Summer time is the wrong time for noisy neighbours

The sun is out, you’re preparing to go on holiday or spend a lazy weekend sipping iced drinks and eating barbecue food in the back garden. What can possibly go wrong? Unfortunately despite the sunshine, summer and the holidays don’t always go smoothly. You don’t want to worry when you should be enjoying the season, so QualitySolicitors have done the worrying for you, with a series of humorous but helpful scenarios.

John Baden-Daintree, Head of Legal Services for QualitySolicitors said:

At this time of year, the last thing most of us want to be worrying about is the law – but summer and holidays do throw up some interesting legal conundrums. We’ve put together a series of light-hearted scenarios which illustrate potential summer legal problems.  It’s part of our effort to demystify law. We hope our stories will cause a smile or two as well as make the law a little clearer.”

Al fresco nuisance

With British summer consisting of the three days a year that you can enjoy your garden without having to wear waders, what happens when the party animals next door have the same idea?

Imagine a warm evening in mid-July, and you and your partner decide to eat dinner in the garden with a glass of wine and enjoy the weather after a long hard day at work. However, to your annoyance, your neighbours have had the same idea… with 20 of their friends, some loud speakers and some of the latest dance hits. The problem is, it’s Wednesday night, and this is the third night this week that they’ve had this idea.

Do you put up with the music and shouting until the early hours, when you know that you have that 9am conference call and the children are trying to sleep? Although the short answer is ‘no’, the manner in which you handle the situation will make all the difference.

Firstly, have you spoken to the neighbours (once their hangovers have worn off)? They might not realise that they are being a nuisance. Choose your timing well, and perhaps invite them around for a coffee to discuss it.

If this does not work, you could consider making a complaint to the local Environmental Health department and request that an Environmental Health Officer comes out to assess the neighbours’ decibel levels. They will be able to advise you further on the action that they can take.

If you believe that the neighbour’s behaviour is of a more anti-social level, you could report the matter to the police. You may need to be a witness if they take the matter to court, and you will need to consider whether you are prepared to do this.

You could try going through mediation. This may help as a third party who is independent will be able to try and help both parties understand the other’s point of view and come to a mutual understanding.

Are your neighbours tenants? You could try and find out who their landlord is, to see if they can help to sort the matter out. Most landlords want as few problems with their tenants as possible, especially where noise is concerned, and a word from them might have the required outcome.

If all else fails, you could speak to a solicitor about writing to your neighbours, setting out the issues and suggesting a way for both of you to move forward in the most amicable way possible. If this makes no difference, you may have to consider making an application through the courts to obtain an order, preventing them from causing a nuisance, putting an end to their party.

QualitySolicitors are a national network of law firms with over 100 offices across the UK.  During this (hopefully) long hot summer, a series of scenarios will be posted on, illustrating the Law of Summer, including:

  • How delayed does your holiday flight have to be before you are entitled to some sort of compensation?
  • What does your contract with the deck chair attendant entitle you to if the chair collapses underneath you?
  • Your barbecue poisons your guests. Are you liable?
  • The garden party is ruined when a gardening firm accidentally kills your lawn. What can you do?
  • How much does flesh does your bikini have to cover for it not to be considered an affront to public decency?
  • It’s an August heatwave and while many of your colleagues are on holiday, you’re stuck in a sweltering office.  How hot is too hot?
  • Suit and tie, or crop top and skimpy shorts. Can the boss enforce a dress code?
Posted in: Criminal defence

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