Many people are experiencing difficulties and stresses because of the ongoing restrictions in place due to the Coronavirus.
These restrictions are clearly essential to reduce the spread of the virus, and protect everyone's health and save lives. We all must play our part in this. This does mean, however, that you may be seeing and hearing more of your neighbours than you are used to.
In some situations, this may lead to frustrations or annoyance with, for example; noise you don't want to hear, smoke from a garden bonfire or children playing outside. The guidance in the sections below provides useful information during this time.
Social distancing and neighbourly advice
- Be friendly and thoughtful
We would urge you to act more thoughtfully towards your neighbours - think about how noise from your home could be causing problems and upset to others.
- Showing tolerance
We would also urge you to be more tolerant and patient with noise and activity that you won't be used to hearing. There is a real need for us all to show some good will at this time.
- Be respectful
Consider the impact you have on your neighbours in the way you act. Respect each other's privacy. Please be especially mindful of noise levels and consider vulnerable residents and essential key workers doing shift work.
Top tips on being a good neighbour
Below is some specific advice on things you can do, to help avoidable tensions and annoyance to your neighbours.
Everyday household living generates noise, whether that's the washing machine, doors closing or the TV. However, disputes can occur when people are inconsiderate to others in how much noise they create. It's important to acknowledge the noise your household creates and think about the impact it might have on your neighbours.
Consider the lifestyle of your neighbours, for example are they retired or do they have young children? With this in mind, be aware of the effects noise from your property may have on them, as well as the types of normal living noise you may hear from their property (from children playing, for example).
If you're approached or contacted by a neighbour and asked to keep your noise down, please react positively. Respect their right to enjoy their home without hearing all that is going on in yours.
Keep in mind the need to maintain a two-metre distance from any of your neighbours and take responsibility for the behaviour of your children.
Stereo's, TV and music
The noise from a TV or stereo are the most frequent causes for complaint. What is considered as entertainment for one person can be torture for someone else. Avoid playing music so loud that your neighbours can hear it and keep the bass level down.
Try to position any speakers away from adjoining walls, floors and ceilings. Placing speakers on an insulating material can also reduce the transmission of sound. Loud music in the garden is more likely to cause a problem to your neighbours - try to keep it at, or below, conversation level or wear headphones.
It's a common misunderstanding that anyone is allowed to play their music as much and as loudly as they like, up to 11pm. This is completely wrong, so don't make that mistake. Noise nuisance can be caused at any time of day or night.
If playing musical instruments, please keep practices short and at reasonable times. If you can, do it in a room the furthest away from your neighbours. If you're a neighbour who can hear someone practicing, be prepared to be patient.
The current Government restrictions on socialising mean that you shouldn't be socialising with anyone who you don't live with, including in any outdoor areas.
Any complaint concerning noise from a party or a social gathering will be investigated, as this may not only amount to a noise disturbance but also a breach of the Governments Coronavirus social distancing requirements. This is not acceptable behaviour, or a type of behaviour that is likely to be tolerated.
Given the circumstances, you may be tempted to have 'online' parties in your home. If you do, please keep the volume down, particularly the bass, or use headphones. Avoid any loud, late night parties. Homes aren't the place to replicate a pub or night club environment. If someone complains, be prepared to accept you're probably disturbing quite a few others too. Turn the music down or use headphones.
Banging doors and stamping feet
Sound can travel quite easily through walls and floors, so be aware of what is next door. Avoid slamming doors and running up or down stairs, especially if you live in a flat or terraced house. Close doors gently and use the handle, don't push it closed.
If you have laminate or wood flooring, consider the use of rugs in areas with high footfall or where children play, to reduce noise.
Complaints about dog barking often happen because dogs are left at home alone for long periods of time. There are practical steps dog owners can take to minimise dog barking and prevent noise nuisance.
Late night deliveries
Due to the Coronavirus outbreak the government has extended delivery hours to include night time deliveries for supermarkets and other food retailers.
Some people may choose to complete DIY tasks that they've been meaning to get around to, during this period of restriction. Whilst you may enjoy putting your time at home to good use, your neighbours will not enjoy long periods of drilling, sawing or hammering. The impact this could have on your neighbours during this difficult time could be greater than you think.
If you can do so, whilst maintaining social distancing of a minimum of two metres, talk to your neighbours about the works you want to do and any parts of it that might be noisy. Most people will be understanding and accommodating, but you should be prepared to compromise if there are times that your neighbour asks you to avoid for a genuine reason.
In any situation, unless it's an emergency, don't do this sort of work in the evening or early in the morning, particularly over the weekend.
Report anti-social behaviour or neighbour issue
This page contains some guidance around behaviours during COVID-19, but in the event you wish to report an incident with your neighbour, please note the changes to our response during this time.
During COVID-19, reports of nuisance and anti-social behaviour will be triaged. You will receive a response to determine whether your information will simply be logged at this time or whether an officer will be in contact with you to investigate your complaint. To report an issue: