Brits lose 84.1 million hours of sleep every week as a direct result of noisy neighbours, according to new research. A quarter of adults lose sleep due to noise from neighbours, and are deprived of an average of 6.5 hours every week, the equivalent of almost one night’s sleep, says Churchill Home Insurance findings.
The most annoying noise from a neighbour is bass-driven music, with 43 per cent of Brits reporting this as the most irritating sound, followed by couples arguing (34 per cent).
Women find DIY activities more annoying than men, such as drilling (34 per cent vs 23 per cent) and hammering (25 per cent vs 22 per cent). Men are more affected by human noise including babies crying (25 per cent vs 19 per cent) and children arguing (24 per cent vs 17 per cent) than women.
Most annoying neighbour noises
Bass driven music
DIY – drilling
DIY – hammering
Despite loud neighbours having such an enormous impact on sleep and health, just a fifth (19 per cent) of those affected have spoken to the culprit about their noise levels. One in eight (13 per cent) have reported their neighbour to the local council, while one in 12 (eight per cent) have taken it a step further and involved the police.
Sadly, noise disputers often result in retaliatory behaviour, with almost one in ten (eight per cent) of those affected causing their own noise to disturb a neighbour and one in 20 (five per cent) deliberately interrupting neighbours’ sleep.
What you can do about a noisy neighbour
Local councils have legal powers to help those involved in a neighbour dispute if it involves a statutory nuisance; an activity that is damaging to health and wellbeing. Councils have a duty to investigate any such nuisance and can issue a noise abatement order if they decide someone is causing a statutory noise nuisance. Noise abatement orders tell the person causing the noise what they must do to stop making a noise nuisance or else face further legal action. Breaking a noise abatement order can result in a fine of up to £5,000.
Martin Scott, head of Churchill home insurance, said: “Noise can have such a debilitating effect on us, due to the lost sleep, increased stress and sometimes even conflict with neighbours. It is often the case that those causing the noise do not realise how loud they are being. They may have hardwood floors or a high-end sound system and not realise how this sounds in the flat below, for example.
“The first step for resolving noise complaints should be to speak to the neighbour in question and try to resolve it amicably. If this does not work and the noise continues, make a record of it and speak to the council as they will be able to advise on next steps.”
Churchill Family Legal Protection is available as a policy add-on for Churchill’s Home Insurance customers, which provides £100,000 of cover for legal costs (providing there are reasonable prospects of success) to help customers with issues such as pursuing neighbour disputes.