Home Money Our neighbors organize parties to watch football games. Can we complain about the noise?

Our neighbors organize parties to watch football games. Can we complain about the noise?

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We don't want football to come home: our reader is not looking forward to the European Championship (archive image)

My wife and I dread Euro 2024 football as our neighbors will watch most of the games in their conservatory, a part of the house that seems to amplify noise.

It will mean weeks of misery for us.

They often have people watching late night games and it’s just not soundproofed at all, with the noise of the TV speakers, shouting and cheering going through us.

For this reason, we really hope that England does not reach the final.

We don’t want football to come home: our reader is not looking forward to the European Championship (archive image)

And the noise doesn’t end at full time: they will continue to make noise until the early hours of the morning.

We get along with them, but when we’ve mentioned this in the past they’ll say, “Sorry, we’ll turn the noise down,” but that never happens.

What do we do next? Can we file an anonymous noise complaint with the authorities, who will take it seriously, but will not destroy neighborly relations?

jane Denton replies: With Euro 2024 football just getting underway and the Wimbledon tennis championships and the Paris 2024 Olympics just around the corner, this summer has plenty of delights to offer sports fans.

However, watching sports matches in a pub, bar or restaurant can be an expensive business for consumers.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics in May revealed that the average price of a pint across the UK rose 4.6 per cent to £4.75 in the year to April. Many punters, especially in places like London, pay much more.

Many pubs and bars are requiring punters to make a deposit and book a table for a limited time during the Euro 2024 football tournament.

With all this in mind, many people, including neighbors, organize their own football watching parties at home.

Invariably, these events tend to cause tensions between neighbors, especially if the party is not a one-time event and regularly lasts until the early hours of the morning.

Let’s speak to two experts, the head of an acoustics consultancy and a solicitor, to establish the best way to resolve your noise problems and determine whether making a complaint to the council is the best course of action.

The sound engineer: Ed Clarke

The sound engineer: Ed Clarke

Ed Clarke, managing director of Clarke Saunders Acoustics in Winchester, says: We live on a small island, which sometimes seems to be getting smaller: population density increases and perhaps our expectations of peace and tranquility increase, while on the other side of the party wall consideration for neighbors decreases.

I encounter many situations that have more to do with social interaction than sound wave theory and that require more diplomacy and expectation management than complex manipulation of decibels.

Controlling noise from neighbors is fundamentally a question of reasonableness, both in practical terms and in the legal application of nuisance legislation.

The hope is that when reasonable expectations are combined with reasonable behavior, although this may involve some compromise, a reasonable outcome will be achieved and we can all get along.

Of course, this can fail when the sound insulation is incredibly poor, so that even the most moderate citizens, who live very normally, annoy their tolerant neighbors.

When we consider reasonable levels of noisy neighbor activity, fireworks in early November and New Year’s Day tend to be accepted as exceptions to the day-to-day status quo, aside from the occasional birthday party.

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A strident and luxurious life of this nature would be unreasonable, and even actionable, if repeated on a daily basis.

But spread across the calendar year, this can represent an appropriate balance of give and take.

Euro 2024 will last a month, during which England will definitely play three group stage matches and up to four knockout matches, many of which are a relatively late start.

My professional view is that reasonable neighbors might think twice before hosting ‘watching parties’ for all seven games, especially if they know the sound insulation is not good between them and the house next door.

However, if there is somewhere else in your house where the sound from the conservatory TV doesn’t carry as badly, it may be reasonable to seek shelter there from time to time, especially if you have spoken to the neighbors about the nights they are planning. invite friends

Assuming we rule out the possibility of joining in the fun and watching football together, the key has to be more communication and not less.

Discuss this now and before anyone has had anything to drink.

Involving the city council, lawyers and acoustics experts would be the next step, but it would be a huge escalation and not the best use of everyone’s time.

You know it: attorney Tyler Clayton

You know it: attorney Tyler Clayton

Tyler Clayton, solicitor at Fosters Solicitors in Norwich, says: First, you should try having another direct but friendly conversation with your neighbors.

Be specific about the impact the noise is having on their lives and suggest practical solutions such as reducing the volume, closing windows, or watching games in another room.

Follow up your conversation with a polite written request.

This crystallizes your complaint and serves as a reminder.

That letter should be dated and express a desire to maintain a good relationship, and may perhaps suggest a commitment.

If those measures fail, in theory you can make an anonymous complaint about the noise to the city council or the relevant authority, in the hope that they will intervene.

The council could serve a noise abatement notice if enough evidence is gathered to show that the noise is a legal nuisance.

However, keep in mind that your neighbors will probably realize that you are the complainant.

Send us your property question

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Whether you’re having problems with your neighbors, are looking to upgrade or move house, or maybe can’t decide how to organize an extension or make a room look bigger, we want to hear from you.

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As a last resort, you might consider filing a lawsuit against neighbors in a private nuisance action.

To do this, you must have an interest in the land affected by the acoustic nuisance, something that you own.

A private nuisance is usually caused by a person doing something on their own land, to which they are legally entitled, but which becomes a nuisance when the consequences spread to neighboring lands.

The interference with the enjoyment of the land must be substantial and unreasonable.

It can arise from a single incident or from a long-term situation. It can be caused by inaction or omission, as well as by some positive activity.

A broad unifying principle in this area of ​​law is the need for reasonableness between neighbors.

The court would undertake a balancing exercise, weighing the factors in each case within the general principle of reasonableness.

To assist the court, it would be necessary to record decibel levels at as many points as possible on a routine basis and possibly record the results in a diary.

The court is usually more interested in quantifiable and ideally irrefutable data.

In this case, an obvious difficulty you face is that the European Championship is an isolated and infrequent tournament.

If a genuine neighbor-to-neighbor approach improves things, the judicial approach could seem disproportionate and also risky if a judge, especially a football-loving one, finds that you were overreacting.

Of course, it will always be a matter of degree, so if the noise is genuinely and objectively intolerable, perhaps not limited to euros, then it might be the case that a litigious solution appears to be your only option.

Remedies include damages to compensate for the loss or injunctions to require neighbors to stop disturbing them.

Make no mistake: court proceedings are incredibly expensive, so consider that side of things before taking any action.

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