Page:Problems with neighbours

Problems with Neighbours

Most students get on fine with their neighbours but sometimes problems do occur. These can include disputes over noise, car parking and refuse collection.

What can you do?

Contact the perpetrator’s landlord

Most housing contracts state that tenants must not cause a nuisance or annoyance to neighbours. Many private landlords are willing to try and help by talking to tenants who cause problems for others but they are often reluctant to become involved in legal action, such as eviction proceedings.

Landlords such as the City Council and housing associations have their own policies on how to tackle antisocial behaviour. If you are in University accommodation and having problems with your housemates or neighbours, you can contact Accommodation and Commercial Services.

Complain to the environmental health department

The City Council has a duty under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Noise Act 1996 to take action to remedy complaints of nuisance behaviour.

Noise caused by neighbours is the most common complaint but threats to someone’s safety (by persons other than housemates) can also be covered. You cannot complain to the council about someone who shares your own accommodation, only those in adjoining properties. Ring 0114 2726444.

It is also possible under the Environmental Protection Act to take legal action privately.

Keep a record

Whether you are suffering from harassment or neighbour nuisance, it is advisable to keep a record and/or diary of incidents. This should include times, the nature of the nuisance and duration. If you receive abusive texts, emails or letters keep them as evidence.

Living in the community

Remember that you live in a local community alongside families, professionals and older people, who will not always share the same lifestyle as you. This sometimes leads to problems and complaints to the University and City Council about the behaviour of students, especially late night noise nuisance.

Remember that noise disturbance is an offence and in serious cases you can be prosecuted. The University can also take action under the University’s Disciplinary Procedures against students who are causing nuisance, anti social behaviour or bringing the University into disrepute.

It is important, wherever possible to get on with your neighbours and understand the needs of the local community. You are still entitled to have fun but there are things you can do to promote good relations with your neighbours and steps you can take to really get the most out of living in the community.

Introduce yourself to the neighbours as soon as you move in and be friendly. Neighbours are also good sources of information about the area. They may even offer to keep a watch on the house while you are away.

You could also consider getting involved in the community, joining a local residents association or volunteering on local projects. Sheffield Volunteering is a great place for more information on volunteering opportunities in the local community.

Keeping the noise down

  • Keep general noise levels down. Try and make sure you are not making a noise that can be heard outside your property, after 11.30pm and before 8.00am.
  • Inform them in advance if you are planning a party and discuss your plans with them. Try and minimise noise disturbance by keeping windows and doors shut during a party and not inviting too many guests.
  • If you do get a complaint about noise, apologise and turn the music down and/or stop the behaviour which led to the complaint. It will cause fewer problems and less bad feeling in the long run. You may also avoid getting an unwelcome visit from the police or University Security staff.
  • Move stereo equipment away from adjoining walls, and raise them off the floor to reduce the transfer of noise. If you love your music loud and want to listen to it in the early hours, wear headphones!
  • Noise from slamming doors, running up and downstairs or returning home late after a night out, perhaps after a drink or two, are also common causes of complaint. Be considerate.


  • Whilst the majority of students do behave appropriately and get on well with their neighbours; some students don’t and this can lead to a situation where all students get a bad reputation.
  • One off incidents of noise nuisance will not usually get you in trouble with the authorities, but it can cause unnecessary bad feeling with your neighbours.
  • Your neighbours may have had problems with students in the past. Sometimes they may be quick to complain and appear unreasonable. They are probably assuming that you will be ‘as bad as the last lot’.

If you are ever threatened or feel intimidated by a neighbour, please seek advice from the Student Advice Centre. If there are threats of violence, ring the police immediately.