Living with Neighbours

Everyone expects to be able to live peacefully in their home, and we expect all our tenants to show consideration for others. We consider this to be very important, so it has been made a condition of your tenancy that you, your family and visitors do not cause a nuisance or annoyance to your neighbours or other tenants.

Some of the most common matters are detailed below. These are the matters that can cause the most distress to you or your neighbours:

Noise

Noise from neighbours is a common form of nuisance particularly in converted flats. Everyone can help with this problem by being considerate to others and by keeping unnecessary noise to a minimum, particularly late at night or early in the morning.

Most people like to watch TV or listen to music, and some noise is bound to be heard between flats. It would be unreasonable, however, if your neighbours were regularly kept awake by loud music late at night, for example.

The banging of doors often sounds louder from another flat than you may think, and you can easily avoid making this kind of noise.

If I have a problem what shall I do?

If you are being disturbed by noise from a neighbour, then you should tell the person concerned. Often they will be unaware of the noise and that it can be heard in another flat. If so, they should be more than happy to, for example, reduce the TV or stereo volume.

It is always best to try and resolve matters amicably by talking to your neighbours first. If things do not improve, you should contact the Housing Manager who will speak to the other tenant and try to mediate. Although we always try to promote good tenant relations, it is sometimes difficult for us to intervene in disputes like this.

If the noise continues to be excessive you should contact the Environmental Health Department of your local authority. After an investigation they may serve a notice on your neighbour requiring them to stop the nuisance. In extreme cases, if the nuisance continues, the person may be taken to court and fined.

You could also take your own action in a magistrates’ court, under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. You should seek advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau on how to do this.

What will CHISEL do?

We can take legal action against a tenant causing serious nuisance, but it is NOT easy. If you have gone through the other options available and still suffer unacceptable noise, we can pursue the matter in county court.

We can ask the court for an injunction to stop the nuisance or for a possession order to remove the tenant from their home. It is down to the tenant and other neighbours to give direct evidence of noise nuisance. Very convincing evidence is needed for the court to agree to someone losing his or her home.

REMEMBER:

Excessive noise can make life a misery for others and have a serious effect on people’s health. PLEASE be considerate! With some give and take on both sides, and a willingness to talk about the problem and use common sense, most disputes can be sorted out amicably.

Friends and visitors

Please ensure that your friends and visitors do not disturb your neighbours, particularly late at night and in the early hours, especially if you share a front door.

Communal hallways

Unless we employ a cleaning contractor (usually in flats where we make a service charge) the cleaning of communal hallways and stairs is the shared responsibility of all tenants using them. It would be a good idea to come to some arrangement with your neighbours about this so that cleaning is done regularly and the work is shared fairly.

Shared gardens

If you share a garden with your neighbours you are also expected to share the tasks of cultivating it and keeping it tidy and clear of rubbish.

How gardens are used is up to the tenants to agree between themselves. CHISEL does not normally allocate or fence off parts of the gardens for the use of individual tenants. If tenants wish to fence off part of the gardens themselves they should first ask the Housing Manager for permission.

We appreciate that the cultivation of shared gardens can be hard work and sometimes is just left to a few committed tenants. If we were to employ someone to maintain the gardens on the tenants’ behalf, then we would have to make a service charge that would increase the rent.

However, we support and encourage joint activities by neighbours or groups of tenants. In some cases we can provide resources and support if the work in the gardens will increase communication and co-operation between tenants. Please speak to the Co-ops and Tenants Officer about this.