With many of us having spent extended periods of time at home over the last year, many are now more familiar with their neighbours than ever.
For some, this has been a good experience, but others have been faced with disruption, noise and inconsiderate behaviour.
Many have been left wondering what they can do to remedy noisy or disruptive behaviour.
If you live in any of Merseyside’s local authorities, it is possible to complain to their environmental health team, which manages noise complaints.
However, before you do it is important to know how the complaints process works, the circumstances in which you could call the police on a neighbour and what noise can’t be complained about.
To see issues in your area, enter your postcode below.
What types of noise can be complained about – and what can’t?
Amanda Hamilton, chief executive of the National Association of Licensed Paralegals, warns that there are certain things that noise teams can not deal with.
This includes noise relating to traffic, planes, trains and some domestic noises such as, footsteps, crying babies, kitchen appliances and doors opening or closing.
However, she said that outside of those things you could expect a response.
She said: “Everything else is actionable. For example, neighbours playing loud music at all hours of the night. Once this has been reported to the department, they instruct a team that then contacts you to enquire whether the noise is still going on.
“If it is, they come round and experience the noise from your home. If they believe that the noise is excessive, they can initially talk to the neighbours to ask them to refrain and give them a warning.”
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What is the process once you complain?
There are generally up to three visits that take place when you complain.
After the first, a letter will be sent to your neighbour. This would also explain that, if called again, officers from the council could visit and issue a second warning.
It is on the third visit that officers can serve a notice threatening a civil prosecution of the neighbour or seizing any equipment which is contributing to the noise.
Can you call the police on a noisy neighbour?
While an extremely noisy neighbour can be a disruptive and unpleasant experience, Ms Hamilton said it is highly unlikely the police will be able to help if that is the only issue.
That would change if you have spoken to your neighbour and they have responded in a threatening way, was aggressive or, obviously, committed a crime against you.
She said: “There is no point calling the police about a noise issue as it is a civil matter. They will almost certainly direct you to environmental health, i.e. the noise team.
“However, if you have discussed the matter with your neighbour and they have responded in an aggressive or threatening manner you can call the police.
“Also, the Noise Team has the power to call the police, who can take away offending music equipment.”
What happens if your council are not able to help you?
If, after going through the processes available through your council, there is still a problem with noise, your next step would likely need to be through the courts.
Ms Hamilton said an injunction is a possibility that people could pursue, however in this case you would need the advice of a trained legal professional such as a lawyer or a paralegal.
She said: “If you still have trouble, or the noise team hasn’t provided the remedy you are seeking, you could always apply to the court for an injunction.
“This is an order from the court, that can have a power of arrest attached, which forces the neighbour to cease the noise.”