What to do if you are affected by a noise, smoke, smell or light problem
By law, we can take action on problems causing a 'statutory nuisance'. To decide if this is the case, we need to understand:
Common complaints are about nuisance from:
You can report a problem that is affecting you by:
If it is safe to, you should try to politely speak to the person or company that is causing the problem before contacting us. You may find that this solves the problem. If you do this, stay calm and explain the effect the nuisance is having. Pick a time where you think you are both able to be reasonable about the situation.
We will give you information explaining the law and how we work.
You may be asked to keep a diary for 14 days. This helps us to find out:
You must keep the diary as events take place, not afterwards. Detailed evidence will help us to understand how bad the problem is.
We will review the diary to see if there is a 'statutory nuisance'. Monitoring may be needed to gather further evidence.
At this stage, we will tell the person causing the alleged nuisance about the complaint. We will discuss the problem with them and explain that the alleged nuisance may be monitored. We will not give details of the person who complained.
If it is proven that there is a statutory nuisance, we will either:
An abatement notice is a legal notice that requires the person to stop the nuisance.
If the problem continues, we will aim to collect evidence showing the abatement notice has been breached. If proven, we will take the person to court. At this stage, you and any witnesses may need to give a statement and evidence in court.
In some cases, we may not be able to help or gather enough evidence to take action. However, you can take private action against the person causing the nuisance.
Mediation may help to resolve the complaint if initial talks have failed.
As a last resort, you can take your complaint to the Magistrates Court. It is quite simple to do and you don't need a solicitor.