Sunday, September 30, 2007

Alarms and noisy neighbours

It's not been a good few days.

There's been a burglar alarm going off in my road since Friday. On Friday I thought that it was coming from somewhere distant, it wasn't until Saturday Morning as I went out that I realised it was from the boarded up house.

Saturday evening I came home and passed the house again, it was still going off. So I called the Council's Noise Line.

I was put through to some sort of call centre and told that I would be called back in 10 to 15 minutes, I was doubtful, but they did deliver, well in part.

While waiting I read the Council's page on Burglar alarms, you can read that here.

Well when they called me I was firstly told that the "noise team" was more of a noise person and that no one could be sent out to witness the alarm going off.

"So what can I do?" I asked, call back Sunday after 1pm I was told.

Now on the web site it says When the noise team receives a complaint of a burglar alarm sounding, it tries to contact the keyholders. So I asked about that. I was told that the Council don't have a list of keyholders but that the police do. So that part of the page was nonsense.

They wouldn't contact the police for me either but said it was a good idea when I offered to.

So I call the police. It turns out that they don't have a list and will only attend a property when it looks like there's been a break in, which wasn't the case at the boarded up house. They said that the Council do have the list of keyholders for alarmed properties.

So I phone the noise individual back. She seemed surprised that the police didn't have a list of keyholders and again confirmed that they didn't. Apparently they haven't implemented the piece of legislation that says that they should, I need to try and find out if that's compulsory for a local authority.

I let her know that the web page was nonsense and completely inaccurate, she said she'd raise it with her management and it would be updated within a week. I'll be keeping an eye on that.... She says that all I can do is to call back at 1pm on Sunday.

So the alarm continues to sound all night through to Sunday morning. Thankfully I can't hear it from my bedroom only from my lounge, I pity those that are closer to it.

Anyway skip to Sunday... The alarm's still going off, my call goes to the call centre thingy and I wait for the team to call me back. Half an hour later I'm still waiting, I've got things to do so I've got to go out. Hopefully they'll get back to me at some point today...

To cap all this off my neighbours downstairs have woken me both Friday and Saturday nights by coming in and playing loud music. Friday it was 1.30am and Saturday it was 2.15am. I had to stamp on the floor a few times to get them to turn it down, even then it went to the level that I could still hear the bass tapping away and I just couldn't get back to sleep. After an hour last night I gave up and watched TV until 4am (with headphones!) and then finally managed to pass out.

I need to say something, but it's not easy. It's much easier to tackle something like the Council where it's impersonal.


Anonymous said...

As Chaka Khan said in the eighties; "I feel for you..."

If there are 2 things guaranteed to drive someone crazy, it's inconsiderate neighbours and sleep deprivation!

Add these two things together and they create huge stress.

There can be only one of two outcomes to your situation:
1. They stop being noisy. They genuinely never realised you could hear them. As you were banging on the floor, I assume this is not the case - they were pretty-much taking the piss. They knew it was bothering you and just continued. Of course, the noise is going to get louder and more frequent - now they know they can 'get away with it.'

2 They are forced to stop, usually through fear; (either fear of a 'slap' or of losing their home if they are council tenants).

Sadly, most people try to create a third option; to 'train' the neighbour - to make them a considerate member of society. This leads to massive stress because it never works. It's a bit like telling a smoker not to smoke because it's bad for them; in that it leads to even more of the behaviour you are seeking to stop.

The really crappy part is that there is no low-impact way to deal with inconsiderate neighbours.

In the real world you have just three options:
1. Move.
2. Beat / Scare the shit out of them.
3. Pay someone to beat / scare the shit out of them.

This feedback is based on over a decade working with 'warring families' in Greenwich; before leaving out of sheer frustration.

Oh, the police.
The police are well-meaning, but useless in your situation. They will tell the neighbour to turn their noise down, and then leave. You now have a very pissed-off neighbour! The police will not get involved again, until someone has been assaulted or a serious threat has been made.

The situation has to become extremely dangerous before it is dealt with seriously by the authorities.

Charlton Average said...

As for the neighbours I'm going with the theory that they just don't realise how thin the floors are and aren't doing it to be awkward. The stamping did produce a reaction and a drop in volume to the point that my other half sleepily said she couldn't hear it. However at that point I was pretty annoyed and was just latching onto it, not being able to get it out of my head.

Their bedroom is under our lounge and I do try hard to be considerate, hence the headphones with the very long lead I've got. Also we don't play dance music so there's no repetitive thump thump thump of a bass, it's that bass that really seems to travel.

I do need to have a word, until then I'll settle for thoughtless rather than inconsiderate. Let's face it in the end I can't complain too much if I won't say something.

Anonymous said...

Hi Charlton Average,

Good luck with that - my experience of people who play dance music loudly in the middle of the night is somewhat different.

All the best. Let us know how you get on!

Anonymous said...

He's right, you are gonna have mofre and more noise if you leave it. Prats need to be dealt with or they get worse.

its just a form of bullying.

Good luck.