Landlord guide to noise complaints and noisy tenants


Updated on May 31 • 4 minute read

As a landlord, dealing with noisy tenants can be a frustrating and time-consuming challenge. Noisy tenants can create disturbances that affect not only their neighbours but also the entire building. That's why it's essential to understand what constitutes a noise complaint, how to handle it, and your responsibilities regarding noise on your property.

What's considered a noise nuisance?

Some noise is normal in any residential property. However, excessive noise that interferes with a person's ability to sleep or use their home is not acceptable. This can include loud music, shouting, barking dogs, and even footsteps.

In general, noise nuisance is considered to be any noise that:

  • Occurs at an unreasonable time of day or night, such as late at night or early in the morning
  • Continues for an extended period of time
  • Disturbs a person's peace and comfort

Local authorities use the legal definition of noise nuisance set by The Environmental Protection Act 1990 to determine if a noise is excessive.

Acceptable noise levels in flats in the UK

The acceptable noise levels in the UK vary depending on the time of day and type of noise.

Between 11 PM – 7 AM, the noise level shouldn't be louder than 34 dBA if there's little to no background noise.

If the background noise is higher than 24 dBA, the allowed noise level will be 10 dBA above the background noise level.

Are landlords responsible for nuisance tenants?

As a landlord, you’re not legally responsible for tenants who make excessive noise, unless you directly participate in or facilitate the disturbance. This could mean ignoring constant noise complaints from neighbours. In all other cases, if a tenant is breaking local ordinances by making excessive noise, they’re responsible for facing legal consequences.

Although landlords have no legal duty of care towards neighbours, it helps to mediate and address problem tenants. By keeping your neighbour happy, you can maintain a good reputation as a landlord. So, take action to resolve noise complaints and ensure that your tenants are aware of the acceptable noise levels.

How to deal with tenant noise complaints in the UK

As a landlord, you may receive noise complaints about your tenants. In this case, you should handle the situation professionally and effectively.

Here are a few steps you can follow:

1. Listen to the complaint: Before taking any action, listen to the complaint and understand the situation. Ask your neighbour or the co-tenant who made the complaint details about the noise, including the time and type of noise.

2. Speak to the noisy neighbour: Explain the situation to them and ask them to reduce the noise. Be polite but firm.

3. Send a warning letter: If the noisy tenant continues to cause a disturbance, you can send a warning letter stating the issue and asking them to reduce the noise. This serves as evidence in case you need to take legal action.

4. Take legal action: If the disturbance persists, you may need to take legal action. This could involve serving a notice or starting eviction proceedings. In that case, remember to follow the correct legal procedures and give the tenant an adequate warning.

What rules and regulations apply to noise complaints in the UK?

The legal framework for dealing with noisy tenants in the UK is provided by these laws:

  • The Environmental Protection Act 1990 sets out the legal definition of noise nuisance. It sets out the responsibilities of local authorities and individuals to prevent noise pollution.

  • The Housing Act 2004 sets out the responsibilities of landlords and tenants concerning the condition of a property and the behaviour of tenants. This means landlords must ensure that their properties are fit for habitation and that tenants are not causing a disturbance to their neighbours.

  • The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 gives local authorities and landlords the power to take action against tenants who’re causing a nuisance, including making noise. This means landlords can take legal action against noisy tenants and, if necessary, start eviction proceedings.

Can a noisy tenant be evicted?

In some cases, you can break the tenancy agreement due to excessive noise. Specifically, a noisy tenant can be evicted if they’re causing a disturbance and their behaviour affects their neighbours.

There’s no set number of noise complaints before you can serve an eviction notice in the UK. In most cases, after 2 warnings, you can give your tenants the section 8 notice to evict them using Ground 12 or 14. This gives them at least 2 weeks to move out. If they don't move out within the specified notice period, you can take the matter to the court and apply for a possession order.

How to prevent noise complaints

We recommend adding a specific clause to your lease agreement that addresses the issue of consistent loud or disruptive noises. Clearly outline what is considered acceptable behaviour and what actions will be taken if the rules are not followed. The more detailed and precise the language used, the better it’ll be for enforcing the rules.

Make it clear that the tenant could be evicted due to excessive noise.

This clause can be referred to as the "right to quiet enjoyment" clause. It applies both to the tenant's enjoyment of the property and their responsibility to respect the rights of others to enjoy a quiet living environment.

By including this clause in the lease agreement, both you and your tenant will clearly understand what is expected regarding noise levels and behaviour. This will make it easier to resolve any noise-related issues on your property and prevent them from arising in the first place.

Dealing with noisy tenants can be a challenge for landlords. Still, it's essential to address the issue promptly and professionally to avoid any legal or personal problems. Remember, it's your responsibility to ensure that your tenants are not causing a disturbance. If a noise complaint is received, take action to resolve the issue.

This article is for informational purposes only. Please consult the appropriate authorities for the latest developments or a lawyer for legal advice.

For feedback on this article or other suggestions, please email

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