How to Tackle a Noisy Neighbour – Don’t Retaliate!

How to deal with noisy neighbours - don't retaliate.

How to tackle a noisy neighbour

Picture the scene; your next door neighbour enjoys entertaining their friends on a regular basis (in fact most nights). They play music, chat and laugh until the small hours. Initially, you put up with some disruption; acknowledging that they are young and are just having fun.

It’s the third night in a row now though, your blood pressure is rising and you are starting to feel frantic. Eventually the red mist descends and a little voice in your head tells you what you must do. Within minutes you’ve: downloaded Cliff Richard’s greatest hits, pointed the speakers at the wall, pressed ‘repeat’, whacked the volume up, grabbed the car keys and left the house.

You come home a couple of hours later and turn off Cliff mid-flow. All is now quiet. Your action has provided a momentary sense of relief and gratification. However, that feeling quickly fades and that anxious feeling returns whilst you lay in bed thinking about the evening’s episode and what may lay ahead. (Afterall, you have just made a declaration of war).

Keep your cool – do not retaliate

It may be hard to resist but, in the long run, keeping your cool and maintaining the moral high ground will pay dividends. As well as the potential of wrecking neighbour relations completely and spoiling any chance of resolving your situation amicably there is also a more important and legal argument that stands against any form of retaliation.

Your own conduct may, in some circumstances, be an important consideration for enforcers and, ultimately, the courts. If you deliberately create noise to frustrate or as a reaction against perpetrators this will be seen as a malicious action and may amount to a nuisance. In other words, you might end up being the one who ends up in trouble!

The basis for this decision was established way back in 1893 when one man, affected by noise from an adjoining neighbour, banged on walls, beat trays and shouted in retaliation. It was found that his actions constituted a nuisance and an injunction was granted to restrain him. One of the central tenets to nuisance law is in whether the person causing the noise is acting in a reasonable manner. If you are able to keep your cool you will be able to avoid a counter-complaint and any claim that you have acted unreasonably.

If talking to your neighbour does not result in an improved situation you could consider mediation. We talk about the options for taking your own action in our tutorial.