Student on laptop with headphones on

Noise in Private Housing

How to enjoy student life without disturbing others

A common cause of friction between students and neighbours is noise levels.

Excessive noise, especially late at night, is not very neighbourly and can cause great distress, particularly to those whose working day starts and finishes earlier than yours.

Noise often travels easily between properties, through open doors and windows, and through the walls. Even low level noise, such as slamming doors and running upstairs, can disturb your neighbours, particularly in the middle of the night.

Listen to your neighbours

Ask your neighbours to let you know if noise levels from your house disturb them. You could offer to give them your phone number so that they can send you a message if the noise levels are too loud. If they approach you with a complaint or feedback, be polite and responsive.

Tips for keeping noise levels down

  • Keep the music volume and bass levels down, remember that walls between houses are very thin and sound travels very easily.
  • Position speakers, TVs, games consoles etc. away from adjacent walls and indoors only.
  • If you can hear your music from outside your room, so can everyone else. Use headphones and be aware of the time when playing your music, computer games etc.
  • Noise in your garden travels beyond the fence and can disturb many more neighbours on your and surrounding streets
  • When walking and arriving home late, keep your voices down.
  • Sound travels a great deal in the early hours - slamming car doors or the front door as you enter the house can often wake up those asleep in surrounding houses.
  • Be particularly sensitive if you live alongside people who work, families with young children or elderly people.

Having parties in residential areas

If you’re considering having the occasional party at home, give your neighbours plenty of warning that you’re having a party and let them know what time you’re expecting to finish. This includes neighbours on your block, not just next door, who might by disturbed by your guests arriving and leaving, or the music. Stick to the agreed finishing time and make sure guests leave promptly and quietly

Keep doors and windows shut to try and prevent noise travelling even further and disturbing even more neighbours. Don’t have party guests or music in gardens or outdoor space running late into the night, as it disturbs many people at once. Anything outdoors after 11pm is considered antisocial.

Often people’s volumes increase when they have had a few drinks. Ask your guests to leave quietly - this includes saying “goodbye” on the doorstep. Make sure taxis are not kept waiting with engines running, and that their doors aren’t slammed - it sounds very loud late at night and is disruptive to neighbours (even those across the road).

What to do if you receive a complaint

If you receive a complaint from a neighbour, take responsibility and resolve the problem. respond positively to requests to reduce the volume, immediately. No one wants to ruin your fun but you need to remember that many other people also live nearby.

Student and Neighbour Liaison Service

The Student and Neighbour Liaison Service investigates and resolves complaints from local residents about the behaviour of University students. 

If we receive a complaint about you as a student, we’ll make you aware and encourage you to try and resolve any difficulties with your neighbours amicably.

We can help students too - if you’re having difficulties with your housemates or your neighbours are disturbing you with excessive noise, we can offer advice and assistance to help you resolve any problems that may occur.

Contact the Student and Neighbour Liaison Service:

Council enforcement action

Your neighbours can also make a complaint to Portsmouth City Council about noise, especially if it’s regular and persistent. You will receive a letter to inform you that you are being investigated.

During this time, a Noise Enforcement Officer may visit your property - you must respond to their enquiries. They can monitor noise levels, and the impact it’s having on your neighbours. If you continue to make a lot of noise, they have power to seize your equipment and prosecute you with a substantial fine.

There’s more information about noise pollution and the steps the council may take on the Portsmouth City Council website.

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