On this page you will find advice for residents who are being disturbed by noise. It gives you guidance for how to deal with the situation, either with or without making a complaint.
Talking to your neighbour
It’s important to approach your neighbour as soon as possible before the problem gets out of control. Many problems can be dealt with in a friendly way, without the need for further action.
You may be nervous about approaching your neighbour, but remember that they may not know that they are causing a problem. Often they will be embarrassed and be more considerate in future.
Before you approach your neighbour, plan what you are going to say. If you are calm and pleasant then they will be more likely to respond positively to your complaint.
Never approach your neighbour when the noise is actually happening. You are more likely to be angry and have an argument with them. If it’s late at night and your neighbour is playing music loudly or having a party, they may have been drinking alcohol. If this is the case, they are less likely to understand your point of view and may think you are just trying to spoil their fun.
Before you approach your neighbour, it’s important to think about the risk to your personal safety and property. If you feel frightened or intimidated by your neighbour and you’re worried that they may be aggressive, approaching them to complain may not be the best option for you.
If the direct approach does not work, you could use a go-between or ‘mediator’. You could approach the Portsmouth mediation service. They provide a free mediation service in which impartial mediators listen to your concerns and help you to find a way forward. The service is available to all residents of Portsmouth.
The service will listen to what you have to say and discuss what you can do next. This may help you to resolve the difficulty yourself. If you want, they can also contact your neighbour and listen to what they have to say. If everyone wants to resolve the difficulty, the mediators will work with you to establish the best way forward.
If you would like further information you can contact the mediation service:
Complaining to the council
When talking to your neighbour is not possible or doesn’t work, you can deal with noise problems by taking formal action, such as complaining to us or the magistrates’ court.
Our noise team has a wide range of legal powers to act against noise and noisy neighbours. We will usually contact your neighbour to let them know we are investigating a noise complaint, and the procedure involved. However, we don’t tell them who has complained or release any of your personal details.
- You can make a noise complaint online here.
Complain to the magistrates' court
If we do not take action, or if you don’t want to involve us, you can complain about a noise problem directly to a magistrates’ court.
The first step to take is to seek advice from the clerk at the court. Before you start legal proceedings, you must write to the noise maker and explain that you intend to take legal action. The noise maker must receive 3 days’ written notice before you begin proceedings.
You will need to persuade the magistrates’ court that the noise problem amounts to a statutory nuisance. Therefore, it’s important that you keep a written record of the dates, times and duration of the noise, as well as a description of it and the distress it causes you.
What happens at court?
If you win the court case, the court will issue an order telling the offender to stop the noise nuisance and what they have to do to achieve this. The court may also give the noise maker a fine.
If the court finds that the nuisance existed at the date of making the complaint, they may award you the reasonable costs incurred by you in bringing the action against the noise maker. If you don’t win, you may have to pay your own costs and the costs of the person you have taken to court.
What if the noise carries on?
As with our procedure, if someone breaks the rules of a court order and carries on making noise without a reasonable excuse, they will be guilty of an offence and can be fined.