What can be done if I am experiencing nuisance noise from a neighbour?

The source of a neighbourhood noise complaint most often dictates the way it should be addressed, depending on whether the individual causing the noise nuisance is a private rented tenant, a local authority tenant or a private home-owner.

Private Rented Tenants:  In the case of noise nuisance being caused by individuals in private rented accommodation, the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 imposes minimum statutory obligations on landlords and tenants of private residential tenancies.  Tenant obligations under the Act include an obligation not to engage, or allow visitors to engage, in anti-social behaviour which is defined as including persistent noise that interferes with the peaceful occupation of other dwellings in the neighbourhood.  The Act also imposes an obligation on landlords to enforce the tenant obligations.

There is provision in the Act for third parties who are adversely affected by a failure on the part of a landlord to enforce tenant obligations to refer a complaint to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) in accordance with the procedures in the Act.  If an alternative legal remedy, such as the remedy provided for under the  Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992 (Noise) Regulations, 1994 (S.I. No. 179)  is being pursued, then the RTB cannot intervene.  All privately-rented properties must be registered with the RTB.  You can check if a property is registered by contacting the RTB.

Local Authority Tenants:  Noise nuisance caused by local authority tenants are also covered under legislation.  The tenancy agreement, which is the legal basis of the relationship between the local authority and its tenants, will generally contain provisions in relation to the type of behaviour that is acceptable, and that which is not. The local authority is empowered under Section 62 of the Housing Act 1966, to initiate proceedings to secure an eviction where a tenant has breached the conditions of the tenancy agreement.  Please contact your local authority if you have a complaint regarding the behaviour of one of their tenants.

Private Home Owner:  If the person causing a noise nuisance is a private home owner then obviously the potential remedies outlined above do not apply.  In this case, the person experiencing the noise nuisance will have to avail of the remedy provided under the Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992 (Noise) Regulations, 1994 (S.I. No. 179)  whereby any individual person, or a local authority, may complain to a District Court seeking an Order to deal with the noise nuisance. 

The Department of Communications, Climate Change & Environment has issued a self-explanatory leaflet entitled "Guide to the Noise Regulations" which outlines the steps to be taken where a person is experiencing nuisance caused by noise.  It includes a form, which can be filled in and then forwarded to the Clerk of the local District Court. There is no requirement to be represented in Court by a solicitor.  In addition, as there are no statutory limits currently in place, noise-monitoring data is not necessarily required; however, it may be beneficial in comparing data with the World Health Organisation (WHO) noise exposure recommendations.  Alternatively, a written record which includes dates and times during which the perceived noise nuisance occurred and/or a tape recording of the type of noise experienced, can provide important evidence which can be presented in Court.

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