Noisy neighbours forced Wigan resident to sell her home, watchdog hears

A Wigan woman’s neighbours were causing such a noise nuisance that she ended up moving house, a watchdog has heard.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 4:32 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 4:34 pm

A Wigan woman’s neighbours were causing such a noise nuisance that she ended up moving house, a watchdog has heard.

The Local Government Ombudsman received a complaint from a resident, identified only as Mrs X, who reported the council failed to properly deal with anti-social behaviour from people living next door. Mrs X alleged that the issues were so bad that she suffered “significant distress” and mental health issues, and had to sell her home.

The watchdog found that, while the town hall did fail to properly assess some of the noise recordings, there was no “significant injustice” caused to Mrs X as a result.

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A Wigan woman’s neighbours were causing such a noise nuisance that she ended up moving house

The report found that problems first began around a month after new council tenants moved in next door to Mrs X in August 2019. In particular, she complained that there were lots of people in the house shouting and playing loud music.

The council asked Mrs X to complete nuisance diaries. Council officers also visited her property, as well as the neighbours in question, to discuss the complaints. Mrs X’s neighbour made counter allegations against Mrs X.

In early October, Mrs X, who purchased her home from the council in 2016 under the Right To Buy scheme, wrote to the council asking if it would buy back the house from her.

The council said that it would not, and it explained that if she sold the house, she would have to pay back some of the discount she received when she bought it through the Right to Buy scheme.

Mrs X then put her house up for sale. Noise monitoring equipment was installed by the council, and although “excessive noise” was picked up on occasion, it was not deemed enough to warrant action.

Council officers visited Mrs X again in November, and she explained how the anti-social behaviour and noise were affecting her mental health.

She continued to report anti-social behaviour and noise nuisance from her neighbour.

She also complained about rubbish outside the house which she was worried could put off any potential buyers. She was recommended to instal sound-proofing materials or wearing ear plugs.

Mrs X accepted an offer on her house in March 2020 and moved out in the following month. In June, she submitted a formal complaint to the council about the way it had handled her reports of anti-social behaviour and noise nuisance.

She said council officers were wrong to question her mental health and wrong to suggest she install sound proofing materials.

She said that she was driven out of her house by the ineffectiveness of the council’s officers and asked the council to reimburse the money she had lost through having to sell her home.

The investigating officer from the Ombudsman found that the council appropriately dealt with Mrs X’s noise complaints but failed to assess some of the noise recordings which Mrs X submitted via the Noise App.

The investigator was also satisfied that, although the neighbour’s behaviour would have caused Mrs X “significant distress,” the council’s failing “did not lead to Mrs X having to sell her house, or to her losing money on the house sale.”

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