Ombudsman launches call for evidence on noise complaints

13 April 2022

We have launched a call for evidence to support our next systemic investigation which will look at noise complaints.

We have launched a call for evidence to support our next systemic investigation which will look at noise complaints. The investigation will explore how social landlords manage reports of noise nuisance and what drives complaints about how those are handled. It will enable the Ombudsman to make recommendations and share best practice across the sector – helping landlords to develop their services and improve the experience of residents. 

The service has determined a significant number of complaints relating to noise over the last three years – 848 in total – and identified maladministration in 41 per cent of cases. The lines of enquiry for the investigation will include: 

  • How do policies around noise work in practice? 
  • How do landlords work with other agencies?
  • What is successful in mitigating for/dealing with inherent modern noise?
  • What is successful intervention? 

The call for evidence to answer these questions takes the form of surveys for member landlords and their residents. We will also draw insight from our own casebook and from our Resident Panel members, together with fieldwork in five landlords of varying size, type and location and their residents. This will ensure we can make far-reaching recommendations that promote greater understanding of the complexity of tackling noise complaints.  

Richard Blakeway, Housing Ombudsman, said: “Noise complaints can have a particularly significant impact on residents causing deep frustration and stress, and it’s an area that also presents difficult challenges for landlords.”  

“We are keen to examine all aspects of noise related complaints and particularly how complaints are managed under anti-social behaviour policies. The statutory thresholds can be high and result in a lengthy process for residents while they may continue to experience the disturbance.” 

“Our investigation will examine the relationship between anti-social behaviour and noise transference from our unique and independent perspective, so we can share best practice and learning across the social housing sector.” 

The surveys close on 13 May 2022. 

We will not be able to respond to individual complaints through the survey. More information on making a complaint can be found here.

The Spotlight reports are part of our ongoing commitment to share insight from our casework and use our systemic powers to investigate beyond individual disputes to drive learning and improvements for the benefit of all residents. All reports are available here.

See our call for evidence 

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