Minimising the impact of noise pollution for landlords

As a landlord you should be aware of The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). This affects all owners, landlords and management agents who as a part of the Housing Act (2004) are required to ensure there are no serious hazards that may cause a health or safety risk to tenants.  

Today we’re going to share some details around noise, its effects and what you can do to minimise the impact of noise pollution for your tenants. Exposure to noise in the home that is the result of insufficient sound insulation can cause negative effects to physical and mental health.

The sources of noise
It has been defined by the Department for Communities and Local Government that tolerable noise includes neighbours during the daytime, routine home deliveries and some traffic noise. Intolerable noise is defined as loud, continuous or apparently unnecessary noises at night which seem to go on indefinitely, seemingly inconsiderate noises at night, shouting and violent rows and night time traffic noise. Noise pollution does not cover ‘noisy neighbours’ of the domestic or commercial kinds during the daytime. 

The health effects of noise
It has been reported in the The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) guides that night-time traffic noise is more dangerous to health than daytime noise exposure. The physical health effects include raised blood pressure and headaches. The mental health effects of noise pollution include stress, sleep disturbance, lack of concentration and even anxiety.

Causes of noise pollution
It is listed in the The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) document that the causes of noise pollution are as follows:
  • Location of dwelling in particularly noisy environment
  • Inadequate internal insulation
  • Inadequate levels of external sound insulation
  • Disrepair of windows/internal/external doors allowing increased noise penetration
  • Inappropriate siting of plumbing/fittings/facilities
  • Noisy equipment or facilities
  • Overly strong door closing resulting in banging
If you are subject to a hazard assessment when it comes to a noise pollution complaint, a noise meter may be used to measure things such as overlap of domestic noise (e.g television, toilets flushing) between one dwelling and another or how easy it is to hear external noise to assess for poor sound insulation.

What you can do about it
As a landlord there are preventative measures that you can undertake in order to minimise the above causes of noise pollution and therefore decrease the amount of unhappy tenants and complaints you could receive. These should all comply with HHSRS in order to pass any hazard assessments.  
  • Double glazing and lobbies to external doors and potentially even installing triple glazing if your properties are near very high noise levels such as airports. 
  • General good quality insulation and soundproofing across walls, roofs and floorboards.
  • Plumbing from toilets and washing machines sited away from separating walls
  • Bathrooms, toilets and white goods in flats not sited above living rooms/bedrooms.
  • Use of high quality partitions and party walls especially in flats and properties of multiple occupancies. 
  • Regular maintenance of structural features such as doors, flooring and ceilings. 
  • Installing anti-slam or soft close doors, cupboards and wardrobe units to minimise noise.
It is agreed that noise tolerance will be different for different people taking into account their age, working status and lifestyle and it is also agreed that noise can be measured but people will find different noises offensive and not everyone will be the same. But, all the same, as a landlord you can work to reduce the discomfort of your tenants if at all possible. 


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