Q: We own our house, but are having real problems with tenants next door who have several dogs and a new puppy. The dogs have barked constantly for the last two months and despite numerous requests their owners have done nothing. We have complained several times to the landlord who has agreed with our concerns and issued warnings but to no avail. We have complained to the council who have told us they are sending out a warning letter, but I wondered if there was anything more we could do, from a legal point of view, to put further pressure on them?
A: Your complaint is certainly not uncommon; noise complaints emanate from a wide range of sources and affect a large number of people. If the noise persists following the initial letter from the council and it meets the criteria that renders it a statutory nuisance, the local authority are under an obligation to serve an abatement notice on the premises owner.
Non-compliance with an abatement notice can result in the Defendant being prosecuted and fined. Any claims the council make would be civil claims. Alternatively, you may wish to wish to take matters into your own hands and commence proceedings in the magistrates’ court. Sending the required ‘letter before claim’ to the property a minimum of three days prior to commencing any proceedings may just be the added pressure that will lead to ending the noise.
If proceedings in the magistrates’ court are successful the court can make an order requiring the nuisance to be abated and prohibiting a repeat of the nuisance. They can impose fines of up to £5,000 for residential properties and £20,000 for business premises. If the case is successful, the court will often award the Claimant costs in the case.
For further advice, you should speak to your solicitor about taking things forward.