Neighbour complaining about my children's noise playing in the garden

(173 Posts)
IlanaK Wed 19-May-10 21:10:54

We just moved into a garden flat after not having a garden for most of my children's lives. We have had landscape gardener's in for two weeks and they are now mostly finished transforming the garden. The garden is over 100ft and we have divided it into areas. There is a bark chipped area near the back (though not right at the back) where we have put the trampoline. At the back of our garden is the garden to another house which is side on to ours (so you come out of our place, turn right and right again onto a side road and theirs is the first house so it runs perpendicular to our garden if that makes sense). Their garden is quite small and they have an extension that is not that far from the boundary between our gardens.

Today the man that lives there came to complain about the noise my children were making. He works from home in the extension and says they are too noisy on the trampoline and he can't hear to make phone calls.

My kids are aged almost 9, almost 6 and almost 2. They are all boys and we moved to this place specifically for the garden space. I home school my children so they are in the garden during the day on and off between about 9am and 5pm. The last three days we have had friends around so it has been noisier than usual. I did explain all this to the man. He said he thought we were running a nursery here! I assured him I was not!

So,he wants us to move the trampoline. He says that we only put it at the back of the garden to keep the noise away from our house (NOT TRUE!). I am unwilling to move it as we have specifically safety surfaced that area for it. I asked if there were specific times of day that he would prefer them not to be playing there - he said no as he works all day. He also mentioned his need to relax in his garden at the weekend.

So, what would you do? Would you move the trampoline? WOuld you ask your kids to be quiet when they are out there? Or would you ignore him?

CarGirl Wed 19-May-10 21:28:15

Maybe I'm strange but I don't want to hear my children shreiking and screaming at the top of their voices in my garden so I've always assumed my neighbours don't want to.

Same when they repeatedly want to kick the ball against the wall for hours on end, it's not neighbourly IMO

IlanaK Wed 19-May-10 21:28:24

I did acknowledge with him today that this week has been a bit full on with noise. We have had friends round three days in a row (different friends) as they all wanted to come and see the garden as it has been finished. So there has been a lot of noise this week. I also explained that it is not normally like that and some days we would be out.

I am not saying my rights are more important than his at all. However, I find it a bit odd that someone working from home is expecting it to be quiet all the time. If someone worked shifts and had to sleep during the day, surely you would not think that the world should be quiet for him?

abr1de Wed 19-May-10 21:28:32

Why can't you tell your children that they're not allowed on between, say 9.30am and 11am? And then again between 2 and 3.30pm?

If I was trying to make calls and your children were disturbing me for long periods and stopping me from earning my living, effectively, I would be feeling irritated too.

Butterball Wed 19-May-10 21:28:34

Who said get rid of it?

It's not about rights. It's about showing consideration! If you think you ARE showing consideration and not allowing your DCs to scream and shriek for long periods then that's fine, just ignore him. Of COURSE your children should be allowed to play and make noise. My posts were just about trying not to get into a bad relationship with your neighbour. I've had that and had to move as it became so bad!

tatt Wed 19-May-10 21:29:00

if the children are making a lot of noise then you should move the trampoline or plant something thick to screen the noise a bit - or both. He has a small place and can't move far away, you have a large garden and should be prepared to compromise. Your noise is making his life difficult and you can choose to make it easier, So you are just being selfish.

CarGirl Wed 19-May-10 21:30:03

From his point of view he's had quiet and doesn't appreciate that was unusual! He's been spoilt and doesn't realise it. He could of course relocate further into his house he has options too.

Milliways Wed 19-May-10 21:30:03

Maybe the previous owners of your flat didn't have children?

When we moved to our present house, with its 220' garden, we were the ONLY family on our stretch of road with kids! I was acutely aware of their noise, but was lucky with my neighbours, and eventually more kids moved in.

We moved our trampoline from it's original position (not easy, it is a 14' one) to spare the neighbours, and now they only annoy the people in the churchyard, so avoid funerals etc.

As you homeschool, I really think you should limit the 9-3 bouncing, as people get used to the after-school until teatime frenzy that most estates endure.

Littlefish Wed 19-May-10 21:30:21

I agree with those posters saying that you need to find a way to compromise.

It is unusual for people to home-school and for children to be in the garden throughout the day (except in the holidays and at weekends), so I can see his point of view.

You have a 100 ft garden. He can't move his office, but you can move your trampoline. It's not worth getting off on the wrong foot with your neighbours.

activate Wed 19-May-10 21:30:42

I suggested replacing the trampoline with a climbing frame as the area is there

not such a crack-pot suggestion

trampoline use should be monitored by an adult anyway and there shouldn't be more than one at a time on it - bet that doesn't happen at your house (nor anyone else's house either)

McDreamy Wed 19-May-10 21:31:46

I think it's really sad that people complain about children playing outside. You could bring them in and sit them in front of the TV - would be much quieter non hmm

Your kids much be making one hell of a racket for him not to be able to hear himself think - or is he just a grumpy old man?

homicidalmummy Wed 19-May-10 21:32:10

It's your garden, you make the rules.

By all means tellyour dc to keep it down and just say to him you've spoken to your kids, it's all you can do.

Don't move the trampoline.
He'll get used to it eventually!

IlanaK Wed 19-May-10 21:32:31

Activate did say to get rid of it and get a climbing frame instead (incidentally, we have one of those).

Ivykaty44 Wed 19-May-10 21:32:51

ring the council and report him for running a business/has an office at- from home - he needs to be paying business rates and that is much more expesive grinOr his company need to office him elsewhere.

I can't run a business from home as it is in my deeds - so wouldn't be able to build an extention as an office...

Ivykaty44 Wed 19-May-10 21:33:42

actually to be fair - this is why you have residental areas - because they are just that, residental and not meant for offices.

gillybean2 Wed 19-May-10 21:34:56

I assume this guy takes a lunch break? Could you not limit the times during the day the children are on the trampoline to 'lunch hour' and the equivalent of say a 20min morning and afternoon break. Then after 4pm (most children would be home from school by then) they can be on the trampoline again as much as they like.

Explain to him that you have limited the day time trampolining to these times, but at weekends and evenings they will be out there and hope he understands that you are trying to compromise but that children do make noise and need freedom to enjoy outdoors.

Also perhaps point out that the trampoline is new and exciting and so they are extra excited at the moment but this will no doubt calm down soon.

ravenAK Wed 19-May-10 21:36:54

I agree that it would be reasonable to restrict noisy use of the garden to hours when children might be expected to be in the garden. Maybe 3pm onwards on 'school days'.

At least until you are settled in, & the initial excitement of new house & friends coming round has subsided.

Then it probably wouldn't be such a nuisance to your neighbour if your boys occasionally took a break from their studies during the day.

I do think that this level of noise, at unpredictable intervals throughout the day, every day, & taking place nearer to his dwelling than yours, is a bit much.

IlanaK Wed 19-May-10 21:36:58

I think he was used to quiet during the day. We have the neighbours from hell on one side (which I have posted about today on another thread) who have young children, but they only come out after 4pm. I can't do that with my kids as the garden is unusable once their kids come out. The swearing, shouting, and missile throwing is not something I want my children subjected to.

I do think he is a crotchety old man as someone suggested (not that this is not a valid complaint of his to make to me) as he mentioned wanting quiet on the weekends too so he could relax in the garden!

Realistically, we are going to be using the garden during the 9-3 period. Except on days we have friends here, I don't think the noise is that bad. I think it has just been a busty few days with friends here.

Really, considering the neighbours from hell (that he has spent over a year battling with involving police and social services), you'd think he might be thankful that a nice respectable family has moved in here!

WoTmania Wed 19-May-10 21:38:34

I was going to say can't you just sort out times of day when he doesn't mind them being out playing and times when he needs quiet. Then I got to this bit:
'I asked if there were specific times of day that he would prefer them not to be playing there - he said no as he works all day. He also mentioned his need to relax in his garden at the weekend.'

So basically in his view your children shouldn't play outside, at all, ever. Just in case he's trying to work or relax hmm

I would ignore him I think. He'll soon get bored with complaining. grin

rollerbaby Wed 19-May-10 21:40:17

I think he has a bloody cheek! I would say you've spoken to your children, but obviously children will be children and they have as much right to play as he does to work!

I think on the weekends it is fair enough that your kids aren't screeching all day, but a few boisterous sessions are tolerable by intolerant neightbours I should think... they are kids after all.

It's worth saying something - you don't want him to get nasty and start shouting at your children or call the LA.

Poor you that is really annoying and stressful. Enjoy your nice garden - he will get used to it.

Butterball Wed 19-May-10 21:40:59

He was probably just especially grumpy as thought he was going to have to put up with that level of noise on a regular basis. Now you've explained I'm sure he will be fine.

IlanaK Wed 19-May-10 21:41:02

For those saying about children being expected to be in the garden after 4pm (which I find hilarious!), what about preschool children? Surely they would be in the garden during the day?

IlanaK Wed 19-May-10 21:43:23

I was extremely reasonable when I spoke with him. I tried to offer solutions. I explained we were putting up a fence across the back this week (the landscapers haven't finished that bit yet) and that may help. My husband went over to speak with him this evening and the guy was unable to talk to him as he had people there for business. Good thing my kids weren't in the garden tonight (they were tucked up in bed actually, unlike the neighbours from hell whose kids are still in the garden screaming the place down now). My husband gave him his mobile number and email address too.

Millimat Wed 19-May-10 21:43:57

Does he actually have any children to know what childhood is about?!!

Butterball Wed 19-May-10 21:44:16

Honestly, these trampolines should be banned. wink My neighbour has one and their DD screams like she's on a rollercoaster when she's on it! If I had to listen to that for a week (thinking it was going to be something that was going to happen week in, week out) I'd be grumpy too.

ravenAK Wed 19-May-10 21:47:36

Well, yes, but preschoolers would probably not be noisily trampolining at the bottom of the garden...there might be some sort of supervision involved?

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