Nuisance Reports During Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak

Due to the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Government Guidelines we are unable to carry out visits in response to nuisance reports at this time.

We would like to encourage all residents to be considerate towards their neighbours during these extraordinary times, and if you are being affected by a nuisance caused by a neighbouring property we would encourage you to contact your neighbour informally to let them know that they are causing you a problem.

Contacting your neighbour must be done in a way that meets the government’s current social distancing rules. You could write your neighbour a letter, or speak with them on the telephone. We have letter templates here which can help you with this

You might also be able to take your mind off the issue by finding distractions within your home.

If you have tried the above and are still experiencing the problem or feel it is not appropriate, we are able to give you advice on nuisance issues over the phone; please contact us via email at EnvironmentalHealth@swdevon.gov.uk. We are unable to investigate anonymous reports.

I have been complained about unfairly; what should I do?

The Council has a legal duty to investigate all noise complaints that it receives. This does not mean that we have decided that the level of the noise is unacceptable.

We write to you first to give you an opportunity to see if you believe that you are causing a problem. This means you have the chance to change your behaviour if you think you could be causing a problem.

Before the Council takes any formal action we will gather evidence ourselves of the extent of the problem. We may contact you again to discuss what could be done to solve the problem.


My neighbour complains my dogs are barking too much; what can I do?

It is normal and natural for dogs to bark, and it is likely only to be causing a statutory nuisance if the barking occurs for long periods of time, frequently throughout the day or during unsociable hours (i.e. late at night or early in the morning.)

Try and talk to your neighbours about the barking to see what is particularly upsetting them. Remember if you are not home during the day you might not know how much your dog barks. You may be able to put something in place to lessen the problem.


My neighbour complains that I am playing my music too loud; what can I do?

Consider how loud you play your music and whether you could turn it down while still being able to enjoy the music. You might want to talk to your neighbours to try and agree a reasonable level, or times of the day when it will not bother them too much.


What is a 'Statutory Nuisance'?

There's no strict definition in law. It can be described as 'an unreasonable interference with the enjoyment of your property'. It must occur regularly and continue for a period of time that makes it unreasonable.