Home Money Noisy kids on a trampoline make our lives miserable: Do we have the right to privacy?

Noisy kids on a trampoline make our lives miserable: Do we have the right to privacy?

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Trampoline problems: A This is Money reader has problems with the noise children make on a trampoline

I pray for rain every day between 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm, and on weekends. How far from the fence that borders our garden and our house must a trampoline be according to privacy law?

Our house and our neighbor’s house are very close to each other, on three floors. We have to keep all doors, windows, vents and curtains closed because there are two noisy children on a trampoline and in a kiddie pool that adjoins our dividing fence.

A recent event with visitors started at 2 p.m. and continued uninterrupted until 7 p.m.

When I finally sent a polite text to my neighbor asking him to calm down, the response was “no,” followed by several malicious communications.

You can’t have reasonable discussions with people like that. I think she was too busy drinking bottles of wine with her friend. What can I do? This can’t go on.

Trampoline problems: A This is Money reader has problems with the noise children make on a trampoline

Jane Denton answers: I often pass by a small terraced house, surrounded by other apartments and houses.

Every time I walk past this house, I can hear and then see a little boy with blond hair jumping up and down on a circular, netted trampoline in a small garden.

The repetitive sounds of the springs can be heard in the distance and my heart sinks for the neighbors.

While jumping, the boy in question always looks over the high fence to see what is going on in the outside world. Perhaps his family could take him for a walk in the nearby forest?

Suffice it to say that yours is not the only complaint I have received regarding diving boards and their proximity to boundaries and fences.

But it is far from clear how this looks in the eyes of the law. An online petition from an elderly couple to the Government Requests to enforce privacy laws have been repeatedly rejected amid disputes involving trampolines and neighbouring properties.

The government then said the request was rejected because it involved “something for which the UK Government or Parliament are not directly responsible”.

Your question about whether privacy laws apply in cases like these is interesting, but I’m afraid the answers may not be what you expected.

That said, proving that there is a legal nuisance or appointing a mediator to help resolve the dispute may be reasonable alternative options.

Advice: Attorney William Cook

Advice: Attorney William Cook

William Cook, a lawyer at Mullis & Peake, says: I am sorry to read about the distress you are experiencing as a result of your neighbor’s noise.

Unfortunately, there is no specific legislation that sets out a distance at which an object such as a trampoline must or must not be placed from a boundary fence, unless of course it encroaches on its boundary.

It is unfortunate that you have to take measures such as keeping windows, doors and vents closed, as this undoubtedly negatively impacts the use and enjoyment of your home and garden.

We encourage customers to contact their neighbours to ensure that their concerns are raised and heard directly. In some cases, this can lead to a mutually satisfactory outcome. However, I note that your attempts in this regard have been met with hostility.

Another amicable option may be mediation, where you and your neighbors can meet with the help of a mediator.

A mediator is a neutral third party, usually legally qualified, but who will not make a ruling.

Instead, the mediator allows both parties to voice their concerns in turn, either in the same room or in separate rooms, and will help narrow down the issues to facilitate a solution. Mediation is now often done remotely.

Make it stop: The clicking of a trampoline's springs can be heard from far away.

Make it stop: The clicking of a trampoline’s springs can be heard from far away.

If that doesn’t work, the local authority will be willing to intervene, but only if there is a legal nuisance.

Local authorities must take reasonable steps to investigate your complaint. If noise levels are deemed to exceed the permitted level, your neighbours may receive a warning notice which, if ignored, may result in the imposition of a fixed penalty.

Alternatively, you may wish to seek advice on drafting a formal letter on the basis that the neighbour’s action constitutes a private nuisance.

By definition, a private nuisance is a violation of your property rights, which causes a substantial interference with the ordinary enjoyment of your land.

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The interference must be “substantial” and the court will assess the noise suffered to determine whether a reasonable person would consider the alleged nuisance to affect the quiet enjoyment of your land, taking into account factors such as the time of day or night, its duration and its proximity to your property.

The letter should request that the nuisance cease within a certain period of time, along with a commitment from the neighbors to refrain from such acts in the future.

Private nuisance actions are often brought on the basis of noise, and courts are prepared to restrict noise caused during unsocial hours.

A court will, however, consider that some noises will not be punishable if they take the form of everyday sounds, for example, noises through thin walls.

If your neighbor continues to ignore your correspondence, the final action would be to seek a court order to prevent him from using the trampoline and causing a nuisance.

You could be awarded damages if the court is satisfied that you will remedy the situation.

Christopher Lee, a solicitor at BDB Pitmans, said: There is no set distance between your neighbor’s trampoline and the boundary fence or your house under privacy or property laws.

One option would be to consider filing a private nuisance lawsuit against your neighbor in court.

To succeed, you would need to persuade a court that the noise is causing a “substantial” interference with the ordinary use of the land.

Useful evidence might include notes about when the noise occurs, how long it lasts, and the effect it has on you, along with relevant communications with your neighbor.

It may also be useful to ask an independent acoustic expert to measure the noise level while it is occurring.

Attorney Christopher Lee of BDB Pitmans has some helpful tips on malicious communications from neighbors

Attorney Christopher Lee of BDB Pitmans has some helpful tips on malicious communications from neighbors

Noise can also be a statutory nuisance under section 79 of the Environment Protection Act 1990, so you can report the noise to your local authority, who have a duty to investigate and take appropriate action.

This could involve environmental health officers visiting your home to assess whether they consider there is a legal nuisance. If so, the local authority can serve an abatement notice requiring your neighbour to stop or limit the noise, or risk a fine.

Another option for taking action against a statutory nuisance would be to bring a private prosecution in the magistrates’ court under section 82 of the EPA.

You would need to provide evidence of the nuisance and any related communications, to show that the noise interference was substantial and is having a negative impact on your enjoyment of your home.

If this is successful, the court may order the nuisance to cease and impose fines on your neighbor if it continues.

Alternatively, a mediator from an organisation such as the Civil Mediation Council could also be helpful in avoiding a lengthy and costly dispute.

Finally, depending on the content of your neighbour’s “malicious communications”, these could also constitute a criminal offence under the Malicious Communications Act 1988.

If they have caused you distress or anxiety, you may consider reporting them to the police for further investigation.


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