Being a considerate neighbour
We recognise that problems with neighbours are very common, and we will do what we can to help. We cannot get involved if it is a dispute between neighbours where no one is actually doing anything wrong, but we will intervene if someone is in breach of their tenancy – including taking legal action against the most serious forms of nuisance and antisocial behaviour.
Some examples of nuisance are excessive noise from music or appliances, shouting late at night, dumping of cars or rubbish, persistent noise and mess caused by dogs, and obstructing communal areas.
Noise is probably the most common cause of problems between neighbours. From time to time all of us can be bothered by noise – usually other people’s. We also often make noise that affects others, and a lot of this noise can be avoided.
Noise can cause problems depending on:
- How loud it is.
- How long it lasts.
- How often it occurs.
- What time if the day or night it happens.
Some simple ways of minimising noise problems are:
- Talk to your neighbours about what they can hear from your home, particularly if it is a flat.
- Keep noise from radios, hi-fis, and TVs to reasonable levels, particularly if you have the windows open, and ensure that no such noise can be heard from your home after 11pm at night.
- Restrict cleaning and DIY activities to reasonable hours.
- If you have permission to keep a dog, ensure it is not left barking in your home or garden for long periods.
- Tell your neighbours if you intend to hold a party.
- Do not stand outside on balconies or in gardens late at night. Noise from people’s voices can travel into neighbouring properties.
- Ask guests to leave quietly, without banging doors or revving car engines.
Radios, stereos, TVs and musical instruments
- Keep the volume as low as possible, especially late at night, (if the music can be heard in another room it’s probably too loud). Use headphones, or listen to music on a personal stereo.
- The bass element of the music causes the most disturbance – keep it as low as possible when not using headphones.
- If you play a musical instrument, try not to practice early in the morning or late in the evening/at night.
- If the instrument has an amplifier, turn the volume down, or preferably use headphones.
- Position fridges, freezers, washing machines and loudspeakers well away from the party walls.
- Stand washing machines/spin dryers on a solid floor, or place on a carpet or rubber mat to reduce vibration.
- Do noisy jobs, or operate noisy equipment such as washing machines and vacuum cleaners, during the day.
- Mow the lawn and use garden equipment such as power tools at a reasonable time.
- Noise can travel through walls and floors. If people live below you, fit carpets and underlay. Avoid fitting speakers to party walls. Close doors gently, don’t slam them.
Household repairs and improvements
- Carry out noisy operations during the day, keeping the evening for less noisy work, such as painting and decorating.
- Don’t leave DIY equipment running – switch it off when not in use. Hired equipment, e.g. mixers and generators, are often more powerful than DIY versions, and can be noisier.
- Complete the work as quickly as possible.
- Let your neighbours know beforehand if you are carrying out potentially noisy operations, using power tools or working on party walls or floors. Use hand tools wherever possible.
- Don’t rev engines excessively.
- Close doors quietly and use horns only in emergencies.
- Keep in-car music levels down and keep windows closed.
- If possible, carry out work in a garage.
- Try to do noisy repairs during the day (and avoid Sundays).
- Don’t repair anyone else’s car.
- Don’t speed around streets in groups, or ride on open spaces near houses. Keep to special tracks if provided.
(You must seek permission from us to have a dog.)
- Don’t let your dog bark or whine for long periods, or leave it alone for too long.
- Keep your dog indoors if it barks constantly when unattended or disturbed. If your dog still barks when indoors, make arrangements to leave it with a neighbour or friend, or get someone to call in. Leave its favourite toy, or put the radio on at a low volume.
- Exercise your dog regularly, and clean up after it.
- Have your dog microchipped.
Whilst playing, children can unintentionally disturb others. Ball games in particular often cause nuisance and disturbance to neighbours.
- Don’t allow children to kick footballs against walls and fences.
- Don’t allow children to play ball games indoors, particularly in communal spaces such as hallways and landings.
- Don’t allow children to play in parking areas.
- Do remind children that they must not climb over fences to retrieve balls.
- Do encourage children to use local parks and designated play spaces.
- Do remind children to take notice of ‘no ball games’ signs.
Car parking often causes friction between neighbours. The parking arrangements for Hexagon properties vary according to the location, so we cannot give detailed guidance here, but please contact your Housing Officer to see if there are any particular arrangements where you live.
Living in Flats – Obstructing Communal Areas
If you live in a flat, it is very important that the shared areas inside the building are kept clear. Obstructions such as bicycles can be a nuisance to other residents, and could impede your exit in case of an emergency.
What to do if you have a Complaint about Your neighbour
If you have a nuisance complaint about your neighbour, as a first step, try talking to them in a tactful manner, as they may not realise the effect their actions are having. If this proves unsuccessful in resolving the matter, discuss it with a Customer Services Advisor, or your Housing Officer, who will be able to advise you on what action you and we can take.
Wherever possible, we will work with you and your neighbour to try and work out your differences. We will not ‘take sides’, but will remain neutral. We will either try to mediate ourselves or, with you and your neighbour’s agreement, use one of the local mediation agencies to do so. This approach is usually effective in reaching a solution that is acceptable to both sides. We will contact you periodically to check if the incidents of nuisance have reduced.
We will only take legal action against a tenant who is in serious breach of their tenancy. We must have sufficient evidence of the anti-social behaviour if we are to be successful, which may mean you or other witnesses having to appear in court. We will work with the police in trying to resolve these serious cases, sharing information with them as required. We may seek an injunction, which is an order from the court to prevent a person from doing something or, in the case of anti-social behaviour carried out by children, we may try to obtain an Anti-Social Behaviour Order. We may also seek possession of the home in very serious cases.
Legal action against anti-social behaviour can also be brought by the environmental health departments of local authorities. Individuals can also go to court to try and stop anti-social behaviour; if you want to take legal action yourself, you should get advice from a Citizens’ Advice Bureau, law centre or solicitor.
We have an information pack that explains our approach in more detail. It includes a summary of our Nuisance and Anti-social Behaviour Policy and Procedure statement.
Please ask the Customer Services Centre for a copy.