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My neighbour is disturbing me

Pollution and Noise Control - January 2013

My neighbour is disturbing me with noise or smoke from chimneys or bonfires. What can I do?
There are several different ways of dealing with the problems you are having. We can provide you with advice on the various options available to you. Firstly, it may be best to contact your neighbour to let them know that there is a problem. In many cases, neighbours are often totally unaware that they are causing a problem to others. They will often appreciate the opportunity to put things right before anyone else, the council for example, becomes involved.

Secondly, you could try writing to the person causing the problem. Again, they may respond better to a polite letter from you rather than an official one from the council. We have a sample letter which includes some of the points you could use. If you require more help: I can't approach my neighbours as suggested. What else can I do?
You may wish to consider using trained mediators to help you achieve a confidential and amicable solution to the problem. Mediation Yorkshire is an independent organisation which offers a free and confidential service to resolve neighbour problems. Trained mediators will listen to both parties involved and will try to help find a permanent solution that is acceptable to both parties.

More information about Mediation Yorkshire: What will the Pollution & Noise team do?
We can investigate complaints of nuisance where activity at one property affects people living nearby.

If you would like us to look into your complaint it would help our investigation if you would keep a record of when the problem happens, how long it goes on for and how it affects you. Please keep a record of the problem for at least two weeks on the report form, and then send the form to us. When we receive your records we will contact you and discuss what action we may take. If we have enough evidence from your records we will visit your neighbour and/or write to them telling them we have received a complaint and that we may take formal action. We do not tell your neighbour the name of the person who has made the complaint at this stage.

If the problem continues we will try to witness the problem to enable us to take formal action. This may be by a legal notice, prosecution and/or confiscating equipment.

If the case goes to court and we require you to be a witness, we may not be able to keep the complaint anonymous. You may have to give evidence in a court of law against the person causing the problem. How can I get a record sheet and what is it for? The record sheet will give us an idea of the extent of the problem and help us to decide if your complaint is likely to be classed as a statutory nuisance. We will need information on the type of problem, intensity, when and how it affects you. It is very important that you keep detailed records including exact times.

Can I register a complaint? Please try to provide us the following information: your name, address, contact details (daytime telephone number or email address), details of the problem and where it originates (description and address of premises). Can I register a complaint anonymously?
It is generally not possible for us to investigate nuisance matters without information and evidence from the complainants. We will not disclose the complainant's details to the person allegedly causing the nuisance without prior permission

What if the problem continues?
Contact us and continue keeping a record of the problem. If you don't contact us we will assume that the problem has been sorted out. What will happen next?
If the problem continues, the person responsible will be told that the matter will be investigated further. We will also need to witness the problem. This may involve you ringing us immediately the problem happens or through an arranged visit. We may install monitoring equipment in your house.

What if the problem happens outside your office hours?
Again, we will try to witness the problem through an arranged visit. We may give you an out of hours telephone number to ring if there is a problem and an officer will contact you. What if the problem proves to be a statutory nuisance?
In most cases we will serve an abatement notice, requiring the person responsible to stop causing the problem. If this does not stop the problem we can prosecute the person responsible in the Magistrate's Court. If this happens your record sheets will be used in evidence and you will also be required to act as a witness.

I am not prepared to go to court. What happens next?
Nothing. The council generally cannot proceed any further with nuisance matters without evidence from a complainant. No further action can be taken. I live in a council owned property, can the housing association take any action?
If you live in a Kirklees Council house, or if the problems come from a Kirklees housing tenant, action may be taken under the terms of the tenancy agreement.

You should contact your local housing office for more advice. Similar action may be taken by housing associations if their tenants are in breach of tenancy conditions.

Do you have the same powers against people in private houses as council tenants?
As far as nuisance is concerned it does not matter to us if the person is a homeowner, council tenant or private tenant. The law applies equally. Can I take my own legal action against the person causing the disturbance?
You could consult a solicitor to write a letter on your behalf to the person causing the problem, or give you legal advice.

You can take your own legal action in the Magistrate's Court. We have an information booklet about how to do this. If you would like a copy of this please contact us and we will send one out to you.

Can I involve the Police?
The Police do deal with certain types of neighbour problems such as those involving violence, or threatening behaviour.
  • Contact the Police, tel: 0845 6060606

Contact Pollution and Noise Control

Pollution and Noise Control
Flint Street

Tel: 01484 414739
Email: pollution@kirklees.gov.uk

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