Avoiding noise complaints

There are lots of practical things that you can do to make sure you’re not going to disturb others and affect their health and quality of life.

Understanding your community

You don’t live in a ‘student area’. You live in a community, which is made up of a diverse range of residents, with different backgrounds, experiences and outlooks on life. Some people will have lived inthe neighbourhood for generations, others will be living there for a year or two. Everyone has a right to live where they do, and to feel safe in their home.

>Noise is one of the most complained about events during the year, and so we’ve put together some tips and general information to avoid getting into trouble and facing serious consequences.

Who’s affected by noise nuisance?

Everybody is! There is no them and us. You might not know your neighbours, and might not realise what they’re going through. All of us in the community have the right to feel safe in our own home, and we expect you be respectful and kind to them.

  • Other students often complain – perhaps they’ve got a deadline, are trying to do their dissertation or are feeling poorly.
  • As a result of the pandemic, people who used to go to out to work might now be working from home during the day, or may be working shifts.
  • Young families might be living nearby, and trying to get young children to bed. An elderly resident may live on their own, feeling scared and anxious.
  • Mental health issues can escalate significantly when sleep is interrupted, or someone feels unsafe at home.

Find out more about how to report a problem with noise 

General tips to avoid getting into trouble

  • Call around to your neighbours and introduce yourself when you move in, and if you’re thinking of having friends round. Visitors and guests should be kept to low numbers to keep noise to acceptable levels. Usually the more people, the more noise.
  • Just one party can be all it takes – think it through beforehand. Don’t ruin your birthday with a fine, disciplinary action against you or a court appearance.
  • Local businesses were shut during a lot of the pandemic, and have really struggled. Support local venues by celebrating with them. They’re equipped for it, and it’s better for them, you and your neighbours. Go in and ask, find them on social media or give them a ring – they’ll be glad to help.
  • If a neighbour asks you to turn it down, then remember it’s taken a lot for them to come round and complain. Show the same amount of respect and empathy to them as you’d expect showing to you or a member of your family. 

Inside your student house

  • Check the noise regularly, particularly if you’ve got friends round. Go outside and see whether you can hear it – chances are if you can, then so can others and you’re at risk of getting into trouble.
  • Keeping doors and windows closed, especially in warm weather, will help to limit noise from travelling 
  • When playing music indoors, it should be at a reasonable volume, not capable of annoying neighbours, and not at a level audible outside the property. Regularly go outside and check!
  • Keep equipment away from adjoining walls and raised off the floor.
  • If you play a musical instrument or are a DJ, speak to your housemates and neighbours and agree a time that you can practice without disturbing them or book rehearsal rooms. Use headphones if you want to practice on your decks in the house.
  • Don’t use professional sound systems; it’s just not possible to keep noise to acceptable levels using professional equipment.
  • Turn the bass down – this can travel a long way.
  • It’s not just music – shouting, raised voices and slamming doors can cause frustration and distress to your neighbours

Outside the house

  • If you or any guests are outside (e.g. having a BBQ, playing sports in the street, smoking or waiting for taxis) please keep the volume to a minimum.
  • Noise nuisance can happen at any time, but when nearby households are trying to sleep, or unwind after the working day, this is when lots of complaints are made. Come inside and close doors and windows in the evening and at night.

Lasting Consequences

If you’re involved in a disturbance, you can get into serious trouble, and this can result in prosecution. 

Receiving a criminal record can have far reaching consequences for you:

  • If you wish to travel or emigrate abroad you may find that your criminal record restricts your entry to certain countries, regardless of when the conviction was received.
  • It could affect you future career, especially if you are going to be working with children and vulnerable adults, as the conviction would show on a Disclosure and Barring Service certificate.
  • Certain professions and regulatory bodies could immediately bar you.
  • You may not be shortlisted for a job, even if you have an outstanding application.
  • It may also affect you financially in the future when you apply for a mortgage, loans and insurance.

Find out more about the consequences you can face if you’re making a lot of noise in the community