4 Best Ways to Record Neighbours’ Noise

record neighbours noise

Last updated: July 28, 2022 at 14:18 pm

Sometimes living close to other people is great, they’re there when you need sugar, they can become lifelong friends, and it’s a really comforting community. Other times, however, living near other people can result in irritation, frustration, and anger. If your neighbours are noisy, it can really distract you whenever you’re home and can prevent you from properly relaxing at the end of the day.

So, what do you do if your neighbours are noisy? Well, there are a few ways to handle it. But the first step is to start recording the noise.

What Are the UK Noise Laws?

If you’re thinking of acting against your noisy neighbours, in whatever form that might be, it is important that you know the noise laws in the UK first. For most occasionally noisy neighbours, there isn’t much that can be done officially. That means if your neighbours are just having a domestic at 3 am once a month, you’ve not got many avenues to take.

However, if your neighbours are continuously noisy, you might have more of a chance when it comes to getting them to stop. If someone “substantially” interferes with your life, then they might be classed as a “public nuisance” or a “private nuisance”. The latter is most common when discussing neighbourly disputes. A private nuisance is anything that causes “a continuous unlawful and indirect interference with the use or enjoyment of land”, and it can be prosecuted for.

For the occasional noise, the law that might help is the Noise Act of 1996. The act dictates that there should be no excess noise coming from dwellings between 11 pm and 7 am every night. Police can warn and fine those who break this law.

Best Ways to Record Noisy Neighbours

There are a few different ways to record noise from your neighbours.

1. Noise Nuisance Log Sheet

This is the least invasive but arguably also the least evident form of recording your noisy neighbours.

It involves writing down each time you are disrupted by their noise, for how long, and the time and date. It is useful for conversations with landlords or your neighbour, but not great for court.

2. Video Camera

This is an especially useful method of noise recording if you can see your neighbours making said noise. If they’re playing basketball outside in the early hours, perhaps, or if they leave their barking dogs outside all night.

Set your camera up wherever is noisiest or wherever will allow the viewer to see your neighbours making the noise and leave it on to record for a week or two. Then you can go through after and collate all of the clips.

3. Microphone or Voice Recorder

This sounds obvious but using a microphone to record your noisy neighbours is a great solution. Set your microphone or voice recorder up wherever the noise is most frequent, and either rush to turn it on each time the noise appears or set it up to record for a long period of time.

Like with the video camera, you can then collect all the audio clips and store them together for evidence.

4. Smartphone

Pretty much everyone has one, so why not use it to your advantage? Smartphones have video cameras and voice recorders, allowing you to use either of the above methods whenever is convenient or whenever you get woken up.

This also allows you to access the files when you’re not at home, which can be useful down the line.

Tips for Recording Noisy Neighbours

Check the Range of the Device

If you have noisy neighbours that are above or right next door to you, this might be less of an issue. But for those neighbours that are a few houses down, or perhaps even over the street, be sure to pick up a recording device with enough range.

Similarly, it is important to consider that where you’re recording might have sound insulation barriers such as beds, curtains, or sofas. So, if when you first record, it doesn’t work, you can try again somewhere else.

Software such as Audacity is also very useful to tune in on certain frequencies in audio recordings.

Related: How to Stop Worrying About Noisy Neighbours

Consider Things That Might Interfere

If you’re using a video camera, make sure you do not place it anywhere where the cat might go and sleep in front of it, or where you might regularly obstruct the view. Likewise, don’t place audio recorders near electronics that might interfere with them. If there are electronics in the room, you should ensure that they are turned off.

Make Sure the Devices Stay Charged

If you are leaving the device on 24/7 for a few days or weeks, you should either keep it plugged in, or be regularly checking that the device is charged and plugging it in as and when needed. If you are purchasing a new device, keep an eye out for long battery lives as this will save you some stress when it comes to recording your noisy neighbours.

Two Types of Microphone

Did you know that there are two types of microphones, the condenser, and the dynamic? The condenser microphone is best at picking up quieter noises and is suitable for high frequencies, whereas the dynamic mics are best for louder noises and capture sound more widely.

When shopping or rummaging for a sound recorder or even a video recorder, be sure to use one with a dynamic microphone to pick up as much of the noise as possible. It is unlikely that you would need to use a condenser mic if the noises from your neighbours are loud enough to cause you disruption!

What Can You Do to Stop Noisy Neighbours?

Within the UK legislation, there are a few ways to stop noisy neighbours. Which method you choose to take will depend on your relationship with the neighbours in question, as well as your confidence and the extent of the issue. The best ways to put a stop to noisy neighbours are:

Talk to Them

If you know your neighbour and you feel comfortable doing so, try to catch them on their way to or from the bin one morning, or better yet, invite them over for a cuppa.

Ask them what the noises are, and whether they are aware of how loud they are being. Often, neighbours are unaware and will put in the effort to prevent the noise in the future.

Talk to Their Landlord

If you’re not comfortable talking to your neighbours directly, you can always contact their landlord. Of course, this requires you to know your neighbour’s landlord and have their contact details.

You can simply ask the landlord to speak to their tenants on your behalf – hopefully, this will scare your neighbours and they will start to be a bit more considerate.

Contact the Local Authority or Police

The local council and environmental health agency may be able to speak to your neighbours for you. They can help to warn or fine your neighbours if they’re breaking the noise restriction laws at all.

Take Them to Court

Perhaps the most severe of all the ways to respond to noisy neighbours is by taking them to court.

This can be a long, arduous, and stressful (not to mention expensive) process, but it is one of the solutions that are most likely to have long-term success.

Use Mediation Services

Many local authorities offer mediation services for those trying to work out any issues with their neighbours. These services allow you to have a chat with your neighbour about the issue without having to speak to them alone. It is perfect for those with unfriendly or daunting neighbours, or when you’ve tried speaking to your neighbour a few times and nothing has changed.

For all these methods of acting against your neighbour, you will need to have recorded evidence of their noise. This will help in all cases, whether in court or just with a mediator. If you’re getting ready to start acting and restoring your peace, follow these tips on the best ways to record your noisy neighbours.

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About the Author: AJ

AJ is a self-confessed soundproofing nut. He has written full-time on Quiet Living for the past 3 years, and has a wealth of knowledge about living a quieter life, soundproofing and fixing loud noises.

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