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A member has asked for advice as follows:

We have a case where there is a house being used as a care home and they have one maybe two very noisy people in care. The noise has been so great that the Police have been called out more than once.

The query is what action a resident can take against incessant raised voices by neighbours.

The applicant claims they are using the property under C3, so up to 6 occupiers with care. That still does not allow the level of noise that is affecting the neighbours.

Any advice will be appreciated.”

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From the Secretary:

Noise disturbance is by far the most common anti-social behaviour reported to the police, local authorities and housing associations. It could be loud music and parties, lots of banging, construction or DIY in the middle of the night – anything that you consider unreasonable and is affecting your life.

Often, we do not know our neighbours or even see them.  This means it is much harder to talk to our neighbours about any noise they might be making that we think is unreasonable.

·       Report noise issues to the environmental health department of your local authority but prior to making a formal noise complaint to your Local Authority, it is strongly suggested you attempt to have a reasonable discussion with your neighbour or even write them a note to try and resolve the issue.  They may not even be aware that they are causing a problem.

·       Primarily, the Local Authority’s Environmental Health Team is responsible for investigating noise nuisance complaints e.g., loud music, dogs barking, door slamming or similar.

·       Don’t let a situation get out of control – if not dealt with quickly, it can escalate and end up involving the police.

·       Statutory Noise v Nuisance and Annoyance

o   In order for noise to be considered a statutory nuisance it must meet one of the following legal tests:

§  Unreasonably and substantially interfere with the use or enjoyment of a home or other premise

§  Injure health or be likely to injure health

If one of the above is met, then a Noise Abatement Notice can be served.

Environmental Health Officers have the ability to issue warning notices for noise between 11pm and 7am which does not meet the statutory threshold, but it is believed that it may exceed the permitted level.   The warning will request that the noise is reduced to the permitted level within a certain timeframe.  If this is not adhered to, a person may receive a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN), face prosecution or their noise equipment may even be seized.

However, what if, after investigating the noise does not meet the threshold to issue a Noise Abatement Notice or the noise is in the daytime but still ongoing and causing a nuisance and annoyance to you and possibly others residing nearby.   There are options such as mediation, good neighbour agreements, ABCs (Acceptable Behaviour Contract), tenancy warning letters and mediation that could be pursued.  In these instances, the housing association or landlord (if appropriate) or Local Authority Anti-Social Behaviour Team may be able to assist.

Furthermore, the ASB Crime and Policing Act 2014 introduced a power for Local Authorities and Police to issue what is known as a Community Protection Warning (CPW) and Community Protection Notice (CPN) and these have been used in cases whereby the noise is having a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those within the locality, persistent and continuing in nature and unreasonable.

The link to the above legislation is at https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2014/12/contents/enacted

·       Keep a diary of the events, logging the date, the time, and a description and how long the disturbance persists.   This will be of use in providing evidence to your local authority or other body involved if action is deemed to be appropriate.

From Leeds:

This is Use Class C3b, “up to six people living together as a single household and receiving care.”  Residents in student areas experience this all the time.  Whoever is running the care (home) has a responsibility to the neighbours.

From Durham:

All noise nuisance from a property is the responsibility of the council, as is planning matters.

C3 is for a family home. 3 or more unrelated occupants sharing facilities is an HMO and needs C4 permission.

Care homes I believe come under further regulation in terms of approval and oversight. Again, I would assume Council responsibility.

First step is local Ward councillors.

From Chatham:

This would seem like it is a home for people with autism or a learning disability.

My comments would be is the home properly registered with the care quality commission (CQC). If it is then what organisation is providing the service?

There should be risk assessments for each resident on how reduce or de-escalate the behaviour described.

The only other option is to raise a safeguarding concern with social services.  Do we know why people are being noisy?  That intervention will involve the appropriate organisations to help manage the residents safely.

From Leamington:

I believe that this is a quite difficult situation to deal with.

The District Council Environmental Health unit used to deal with excessive night time noise …  This was usually down to someone playing their hi fi too loud and I believe that they were empowered to seize the offending equipment in an extreme case. When the noise is raised voices – I am not sure how this would be dealt with but in the first instance the Environmental Health Dept. would be a good place to start.

From St Albans:

Having had a property in our neighbourhood set up as a home for single homeless people, we have had a little experience of dealing with such things and although ongoing noise has not been a problem, there have been one or two issues to deal with.   Our Chair has been much involved with making contacts with the company running the home and suggests the following actions which helped in our area and I hope may help your other members.

First of all, who runs the home? Is there a concierge/ carer on site arrangement – sounds like this is not the case here. So, whoever runs the home needs to be contacted, made aware, and hopefully take appropriate action. Be friendly and reasonable but firm – ask for a meeting etc, don’t be fobbed of. Ask for a number to ring, maybe at night when the noise is bad. Keep email trace of calls made, do back up emails to any calls made.

Speak to local councillors, get them in on the act to offer support and possibly raise the stakes – so i.e., copy Cllr in on any emails to whoever runs the home.

Speak to the police, the local community officer who will know of the call-outs – keep a note of the call outs.

The local council may have a noise policy – make contact, use it, ask for advice. Record noise on phone when it is happening.

Look at any neighbourhood mediation schemes where neighbours can be brought together to iron out issues such as the above.

I hope that may be of some use.

From High Wycombe:

First of all, they need to be reported to the council and the police.

If there is a resident association, they need to be notified they are a nuisance.

If they are renting, they need to be reported to their real estate agent.

It all comes down to a decision by a judge to make them comply or leave or pay damages if there are any.

Regards,

Secretary,

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