Noise tops list of neighbour complaintsFive million people annoyed by neighbours

16 June 2011

Neighbours dispute

Research from Which? Legal Service found noise tops the list of neighbour complaints

New research from Which? Legal Service finds at least five million people are currently annoyed with their neighbour - but a quarter fail to take any action.

The survey found noise tops the list of neighbour complaints with around three in five people annoyed by loud voices or arguing, blaring music and TVs. At least five million people are currently annoyed with their neighbour, and over 10 million have had a neighbour problem in the last year.

Sleepless nights

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, says: 'that so many people are losing sleep, getting stressed and struggling at work because of noise from next-door, shows the damage this does.'

A quarter of those affected are irritated by door slamming, a similar percentage have been disturbed by their neighbours' noisy pets, and one in five by regular parties. An unlucky five per cent have been privy to hearing their neighbours having sex.

Don't suffer in silence

The results show a quarter of people who are frustrated with their neighbours have made no attempts to rectify the problem. Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, says 'people needn't suffer in silence'.

'If trying to solve the problem with your neighbour doesn't work or simply isn't possible, then get in touch with your Local Authority who can take action for you.'

Resolving neighbour disputes

Our research showed 10% chose to take revenge by becoming nuisance neighbours themselves. A third spoke calmly to their neighbours about the issue, while one in five contacted their Local Authority. An unfortunate 17% of people were forced to call the police.

Which? Legal Service suggest the following top tips for dealing with neighbour disputes:

1. Note down disturbances: keep a diary of when noise or an incident occurs, and how long it lasts.

2. Speak calmly: talk to your neighbour about the problem to see if they will stop doing it.

3. Contact the freeholder: if you live in a flat and own the leasehold, contact the freeholder who may be able to take action against the other leaseholder.

4. Use your Local Authority: if there is no change, you can contact your Local Authority's Environmental Health Department who will investigate the issue and can prosecute where necessary.

5. Consider further action: if all else fails, consider legal proceedings, but these are costly and should only be considered after taking legal advice.

Get involved

Lawyers from Which? Legal Service are answering your nuisance neighbour questions on Thursday 16 and Friday 17 June. Why not resolve your nuisance neighbour issue by sending them a question.  

Are your neighbours driving you to distraction? Have you got any good examples of how you resolved the issue? Join the noisy neighbour debate on Which? Conversation.