IT MAY sound obvious but start by talking directly to your neighbours – it may be that they simply don’t realise how much the sound is travelling or that their dog is barking the whole time they are out.
There are ways to do this; plan what you are going to say, and always stay calm and polite.
Choose the right time
If the issue is noisy parties, it’s probably not a good idea to go round mid-party after they’ve had a few drinks, wait until it’s over and then talk about it.
Remind them that you have children or need to get up for work and ask them to let you know about a party in advance or to turn the sound down after a certain time.
What if the problem continues?
If you can’t come to an amicable agreement, you need to contact your Unit Welfare Officer (UWO) and DIO for assistance.
Make sure that you have a record of nuisance behaviour – dates, times, duration and the effect it had on you – eg kept you awake until 4am or you couldn’t hear your TV over theirs.
Keep a note of all the names of people you have spoken to, a brief synopsis of what was discussed and copies of all letters.
If necessary you can contact Environmental Health to record the noise levels. If at any time you feel that you are being threatened or illegal behaviour is occurring you should call the police.
Your UWO could act as a mediator to sort things out but if this doesn’t work you may need to get your chain of command to liaise with the HASC, which might result in you or the other family being moved.
Who do you go to for help if you are living next to civilians?
Try to resolve it yourself and keep your UWO informed. You can get in touch with your local council, their landlord (if they have one) or contact the community police for advice.
Attend community meetings from time to time in your area.
Being a good neighbour
What should you do if YOU are approached about YOUR noise levels?
Always listen to them. You might be taken aback as it could be the first time that you have heard that there’s an issue, but try to stay calm and polite.
Try to see the problem from their point of view and how you would feel if it was happening to you.
If your dog barks all day when you are out think of ways to prevent this – get a dog walker or leave the radio on if that calms them down; go next door to listen to how loud your TV or music is in their house and think about turning the volume down later in the evening.
If you’re having a party, it’s courteous to let your neighbours know in advance.
Remember that under the terms of your licence to occupy an SFA, you have agreed that:
- You must not racially, sexually or in any other way, harass your neighbours or cause a nuisance or annoyance or allow members of your household, invited guests or pets to cause a nuisance or annoyance to any neighbours
- You must not make or allow members of your household, invited guests or pets to make any noise that causes a nuisance to your neighbours between 11pm and 8am.
If the terms of the licence are breached it is DIO’s right to terminate it. If you’re having issues on this topic, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org