels trapped because although the Council was willing to accept his complaint, he was too scared to follow it through as an older person living on his own. He accepts part of the issue will be the laminate flooring and no soft furnishings to absorb the noise, but his house is where he spends all his time, making his noise nightmare particularly difficult to cope with.
To submit your story to us please complete our survey – the more people we hear from, the louder a voice we can give you as we meet with frontline agencies to improve the way the legislation works for you.
Tips when in a Noise Nightmare
- Stay calm and don’t retaliate. See our tips on controlling frustration and fury.
- Gather Evidence to build up a picture of the problem.
- Don’t suffer in silence. Report it and find out what help is available to you. You may feel frightened but you are entitled to support.
- If no-one is taking you seriously but you are still suffering, perhaps it’s time to activate the Community Trigger and insist on a multi-agency review of your case.
- For more information about noise see these pages: http://asbhelp.co.uk/noisy-neighbours-noise/ and http://asbhelp.co.uk/measuring-noise/.