I Have Noisy Neighbours, Is My Landlord Responsible?

Noisy Neighbours Landlord Responsibility

Consider this scenario (in fact, you probably don’t need to consider it, you’re probably living it, hence why you’re here!): you find the perfect flat or house to rent. It’s close to your work, plenty of amenities, and the landlord seems like a stand-up folk. Or not.

Either way, you move in, and it all seems rather livable. Except, you abruptly get woken up at night at 2AM with music blasting from your neighbours. Horrendous music, to boot. And then it happens again the next night.

Noisy neighbours are a big nuisance that can violate your quality of life (and sanity). If the unauthorised early hour wake up calls are a standard occurrence, your life can quickly become unbearable. This cannot continue!

So, life is hell and you’re miserable, but should your landlord have told you about that noisy neighbour? Is it your landlord’s responsibility to manage the God awful racket?

Believe it or not – you probably won’t – but Landlords [in England & wales] are shackled down by rigorous and strict responsibilities, which they are legally obligated to abide by to protect their tenants, but alas, the list isn’t entirely all-encompassing. When it comes to noisy neighbours, the landlord’s responsibility is not black and white, unfortunately. But there are practical steps you can take to resolve the situation…

Landlord liability: what they have to tell you!

Does a landlord have to tell you that a perfect flat comes attached with a noisy neighbour? Well, yes and no.

Landlords have a duty of care for their tenants, so it stands to reason they should be completely open about the pros and cons of the property they are renting. You, the tenant, can then make an informed decision regarding whether or not to sign the tenancy agreement.

According to this article on the Landlords Guild, legally landlords do not have to disclose these types of nuisances to potential tenants of their own accord.

Can you hold landlords accountable for noisy neighbours?

The landlord didn’t tell you you have a noisy neighbour, and you’re officially done. Can you take them to court?

Well, it depends. And if you can, it’s likely to be an ‘orrible uphill battle.

I know, I know, not exactly the answer you were hoping for!

Obviously, a landlord is not responsible for the actions of their tenants or their tenants’ neighbours. At least, I hope that’s obvious to you. So, if a noisy neighbour disrupts the peace and quiet, the landlord isn’t necessarily to blame, since the landlord is not the one causing the ruckus.

However, the landlord could be liable for the actions of the neighbour if, for instance, the landlord encourages the disruption or assists it in any way. In the case of a noisy neighbour, the landlord may be held responsible if, for example, they rent the property next to yours as a music venue and didn’t disclose it. Crickey, that would be amusing (unless you’re the poor neighbour).

However, if you directly asked the landlord about any audible nuisances in the area before signing the tenancy agreement, and they willingly fail to disclose the existence of the noisy dip-shit neighbour – even if they knew about it – then you may have a case for legal action as it could be considered a breach of contract. However, bear in mind, the excruciating reality is that it’s most likely going to be impossible terribly painful to prove that the landlord knew about the noisy neighbours in the first place (even if they did).

Like I said, uphill battle.

How tenants can deal with noisy neighbours!

You have a couple of options here, and perhaps the best approach is to take one step at a time (yes, that sounds slow and tedious, and that’s because it is, but it’s practical):

  1. Talk to your landlord
    The landlord responsibility still includes ensuring their tenants and neighbours can get along, if not from a legal point of view, then at least as a way to preserve their reputation. So even if you can’t take them to court, you should still reach out to them for help when dealing with a noisy neighbour.
  2. Talk to your noisy neighbour
    Official government guidelines for settling disputes recommend talking and trying to reason with the noisy neighbour first, as a way to reach a compromise.

    The tenant may not even realise they’re being a complete and utter nuisance. Yes, that’s unlikely, but you never know?

  3. Mediation
    If talking it out doesn’t work, a professional mediation service may come in handy, and get each party to reach an agreement so everyone’s happy. Mediation involves talking about the issue at hand, and negotiating so that everyone is, in a sense at least, content with the outcome.

    If you’re in England & wales, you can find a mediation provider in your area from here.

  4. Small claims court
    As a last resort, the noisy neighbour may be taken to small claims court, especially if their behaviour is causing harm, such as preventing you from resting which affects your performance at work, or making a pre-existing condition worse.

    Section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 lets people take their own legal action if they’re experiencing noise problems. If you decide to try this and are successful, the court will give your neighbour a “noise abatement order” and it can give them a fine.

    The idea of having to take neighbours to court isn’t something people look fondly towards, but in some cases, it may be your only shot to get some peace and tranquillity.

Ultimately, your landlord is responsible to ensure that all their tenants can feel safe and comfortable in the home they’re renting, which also means they should step in to help you resolve the noisy neighbour manner swiftly (as a landlord, I certainly would). But generally speaking, they can’t be held accountable for other peoples actions, just like you can’t.

I appreciate I may not have passed on the most hopeful or greatest of news. In fact, I may not have even passed on the most accurate either, so if in a bind and in need of legal advice, I strongly recommend seeking help from a legal professional (yup, that’s my legal disclaimer!).

Are your neighbours noisy? Is your peace being violated? Talk to me…

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