Is your intruder alarm a 'noise nuisance'?
The Council's Environmental Protection Team receives a number of complaints about noisy alarms, but it can be hard to trace the homeowner or someone who can disable the alarm should the homeowner be on holiday.
Noise from malfunctioning alarms can be a real headache for neighbours, causing broken sleep, stress and annoyance. If your alarm causes this kind of disturbance you may be causing a statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
If a statutory nuisance is witnessed, we may obtain a magistrates warrant to enter your property and silence the alarm. Any costs incurred by the Council in abating the noise nuisance can be recovered (including locksmith and engineer time) and the bill can run into several hundreds of pounds. On top of this, if a noise abatement notice is served it remains on the property and if the nuisance happens again you could be prosecuted with fines of up to £20,000 for business premises and £5,000 for residential properties. A notice may also remain on the property and would show up on any searches if the property is for sale. This may affect the sale of the property and put people off purchasing your property.
To prevent this happening to you, you should:
- Supply your contact details to the Council by completing the Keyholders Form;
- Provide details of two trusted friends or neighbours to act as keyholders for your property. They should be easily contacted day or night in the event that you are unavailable.
Details of keyholders for commercial premises are also held by the Council.
If your neighbours are not your keyholders it is a good idea to let them know who is in case your alarm malfunctions.
Check that your alarm is fitted with a twenty minute cut out device and get it serviced regularly to help prevent problems.