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Islington & Shoreditch Housing Association (ISHA)
102 Blackstock Road
London N4 2DR

0300 131 7300

0300 131 7300

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When Does Noise Become a Nuisance?

What Is Noise Nuisance?

Noise is part of everyday life in a densely populated environment, but it can become a nuisance when the level and frequency make an unreasonable invasion on your right to peace and quiet.

Noise nuisance can range from playing loud music or listening to the television at unreasonable levels, to shouting or slamming doors loudly and inconsiderate use of electrical appliances.  Removing flooring such as carpets or installing wooden/laminate flooring could result in excessive noise to neighbouring properties.

It is one of the most common complaints made to landlords and Local Authorities.  We will investigate noise nuisance complaints and take action if we find the noise is statutory and not the result of everyday living. 

What is everyday noise?

The quality of sound insulation has changed over the years and in older properties or properties built using certain building methods, you can often hear your neighbours more than you want to. Examples such as footsteps, talking, dropping objects or children playing are everyday noise and there will be little that we can do about it. You may have to learn to live with that noise. Legally, they are entitled to go about their life creating normal amounts of noise without having to worry about how it affects you.

Today we do not always know our neighbours. This also means that they do not know us.  They may not know you work shift work or have been up all night with dependents, or are unwell. If you are constantly disturbed you may want to discuss this with them and come up with an agreement that you can both manage.  (See what can I do if I am experiencing noise nuisance).

Here are some tips for you to follow if you feel that you would like to deal with a relatively small incident of anti-social behaviour yourself.

  • Ask yourself if you are being reasonable
  • Go to the person calmly and explain the problems you are experiencing
  • Don’t shout or be abusive.  Never discuss it with your neighbour if you are angry as this won’t help matters.

What is Statutory Noise Nuisance?

Local Authorities have a duty to deal with statutory noise and where applicable we will work in partnership with them when dealing with the most serious cases.

When assessing the potential for statutory nuisance the Environmental Services Officer from the Local Authority will need to base their judgement on a number of factors.

These include:

  • How loud the noise is and how long it lasts
  • How intrusive it is
  • How frequent the intrusion is
  • The area you live in
  • Whether it is a one-off or continuing problem
  • The time of day
  • Whether it is deliberate or not
  • What steps the alleged perpetrator has taken to avoid or reduce the nuisance
  • The activity causing the noise nuisance

Ultimately, a statutory nuisance is a matter to be decided by the Local Authority. The Environmental Officers will exclude matters which present themselves as irritations or annoyances. The noise must therefore be excessive and unreasonable.

If you want information  as to the best way of dealing with noise our Houisng Experts are available to give you advice.  You can contact them by calling 0300 131 7300 or by emailing

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