Noise - top tips for keeping the sound down
Noise from neighbours is a common source of disturbance. The most frequent reports we receive are about loud music, dogs barking, banging doors and DIY activities. Remember that no house or flat is totally soundproof.
We must all live within the constraints of our individual properties. Gardens tend to offer minimal sound insulation so your activities can have a greater effect on neighbours. Everyone can expect some noise from the people who live around them, and we ask that you’re tolerant of this.
Here are some tips for reducing noise in the home to minimise disturbance to neighbours.
Alarms are designed to make a noise – however misfiring alarms can be very disturbing and annoying.
- Ensure you choose a reliable product and ensure it’s serviced regularly.
- Car and intruder alarms should have a 20-minute cut out.
DIY jobs – such as drilling and hammering - can create a lot of noise.
- Whenever possible, let your neighbours know that you’re undertaking noisy work and try to work during normal waking hours.
- Carry out the noisiest tasks in the middle of the day – if you must start early, do quieter jobs first.
- Keep tools well maintained and use lower/quieter settings on power tools where feasible. Where possible use hand tools.
Our gardens are a place to rest, relax and play. Remember that any noise you make in your garden will be heard by your neighbours.
- Try and carry out noisy activities in the middle of the day - for example mowing the lawn.
- Where possible, purchase quieter equipment and maintain your equipment properly.
- If a child’s toy or game is extremely noisy, try and find quieter alternatives.
- If you have a barbeque or party, tell your neighbours, avoid amplified music outside and if anyone does complain, turn it down. Either end your party or bring your guests indoors at a reasonable time.
Take care when closing doors – particularly if you live in a flat with a shared entrance – and particularly late at night and early in the morning.
- Cupboard doors can also be annoying. Avoid slamming doors. Inexpensive adhesive furniture pads can be a very effective way of reducing noise by sticking these to the inside of the cupboard door or around an internal door frame.
- When considering floor coverings, we ask that residents in flats do not lay laminate flooring. Research has shown that when a carpet is removed and replaced with wood or laminate flooring, the noise your neighbour in the property below experiences will increase significantly.
Music tastes vary so don’t assume just because you like a song your neighbour will want to hear it as well.
- With amplified sound, keep the volume down, especially the bass which can be more annoying than higher frequencies. Don’t put speakers on or close to party walls, ceilings or floors.
- If you have a bedroom TV, keep it quiet at night – especially if your bedroom adjoins someone else’s.
- If playing an instrument, practice where and when it’ll have least impact on neighbours.
- Where possible, use headphones.
- Be mindful of open windows.
- Dogs bark – but only bark a lot if they’re not content. If you must leave your dog alone, make sure it’s well exercised and fed. Some dogs like a radio for company, or get a friend or neighbour to look in. If your dog continues to bark, consider dog training.
- Cats can wail and fight – as they’re independent they can be difficult to manage – however if a neighbour complains about your cat, at least try and keep it in at night.
- If you have a caged bird that likes to sing and squawk, make sure it’s kept where it’ll least disturb neighbours, particularly at night.
- Some caged pets tend to be more active at night - chewing and rattling their cages. Consider carefully where and how such pets are housed.
- When buying new appliances, buy a quieter model – not all models have a noise rating, but look out for the “Quiet Mark”. Where possible, position them to cause the least disturbance to your neighbour.
- For washing machines, if possible, place on an even floor; don’t overload it and run the machine at a time when it’ll least disturb neighbours – remember the final spin is the noisiest bit.
- Do the vacuuming at a reasonable time – especially if you live in a flat or terrace. Avoid early morning or late night cleaning sprees.
- In the kitchen, avoid banging pans and cupboard doors and don’t use blenders/grinders on surfaces attached to party walls.
- Avoid slamming front doors or communal entrance doors, particularly late at night or early morning.
- If expecting a visitor/taxi, ask them to knock rather than sound the horn and try not to slam your door or car doors.
What can you do?
If you’re being disturbed by your neighbour, follow the guidance on our noise nuisance pages.