Loud music nuisance
Since the late 1980s, I have been the unfortunate victim of a neighbour from hell, when the family whom I'll identify as nfh came to live in the flat directly above mine in a peaceful estate in Cricklewood in NW London
15th July 2008 « Nasty neighbour
[Published originally in January 2008]
Enter the dragon
The first indication that something was amiss came late in 1987 when, one evening, music was played at an incredibly high volume for four hours or so, lasting late into the night. The volume was so high that vibration from it could actually be felt throughout my home.
After this initial 'marathon' session, music was played loudly about once a weekHe didn't offer to apologise for having caused nuisance or inconvenience at any time of day or night and lasted for about twenty to ninety minutes, always at a slightly lower volume than on the initial 'marathon' session.
Because this noise was so unusual on our estate, it was difficult to identify the source at first. But when I did identify it after several occurrences some weeks later, I went up there and knocked on the door of nfh.
Actually, knocking on their door is not an accurate description of what I had to do to attract their attention; I had to bang loudly several times on the door to make my presence heard over the loud noise. When the door opened finally, I was met by the 'man-friend' of nfh. I told him the music was too loud and asked him to turn it down. He said nothing and didn't apologise for the inconvenience, but it was turned down after about a quarter of an hour.
Controlled by a selfish lifestyle
Repeatedly, for longer than eight years, I have had to go up there to ask them to turn down the loud music. Almost always, to avoid banging on their door, I have had to wait outside until there was a break in the music before knocking. Usually, I was met with the response, 'Do you want me to turn it down?' It was turned down after ten minutes or so, but never immediately.All that greeted me was even louder music and the stench of cannabis
One Sunday morning, early in the 1990s, I was awoken at about 6:00 a.m. by their loud music. I went up there to ask them to turn it down, and had to bang loudly on their door because a more polite knock, naturally, would have gone unnoticed. Their door opened several centimetres and I waited for a few seconds for one of them to appear. Nothing happened, and all that greeted me was even louder music and the stench of cannabis. So I opened the door further to see who was there, but there was nobody at the door or in their hallway.
I assumed the door opened because it hadn't been shut properly and, feeling as though I were an intruder, I had no alternative but to go back downstairs and just wait until the loud music stopped, which it did about an hour later.
Setting a poor example
After several years of asking this family to turn down their music, I tried offering nfh, instead, an explanation for my reasons for doing so. These explanations revolved round the philosophy that we all have to live here together, and because I don't do it to you, please don't do it to me.
One night in March 1996, at about 11:00 p.m., there was a lot of stamping and shuffling of feetHolding a late-night children's party in the area above my bedroom in the area over my bedroom (I was in bed at the time), and I had to go up there to ask them to keep the noise down.
When nfh came to the door, she was accompanied by one of her own children and about a dozen others who piled out of the flat and into the communal hallway. They appeared to be aged about 6 to 10 or so, and one of them used offensive language at me. There was no music, loud or otherwise but, apparently, they were having a children's party in the area above my bedroom. The children left the building after a few minutes but the loud music started about half an hour later.
Immediately, I made my first complaint about them to my local Council, the London Borough of Brent, by telephoning its 'noise patrol'. The woman to whom I spoke was willing to visit the address within the hour, but I told her that, because the music was likely to last for a relatively short period, it might not be playing when she arrived. She offered, instead, to write to them about the nuisance.
A temporary lull
The loud music stopped finally about a week later near the end of March 1996. This was just the first of three forms of nuisance behaviour that the Council stopped out of the nine major forms of nuisance behaviour of nfh which I reported to the Council, although some of these forms of nuisance didn't emerge until some time later.
Shortly before Christmas 2002, I heard music played regularly at a loud, nuisance level and it seemed to be coming from the stack of flats next to mine. Early in March, I was visiting a neighbour in that stack of flats and asked her if she heard the loud music. She didn't hear it and this prompted me to investigate the source more thoroughly. One day when it was playing, I went up the stairs leading to the other flats in my stack. I thought we had resolved this loud music issue six years previously It was loudest outside the flat of nfh and could not be heard in the other stack of flats which I believed initially to be the source.
Immediately, it was obvious nfh had begun to play their music at a nuisance level once again and appeared to be their response to my complaints of her unreasonable use of a washing machine, including the other nuisances they posed.
I believed we had resolved issues relating to nuisance caused by their loud music over six years previously (this is the reason I believed it was coming from another section of the building and for my refusal, initially, to believe it was created by nfh). It appeared, now, that I was back to where I had been at the height of the creation of nuisance with loud music by nfh before March 1996, thanks to Brent Council's incompetent 'neighbour relations team' and its complete inability to deal with the 'unique' personality of nfh. Actually, I was worse off now by far because I could not communicate with nfh on any but the most primitive level. The resumption of nuisance in this manner continued until I retaliated from July 2003 by hammering loudly on a brick wall with a hammer on several occasions and the loud music stopped finally late in 2003.
By the time this nuisance family left that address in summer 2006, they had become leaseholders of the property. Their current tenant has occupied the property since about September 2006, and has not played music loudly. However, the following document was delivered to my home on Sunday, 29-4-2007 at 4:00 a.m. and is published here unedited except to withhold their address;
To whom it may concern
I'm having a Christening party on Sunday 29th April at [the address of nfh]
It will finish at 1a.m.
Sorry for any inconvenience
[The address of nfh]
That evening, loud, intrusive music was played at that address from 5:05 until 11:30. I didn't complain to them about it, didn't ask them to turn it down, and I didn't make a complaint about it to either the Council's 'noise wardens' or to its 'environmental service'. I felt that, under the circumstances, it was unreasonable to object because this person had not used loud music to cause nuisance at other times.
After this incident, there was no more loud music played until after the following document was delivered to my home on Thursday, 12-6-2008, published here unedited except to withhold their address;
I will be celebrating my 25th birthday on Saturday 14th June. I will be holding a party at number [the address of nfh] starting at 8pm finishing at 3am. If you have any problems with this please knock on my door by Friday.
The following day, Friday, 13-6-2008, for several hours between 3:25 p.m. and 7:25 p.m., loud, intrusive music was played at the address of nfh. This nuisance was resumed on the following day, Saturday 14-6-2008, at 6:15 p.m. and continued intermittently until 11:30 p.m.
At 11:35 p.m., the music was resumed but this time with the volume turned up much higher and continued without a break. At 00:55 a.m., I telephoned the Council's 'noise warden' service and got a recorded message that the service was not available. After several fruitless attempts to contact this 'service', I telephoned The loud music continued without a break until 4:34 a.m. the Council's switchboard at 1:40 a.m. and told the woman who answered about the noise. She said she could actually hear it over the telephone. I accepted there was nothing she could do immediately about it apart from log the complaint. The loud music continued without a break until 4:34 a.m.
According to the Council's publicity, its 'warden service' operates every day from the afternoon until 2:00 a.m. Why this service was not available from almost one o'clock in the morning on 15-6-2008 is a matter the Council should explain.
I received a letter from the Council's 'environmental health' service dated 16-6-2008 acknowledging my complaint and saying they had written to the perpetrators. To date, this nuisance has not been repeated by the resident at the address of nfh.
On Friday, 12-6-2009, the following document was put through my letterbox;
I am having a Drink up/Party on
Saturday 13th June
Starting at 9pm til 4-5am
If any problems please let me know by
No. [the address of nfh]
At about 8:45 on Saturday evening, loud music began playing continuously at the address of nfh. I telephoned the Council's 'noise patrol service' at about 9:30 p.m. They called to my address at about 10:00 p.m., and listened to the noise for about 15 minutes. They felt several walls in my living room, and the taller one felt the ceiling. They told me they could feel these surfaces vibrating because of the noise and that they believed the noise was excessive. I showed them the document delivered to my address and they said this 'finish-time' was unacceptable and would not be allowed, and that they would speak to the perpetrators immediately. I told them I was concerned the loud music would be resumed later in the night if they did comply with the request to reduce the noise during the Council's visit. If this happened, they said I should telephone the 'service' again. The woman who appeared to be leader of this two-person team said the Council's 'noise patrol service' normally was available until 5:00 a.m. each day. She was finishing her shiftThe volume was increased at about 12:45 a.m. to a higher level than earlier in the evening and continued without a break until 4:39 a.m. at 2:00 a.m. but, she said, because of incompetence within its management, the 'service' would not be available after 2:00 a.m. on that Sunday morning. The loud music was reduced to a more reasonable level at about 10:40 p.m.
The volume was increased at about 12:45 a.m. to a higher level than earlier in the evening and continued, again, without break. This time, it was accompanied by continuous, intrusive footfalls on the hard floor in the area above my bedroom and drunken shouting in the public areas leading to the flat of nfh. I telephoned the 'noise patrol service' again at around 1:00 a.m. and was told they were extremely busy but that someone will contact me after a while. Nobody did contact me.
The loud music stopped at 4:39 a.m. When the drunken shouting had died down, I opened my front door to check that my doorway had not been soiled. The sickly-sweet stench of cannabis permeated the air, while, outside my balcony, the grassy area was littered with alcohol bottles, tins, paper plates, food and plastic cups. Nfh's tenant, the cause of this noise nuisance, removed the rubbish at about 4:00 p.m on Sunday.
Update: 6-7-2009 The woman from the team which had responded to my telephone call of nuisance from loud music telephoned at about 7:15 p.m. on Tuesday 30-6-09. She apologised for taking so long to get back to me, and asked if the loud music had stopped after they had left. I told her that the loud music had been resumed before 1:00 a.m. and continued until just after 4:30 that morning. She told me she will be writing to these people to tell them this is not acceptable behaviour. She said she had telephoned me before 2:00 a.m. on that Sunday morning. I didn't hear the phone ring, having moved to my bedroom because the noise was slightly less intense there, although not enough to allow sleep or to hear the phone ring in the living room. Because I have no way of confirming the veracity of her statement, I must accept it as true.
This thread is continued in Interfering with my telly.
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