Domestic noise nuisance


We recently had a noise disturbance and the Tenant quoted the "Noise Act 1996", (which states music can be played until 11pm) but the council do not use this piece of legislation and instead use the Environmental Protection Act 1990 which means that noise can be a nuisance at any time of the day or night if at unreasonable levels and affecting peoples enjoyment of their property. The council will then serve the occupiers with a Noise Abatement Notice.


Currently, we also have: The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 which place restrictions on social gatherings during this emergency period due to the Covid 19 pandemic.  Tenants are required to adhere to this and where this is not to be the case, Police would be informed, with further sanctions considered.


Frequently asked questions about domestic noise nuisance

Can I play music as loud as I want up until 11 pm?

No this is a myth; you cannot make as much noise as you like until 11 pm. Noise that is likely to impact on neighbours can be a nuisance at any time of the day or night if played at unreasonable levels.


What noises are considered a nuisance?

Action can be taken for certain noises if they occur either at unreasonable times or volumes, such as:

  • Amplified music or noise from radio, television or stereo
  • Noise from DIY activities at unreasonable times
  • Intruder alarms
  • Persistent dog barking

The council are unable to deal with other lifestyle noise such as

  • noise from children playing
  • the normal use of appliances such as vacuum cleaners, washing machines, DIY tools etc.

Is there a noise level set in law?

There is no noise level set in law. Noise is a subjective assessment; therefore, loud music being played from a detached property is unlikely to cause a nuisance whereas the same level of music in a block of flats is likely to cause a nuisance. Environmental Health Officers are qualified and trained to assess whether a noise is likely to be a statutory nuisance. They are also authorised to take legal action to stop the statutory nuisance.


What information does the council have?

Bournemouth council will ask the person complaining to complete noise record form. This information is essential to gain sufficient evidence for Bournemouth Council to investigate the complaint. Once Bournemouth Council have received this information and the noise continues they may install sensitive noise-monitoring equipment into the home of the person making the complaint. This equipment can be left in for up to 2 weeks if necessary.


Bournemouth Council may arrange for officers to visit at times that the noise is likely to happen in order to witness and assess the extent of the nuisance.

In addition, they have officers who work out of office hours. If called out they will attend and take any necessary action to address the nuisance.


What will Bournemouth council do if you get evidence that I am being too noisy?

If they are satisfied that your actions are unreasonable and are causing or are likely to cause a Statutory Nuisance they will serve an Abatement Notice requiring you to stop causing the nuisance immediately.


What if I keep being noisy?

If you keep being noisy after an Abatement Notice has been served on you, they will take legal action and you will be prosecuted in the Magistrates Court. This can leave you with a County Court Judgement (CCJ) against you which affects your credit rating and you can be fined an unlimited amount.  They can also get a warrant to come into your home and take away any noise making equipment such as stereos’ laptops, TV’s and speakers, they will then ask the courts to make an order for this equipment to be destroyed when they prosecute you.

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