Gatherings and Noise

By sophiebk 25 Jun 2020

When students leave halls and move in to the wider community, the majority will live peacefully amongst others in the neighbourhood, however the University does receive complaints from both local residents and fellow students. 

Large gatherings in your home are currently prohibited under Covid-19 regulations, however you can now meet in a group of 2 households indoors, and so it is important you do this respectfully and carefully. Please remember you may have neighbours who are elderly, shielding or working from home, so be considerate with your noise levels and sensitive to the fact that unruly behaviour has the potential to cause a lot of upset and anxiety.

If you choose to have another household round to visit you, most reasonable neighbours will not have any serious objections to this as long as you’re respectful towards them and you are not creating Excessive Noise Levels - there are strict laws surrounding this and potential penalties include removal of noise-making equipment like loudspeakers, fines (up to £110 for dwellings) and even prosecution.

Below is some advice to ensure any gatherings you choose to host are trouble-free.

Be sensitive to your neighbour’s lifestyle

It's useful if you know a little about your neighbour’s lifestyle and regular ‘patterns’ of behaviour. For example, if you know they always go out on a Friday night, have people over then. Similarly, if they work day/night shift patterns, it’s better if you have visitors when they’re on nights. If they have young children of school age, it’s obviously going to be better at the weekend! Take all of this in to consideration.

Talk to your neighbours first

Where possible, visit your closest neighbours and tell them the approximate time that your gathering is going to start and when it’s likely to finish. Not only will that foster good relations, the effects are far less likely to upset or annoy those living around you.

Don't forget the time

Show some courtesy towards your neighbours as the night wears on. After about 11pm, you should turn any music down to an acceptable level. You should also ask your guests to ensure they leave quietly at the end of the night.

Plan the layout properly

Think about how your guests will move throughout your house and make necessary changes to ensure there is enough room for everyone. Government guidance is that people from different household should still ensure a 2 metre distance as much as possible. In addition, when you’re thinking about music don’t position your speakers against any adjoining walls. You need to be even more aware of all of these guidelines if you’re planning on having people outdoors - noise travels much further and has an even greater impact.

Other Practical Things you Can Do

  • If you choose to play music you should pay attention to the bass control of your music. It’s often the ‘thudding’ sound of the bass which will annoy neighbours the most, so be aware of how high you have that.
  • We know having a drink may be important for you and your guests, but take account of the effect alcohol can have on your behaviour, and the way others may view it, and moderate your consumption accordingly.
  • Loud music is the most commonly cited complaint from neighbours, but even loud conversation and boisterous behaviour needs to be tempered somewhat after around 11pm.

Dealing with Repercussions

If you do not pay attention to any of the above guidelines, there is a strong possibility that not only will you damage relations between you and your neighbours, but you may also find that you get a visit from either your local environmental health department and/or the police. In some cases, this can lead to fines being imposed, further legal action being taken against you, and you might also run the risk of having your sound equipment seized. Liverpool City Council deal with complaints about noisy neighbours (music, shouting, alarms etc) and you can see their policy on Noise Nuisances here. Information on the wider University Policy on Student Conduct and Discipline is here. 

Once you leave halls and move in to the community, we recognise that there may be times when you are the victim of problematic behaviour off-campus. Click here for a list of organisations you can reach out to for advice or support.

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