I wish to discuss the distribution of rights with regard to noise levels in a block of flats.
I recently moved into a rented flat with my partner and have had to bring an issue of loud music to the attention of our neighbour who lives above us. We wrote a polite letter simply stating that whether due to thin floors and ceilings we could hear the music and asking that the level of music be kept down a little in order that it didn’t disturb us or disturb our sleep. We did not ask for it to be turned off just down. Before, she was playing it at 7am at a volume where we could hear it and it would wake us up. The night before we put the letter through the door she played her music until gone midnight. Needless to say, we would not have complained or brought it to their attention if it were not an issue but it was actively disturbing us. To be friendly and to allow her options to respond, we decidedly put our mobile number on the letter. We felt it would be fair to give her a way to handle the situation without having to talk face to face particularly if she felt uncomfortable about doing so.
On the afternoon we sent the letter she text us a rather visceral response. It was entirely unnecessary to be so angry as it was not personal, just a polite request and bringing something to her attention. She stated that she had never received any complaint(s) before about noise, that she owned her property above us, that her ‘sound system’ was nothing other than an Alexa Dot, and implying she was within her rights because of the Noise Act 1996 and the ‘time slots’. I don’t really know why she said all of this as it should not matter if you own or rent your property; considering others living in the same block still matters. But it was a little shocking to have this sort of response as we only asked her to turn it down, not off.
In consideration of this scenario, what rights does she have? And what rights do we have as tenants? As far as I know, the Noise Act 1996 is a guideline and should not be used as legal example. But it does mention ‘permissible levels’ of noise, which I do not think her music was hence the letter in the first place. Currently, and thankfully, she has kept the noise down, but if in future there was a recurrence of the issue, how would it work? I don’t want to exacerbate the issue needlessly, but if I can hear the music and it’s bothering me, surely I have a right to say something?