Noisy neighbours can turn life into a nightmare, especially when they make excessive noise late at night and in the early hours of the morning.

Unreasonable or excessive noise is defined as noise that unreasonably and substantially interferes with the use or enjoyment of a home.

It can also be noise that is likely to impact your health.

But how late is too late, and what can you do about it?

Your Local Guardian: How late is too late for making noise in a residential area, and what can you do about it?How late is too late for making noise in a residential area, and what can you do about it? (Image: Getty/Jun)

How late is too late for making noise in a residential area?

Government guidance sets out clear rules and consequences for excessive noise at night.

It says: “Councils can investigate complaints of statutory nuisance to tackle noise produced at any time of day or night.

“They may also issue warning notices in response to complaints about noise above permitted levels from 11pm to 7am. These warning notices can be used by councils for noise that’s not a statutory nuisance.”

The permitted noise level is measured using A-weighted decibels (dBA), the unit environmental noise is measured in.

If the underlying noise is no more than 24 dBA then the permitted noise level is 34 dBA.

If the underlying level of noise is more than 24 dBA then the permitted level of noise is 10 dBA above the underlying noise.

Anything louder than this is considered to be excessive noise.

The warning notice must tell the recipient:

  • that the noise is coming from the premises between 11pm and 7am
  • that the noise exceeds, or may exceed permitted levels as measured from within the complainant’s dwelling
  • that the noise must be reduced to below the permitted level in a specified period (this must be at least 10 minutes after the notice is served and must end by 7am)
  • what time the notice is issued

What is the punishment for excessive noise?

If the noise comes from a dwelling the notice must say that the person responsible may be guilty of an offence if noise exceeding permitted levels is made in the period specified.

If someone doesn’t comply with a warning notice without a reasonable excuse, councils can:

  • give a fixed penalty notice (FPN) giving them the chance to pay a fine (up to £110 for dwellings and £500 for licensed premises) within 14 days, instead of being prosecuted
  • prosecute them if they don’t issue an FPN or if the person responsible doesn’t pay the fine on time (if convicted they can get a fine of up to £1,000 for dwellings and an unlimited amount for licensed premises)
  • remove noise-making equipment like loudspeakers