Question: In a recent answer you suggested lodging a complaint with a magistrates’ court if a neighbour continued to be a nuisance by making a noise etc.
© Merrily Harpur
I have neighbours who make an awful noise, playing loud music, often right through the night - and not just at weekends.
My question is this: Can I lodge a complaint without actually naming the offender? As it is a student house next door it is virtually impossible to identify who is responsible for the noise at any given time.
Answer: Before you make a formal complaint to the magistrates’ court, you must notify the perpetrator of the alleged nuisance in writing, telling them about your intended course of action.
You probably need to hire a solicitor to draft the complaint because there is certain information that has to be included in it before the court can accept it.
Ideally, notice should be given to the person or persons who will be the defendant or defendants in the court proceedings.
If you do not know the name of the person who is responsible for creating the noise or nuisance, then the proceedings should be brought against the owner or the occupier of the premises.
The reason why this course of action is acceptable as far as the court is concerned, is because it would place an unfair and expensive burden on you if you were required to establish the identity and to proceed against each and every person responsible for the nuisance.
If the noise is from a student house, you could always contact the university or college they attend. Try the accommodation office to see whether you can obtain the individuals’ names.
If you have no success in establishing the names of those concerned, I suggest that you notify in writing the occupiers of the property of your intention to commence legal proceedings. You do not need to identify them individually.
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Fiona is a partner in the residential real estate team at Thring LLP www.thrings.com.