Editor's note: The weekend is finally here again, have you figured out how to arrange your rest days?

Do you want to stay at home and sleep until you wake up naturally?

Have you ever had a wonderful weekend that was ruined by the sound of construction, cars, and children playing downstairs?

In fact, this problem can also be regarded as an international life problem.

In particular, noise from neighbors can cause great trouble to us. It not only wakes us up, but also affects our mood and causes physical discomfort.

  Whether you live at home or abroad, I believe everyone has had the experience of being disturbed by noise.

Regarding this difficult problem to deal with, in this issue, let us take a look at the stories of several authors on the issue of neighbor noise. What are the regulations on noise treatment in different countries?

  How to protect your rights if you are affected by noise nuisance in the UK?

  Everyone knows the British beer culture, football culture, and party culture. Once many people get drunk, or get excited when watching football matches, etc., they will inevitably lose control of their emotions, shouting loudly, or jumping to the music. singing.

Laughing and cursing will not have much impact on everyone's daily life during the already noisy daytime, but late at night, when the whole city quiets down, these sounds will become particularly harsh and will affect people's lives to a large extent. It affects everyone's rest and work or study status the next day.

  Noise at any time may be deemed a nuisance

  First, let’s take a look at the UK’s definition of nuisance from a UK legal perspective.

  Nuisances are divided into private nuisances and public nuisances.

A private nuisance violates the rights of real property.

It included serious interference with the plaintiff's normal use of the land.

A private nuisance is usually noise, odor, or encroachment on one's property, actual damage, etc.

Nuisance can be an act of omission or an active act.

  Public nuisance refers to causing serious harm to the public. From 2022, public nuisance mainly targets individuals participating in demonstrations.

The laws related to nuisance are: case law scope and written laws and regulations or tort law and criminal law.

  1. Scope of case law

  Nuisance belongs to the category of tort law. Since many laws in the UK are not written codes, but follow the judgment results of previous cases, this method is called case law.

Cases that fall within the scope of tort law are basically decided along the lines of previous cases.

  2. Written laws and regulations

  Apart from case law, the legal provision most relevant to nuisance is the Environmental Protection Act of 1990.

This is mostly used in criminal law.

Therefore, for nuisance, you can sue the other party in tort law in civil court, or you can sue the other party in criminal court.

  Specific to noise nuisance, whether it occurs during the day or at night, noise at any time may be considered a nuisance. Of course, different time periods and different geographical locations have different criteria for determining whether it constitutes a noise nuisance.

Noise that occurs in the middle of the night is more likely to be deemed a nuisance.

  Dealing with noise nuisance problems is a time-consuming, laborious and nerve-wracking process

  If noise nuisance occurs for the first time, you can say hello to your neighbor and resolve it privately.

  For the second time, if the same noise nuisance occurs to the same person/household, a complaint can be made to the local committee.

Especially for parties that take place at midnight, local committee members in most areas have night duty personnel who will come immediately to ask the other party to stop causing nuisance.

However, some committees do not have such intervention mechanisms.

  As for the police, under normal circumstances, if the group making the noise does not quarrel, fight, etc., the police will not dispatch the police.

Therefore, residents in some cities have to endure it on their own if private persuasion fails when encountering midnight parties.

  Committees that do not have night shifts will handle complaints during working hours after receiving complaints from citizens.

Normally, the council will send a written notice to the person causing the noise.

Those who complained will also be notified and a noise monitoring app installed.

  After the committee intervenes, if the noise nuisance continues, they will take further action.

  Under normal circumstances, staff will visit the door to check the noise situation in person, or install a recorder.

If the noise producer still refuses to change after several attempts by staff, the committee has the right to give the other party a "noise abatement notice." If the noise producer fails to comply with the contents of this notice, it will be fined.

  Although this looks like a bright road, it is not so smooth.

  The committee's time limit for dealing with noise nuisance is 3 months, but if they encounter cunning neighbors, they will "stop all activity" when they receive the notice for the first time and wait for 3 months. Once the time limit for treatment has expired, they will The commotion started again, so all the previous efforts were in vain, and everything was back to square one.

  So is there no way to “treat” these people?

  Another method is litigation, which is divided into civil litigation and criminal litigation.

You can try to sue the other party in the County Court or High Court and sue the other party under tort law. If you win, you will be able to get a noise abatement order and compensation.

Current compensation for emotional/psychological trauma caused by noise nuisance.

  You can also take the other party to the Magistrates' Court, which is the lowest criminal court under the British legal system. It is responsible for judging minor crimes and prosecuting for violations of environmental protection laws.

  If you win the case, you can get a noise abatement order from the court, and the court may fine the other party; or fine you if you violate the noise abatement order.

Once you are fined, a criminal record will be left.

  Generally speaking, you can take the matter to the magistrate's court, but if you take it to a civil court, you will incur relatively high legal fees.

  In the process of dealing with noise nuisance, please note the time of occurrence, duration, what caused the noise, its impact on you, and the decibel level (although this is not the key to determining whether it is a nuisance), and remember to record the sound for evidence.

  Residents with different statuses, such as landlords and tenants, have different ways to seek help.

  If you are a tenant, after making a routine complaint to the committee, you can also contact your landlord, who is the permanent owner of the land. The landlord is obliged to help you deal with the noise nuisance. If the landlord does not act, you can The landlord complained to the Office of the Housing Ombudsman.

  If your complaint is successful, the landlord will need to compensate you.

The website of the Housing Inspector's Office also has research on noise nuisance, as well as specific compensation cases.

  If your neighbor's tenant is making the noise, you can complain to his landlord.

From a tort law perspective, landlords have the responsibility to manage their tenants and not cause a nuisance to neighbors.

If the landlord fails to fulfill this duty, although you cannot sue him in the magistrates' court, you can try to sue him in civil court within the scope of tort law.

  If there are children in the family where the party is making noise, you can also report the situation to social workers and they will come forward to protect the rights of the children.

  In addition, for extremely egregious landlords, you can report them to the committee, and they have the right to take the inactive landlord to court and apply for an injunction.

This would either ban the landlord from letting the property outright, or the council could take over the lettings, with the income also being the council's.

  Some British people have a "distorted" attitude towards noise nuisance

  Many people may not realize that noise nuisance is also a form of anti-social behaviour.

At the beginning of 2023, the British government released an anti-social behavior management plan.

Although relevant laws and regulations are in place, they cannot stop the inaction of some local governments and police.

  On a website, an old British lady recounted her experience of being disturbed by noise from her neighbors for 30 years.

  What this old lady was experiencing was not just noise trouble, it was anti-social behavior.

The police should have applied to the court for an injunction sooner.

But apparently, the police have done nothing in the past 30 years.

  I have also heard of many cases where the people who were harassed suffered greatly, and the long process of complaints and litigation increased the psychological burden on the victims, so many people chose to sell their houses or move.

  But from my personal experience, the attitude of some British people towards noise nuisance, especially midnight parties, is a bit distorted.

For example, many people think that since they can’t sleep, they should join them.

But for people who have to go to work or go to school the next day, the sleep deprivation caused by a neighbor's all-night party can cause considerable damage to the victim's physical and mental health.

Especially for those who are vulnerable, such as the elderly, children, patients, and especially those with mental illness, palpitations, headaches, anxiety, and depression will follow.

  What's more, people who can party all night will definitely not give up just once.

Add to that the inaction of the council and the police, who allow them to do so, and they'll be pulling all-nighters again and again.

This will cause victims to take time off work and see a family doctor, which will not only increase the burden on the NHS (National Health Service), but also reduce social productivity.

It even causes victims to take sick leave at home and receive sick leave benefits, which increases the burden on the entire society.

  What other noise-related laws have been introduced in the UK in recent decades?

  1. The Noise Act enacted in 1996 explains how the committee needs to deal with noise between 11 pm and 7 am.

I feel this law needs to be updated and noise victims need immediate action.

  2. The Judgment and Public Order Act promulgated in 1994 mainly stipulates that if music is played loudly at a gathering of 20 or more people in the open air at night, the police will evict the party.

  The two bills set out the ban on the use of sound equipment to play music on the street after 9pm.


  Are your neighbors too noisy?

In France you can "handle" him like this

  The issue of noise between neighbors has always been a sensitive topic for a long time. I believe many people who have lived in France have a deep understanding of it. They are often tortured because their neighbors are too noisy.

According to data from French authorities, nearly two-thirds of French people are poisoned by neighborhood noise.

  The Criminal Code clarifies that it is illegal if a neighbor makes repeated, strong and continuous noises

  French law stipulates that any excessive decibel sound between 10 pm and 7 am is considered noise, regardless of holidays or working days.

  Article R623-2 of the French Criminal Code also clearly states that when neighbors make sounds that are repetitive, strong and continuous, they have violated the law.

  What should you do if you encounter a noisy neighbor in France?

  Step one: Knock on your neighbor’s door directly to give a friendly reminder.

As the saying goes, don't hit someone with a smile. If you speak kindly enough and show the right amount of generosity, the other person will be embarrassed to refute you.

Although we are the ones affected by the noise, in order not to cause unnecessary trouble, I advise everyone to tolerate the calm for a while.

  The French city regulations department has stated that peaceful negotiation is effective and can resolve 90% of noise-related disputes.

  Step 2: If your neighbor is a very tough target and is indifferent no matter what you say, you can send them a letter. Note that it is a registered letter with a receipt, just in case it happens in the future. If you want to go to court, you can produce a piece of evidence.

  The content of the letter was nothing more than a good intention to persuade them not to make too much noise, and also to inform the apartment manager to let him know about the matter.

And it's best to gather other neighbors, because if the noise is so loud, it will definitely not affect you.

Under the pressure of many people, I believe the neighbors will definitely restrain themselves.

  The last step: After going through the first two stages, the neighbor who still refuses to cooperate will not only show no restraint, but will also make the noise even louder because of your persuasion. At this time, the only option is to call the police and go to court. .

  If the noise is unbearable, you can call the police and even issue a fine of hundreds of euros.

  Calling the police is the most efficient method. As long as your neighbor makes noise between 10 pm and 7 am, you can call the police directly.

The police will issue them a fine ranging from 68 to 180 euros.

  As for going to court, you need to think carefully and be prepared.

We need to use mobile phones or other methods to record the neighbor making noise, plus a receipt letter sent in the second stage, a recording of the conversation with the noise maker and proof of reporting to the police, etc.

Of course, in addition to these evidences, we also need to understand the legal and regulatory documents in each region.

  But rest assured, most noise problems can be solved in the first two steps. After all, no one wants to run to the court every day.


  In Germany, which has extremely strict regulations on noise, is a baby crying in the middle of the night considered a nuisance?

  Noise pollution, air pollution and water pollution are among the three major environmental hazards in the world today.

Germany is a country that is particularly intolerant of noise. Since the middle of the last century, it has successively introduced many laws and regulations to prevent and control noise pollution.

  Residents must remain quiet during "rest hours" and playing music exceeding 35 decibels is considered noise.

  In Germany, the so-called "rest time" is from 22:00 to 6:00 the next day. Residents must keep quiet. Otherwise, if a neighbor calls the police, the police will come to their door in minutes.

  The following behaviors are not allowed: having parties, playing musical instruments, playing music exceeding 35 decibels, talking or arguing loudly, using electrical and electric equipment (such as lawnmowers, vacuum cleaners, drills), barking dogs...

  While Germany's regulations on noise are strict, they do have one exception.

  No one can deprive babies of their right to cry. Baby crying is recognized as a "natural sound"

  Babies don't care what your rest time is, they only recognize their own time - whether it's midnight or early morning, their sky-breaking cries and shouts may sound, penetrating the eardrums and reaching the soul.

Many new parents worry that they will have conflicts with neighbors or even be terminated by their landlords on this ground.

However, in Germany such worries are unnecessary.

  Although the regulations vary from federal state to federal state, no matter where the baby cries, there are no "rest time" restrictions.

No matter when they cry, no matter how loud they cry, residents must accept and tolerate it.

  Infant crying is considered an age-appropriate, temporary behavior.

They really can't control themselves, and their parents usually can't do anything about it.

  Not just babies. According to Germany's Federal Emission Control Act, the noise made by infants and children is not harmful to the environment. It is not considered noise in a legal sense, but is natural sound, so any noise management regulations are not applicable.

  Of course, there have been many cases of complaints about noisy children across Germany, but the law is mostly on the side of children and parents:

  There are frequent golden sentences in it, such as "An apartment is not a monastery, and children cannot be chained like puppies." "You can't expect there to be a button that can be pressed to quiet the child."...

  German society is very tolerant of babies and children and provides various conveniences for parents.

  In 2018, someone called the police in a Berlin apartment building because a neighbor's 14-month-old baby girl was crying.

The child's parents were very angry about this and wrote an open letter in the child's name:

  Hello, dear neighbors!

  My name is XX and I moved here in mid-April.

  I am now 14 months old and just started walking in the past two weeks.

Sometimes it doesn't go well (I think my feet are too big) and I fall and cry.

Sometimes I feel so bad that I want to scream.

For example, I don't like changing diapers at all, so I lose my temper.

  I'm not worried about this at all, though, because according to many laws, I can scream as loud as I want!

It has been too hot these days, and my mother opened the window specially, but somehow I still felt hot, so I cried.

  I have a beautiful pink room. You are welcome to come and have a look or play with me so that I can show you around.

  The two policemen in uniforms and pistols yesterday were very strange. I didn't understand why they came to my house and asked such strange questions.

  So I want to ask: Is this how everyone behaves in this world and in this house?

Don’t we want to communicate with each other?

  I'm new here, please give me some advice!

  Therefore, even in Germany, which likes peace and quiet, no one can deprive babies of their right to cry.

Everyone is born as a baby, but some people often forget this.

  Germany is very friendly and tolerant to babies and children, and at the same time provides various benefits and conveniences to their parents as much as possible, even in serious academic situations. Many conferences and seminars can provide child care services.

  What impressed me deeply was that I once attended a large international conference in Munich with more than 1,500 participants.

One of the mothers, whose baby was less than one year old, burst into tears during the report at the branch meeting.

She quickly got up and left the table, taking the baby to the door to comfort her.

  Many people looked over subconsciously, but quickly retracted their gazes.

The boss who was speaking on the stage smiled knowingly, and then continued to give the report as if nothing had happened; the audience below the stage smiled knowingly, and then continued to listen to the report as if nothing had happened.

  The baby was still crying intermittently, and the mother couldn't comfort her, so she had to push the door open and go out. After closing the door, the meeting went on as usual, and everyone ignored it.

In such a relaxed environment, both babies and new parents will feel less stressed and more relaxed.

  Text/Gui Meier (now living in Germany)