The dos and don'ts guide to noise

  • Do be co-operative if asked by a neighbour to reduce noise
  • Do keep the hi-fi level down (particularly the bass). If you must turn it up, use headphones
  • Do avoid putting speakers on party walls (or on the floor in flats). Place them on mats or cupboards
  • Do realise that your pleasure should not lead to your neighbour's distress
  • Do remember that noise and vibration transmits easily through walls and floors
  • Do be aware in a flat or maisonette that your floor may be someone else's ceiling. Carpets and heavy curtains should help to absorb sound
  • Do ensure another keyholder can be called to deal with house or car alarms
  • Do carry out noisy DIY work during the day. Complete work as quickly as possible and let your neighbours know when you will finish
  • Do tell your neighbours if you are having a party and tell them when it will finish
  • Don't carry out noisy DIY work after 8pm or before 8am on weekends, and if possible never on Sundays. Remember that drilling and hammering are particularly disturbing
  • Don't play music at a level that annoys your neighbours in their own space. Keep the bass level down
  • Don't take a radio or hi-fi speakers outside - use headphones
  • Don't have late, loud parties
  • Don't use domestic appliances late at night (such as vacuum cleaners or washing machines)
  • Don't leave dogs alone for long periods of time and try to minimise their barking
  • Don't allow children to play loudly. If you live in a flat, don't allow children to jump about on the floor in a way that disturbs the neighbours below
  • Don't sound horns, slam car doors or rev engines late at night
  • Don't slam doors at any time, including kitchen cupboards
  • Don't forget your neighbours have a right to peace and quiet as much as you do!

What you can do

If you are unable to come to an agreement with your neighbour, we can take action on your behalf. In order to do so, we need to be sure that the problem complained of is so severe as to allow legal action to be taken. Log sheets are provided for you to complete and return so that we can assess what action will be appropriate. You should keep a diary of what the noise is and how it affects you for approximately two weeks from the date of your complaint. If you are still unable to discuss the problem with your neighbour, return the sheets promptly.

What happens next?

When we receive the log sheets, an officer may contact you to discuss further action. Please note that we will not usually carry out further investigation until we have received properly completed diary sheets. If the officer believes that the problem described in your log sheets allows further action to be taken, we will need to gather further evidence to proceed. This will be by a personal visit or through the use of sound recording equipment. In most circumstances, we will make a maximum of five visits to gather evidence.

If your neighbour is a council tenant, the complaint will initially be investigated by Cheltenham Borough Homes, as causing a nuisance is against the tenancy agreement. If necessary, your housing officer will refer your complaint to us for further investigation.

For further information and advice, or if you believe that someone is being unreasonable and causing a noise nuisance and you would like us to investigate further,  please email envhealth@cheltenham.gov.uk.