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Noise and light complaints

  • Business

Many people do not realise they are annoying their neighbours, with noise or light problems.

If you can approach them safely, speak to the person or company responsible and explain the problem.

A face-to-face conversation is usually better than a phone call or email. You may find that they can sort out the issue in a friendly way without any further action.

What we can't investigate

Unavoidable general household noise

Noise between properties that are attached to each other and flats. We can't investigate the ordinary use of a property, particularly where standards of noise insulation between dwellings are poor. Examples of this are:

  • washing machines and vacuum cleaners during the day
  • sound of doors closing
  • toilets flushing
  • children playing inside or outside a property

Health and sensitivities of the person reporting a problem

We can't take into account any special sensitivities of a complainant such as ill-health, or a night worker trying to sleep during the day

Car horns

Noisy car horns are unlikely to be considered a noise nuisance due to their intermittent nature. Car horns after 11pm and before 7am is a matter for the police. If a car horn is being sounded continuously, with intent, by a neighbour then this can be looked into by the anti-social behaviour team.


Fireworks are unlikely to be a noise nuisance if set off before 11pm. Fireworks set off after 11pm is a matter for the police.

Beer gardens

Noise from beer gardens or smoking areas is usually not enough to be a statutory noise nuisance. However, where appropriate, we will refer on to the Licensing Team.

Raised voices and arguments

Raised voices and arguments are usually not at such a level to be a statutory noise nuisance, however should there be circumstances where it appears that the person intends to cause a disturbance to the complainant the case may be referred to the anti-social behaviour team.

Private action

If we can't help with the type of noise problem you are troubled by, it is possible for you to take private action through the court system.

You would have to contact the Clerk at Hendon Magistrates Court to arrange a time to provide the necessary evidence to prove your case in accordance with S.82 of The Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Find out more about taking your own private action regarding a noise nuisance (PDF).

How we deal with complaints

We usually try to speak to the person causing the problem, either in person or by letter. In the majority of cases, this works and the problem doesn't happen again.

How we assess a problem

We will usually come to your property and make a judgement.

However, if an officer can't physically witness the problem eg if a noise is intermittent, then you should complete a noise log sheet (Word) in cases where the noise is shouting/screaming/banging.

What happens next

We will serve notice to the person responsible for the noise, if we decide it is a statutory noise nuisance. This legally requires them to stop or restrict the noise.

If the problem does not stop or restrict in the time given on the notice, then we can take further steps to stop the noise.

This may include taking away stereos, drum kits, amplifiers, TV's and other equipment. The owner or occupier of the premises will then be charged for the cost of the work (including VAT) plus the council's administration costs. The owner or occupier can also be prosecuted.

An abatement notice under Section 80 on the Environmental Protection Act 1990 on the person responsible for the noise which will legally requires them to stop or restrict the nuisance.

'Statutory noise nuisance' explained

For a noise to be considered a statutory noise nuisance, it has to be at a higher threshold other than something inconvenient or mildly irritating.

It needs to interfere with the average person’s use of or enjoyment of premises or be harmful to health.

There is no official time when people are allowed to make noise but it does have bearing on whether a noise is a statutory nuisance.

For example, a level of noise that during the day would not interfere with watching television or holding a conversation may not be a statutory nuisance; however, if the same level of noise occurred at night preventing someone from sleeping, then it may be a statutory nuisance.

Barnet Homes residents

If you're a Barnet Homes resident, and you're are suffering from noise problems, it may be worth speak to the anti-social behaviour officer for your area. Barnet Homes may also be able to assist.

If you are a resident of another housing association, you should contact them to see if they can help.

Problems we will investigate

Report a noise problem

Make sure you read the advice above before you report a noise problem.

During normal office hours

Telephone 020 8359 7995

Report a noise problem online

Outside of normal office hours

After hours, please call 0208 359 2000 option 2 or 07958 513 459 at the following times:

  • Wednesday 8pm to Thursday 1am
  • Friday 8pm to Saturday 4am
  • Saturday 12pm to Sunday 4am
  • Sunday 10am to Monday 3am

Please do not contact the mobile number via text message as we are unable to respond.

If the noise is happening at the time of your call an officer will aim to visit you or at least respond to your call within one hour.


  • Re Ltd Noise and Nuisance Service
  • Barnet House
    1255 High Road
    N20 0EJ
  • Tel: 020 8359 7995
  • Email: nuisance@barnet.gov.uk

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