Noise & Community Issues

Advice from our Student Advice Centre team.

Anti-Social Behaviour

Newcastle University Students Union (NUSU) and Newcastle University hope all our students remain happy and are safe and secure during their time at University.  We also hope they are good neighbours, making a positive impact whether they are in University student accommodation or living in the local community.

However, sometimes complaints are received by non-student residents in the community and other students concerning the behaviour of a minority of students. NUSU Know Your Rights page has some introductory information for you and you can find out here how the University responds to complaints and how this can impact you.  Below we have outlined the main mechanisms used by Newcastle City Council for dealing with Anti-Social Behaviour which invariably involves noise and noise nuisance. 

As a student you need to be aware that action can be taken via a combined range of sources: your landlord or agent; your University; the Local Council and the Police.  It is not limited to one or the other so you could be facing actions via more than one of these.  Both the University, Council and the Police have a shared weekly communication about reported incidents and have a connected graded response process to address issues. 

There are several pieces of legislation that cover either noise or more generally Anti-Social Behaviour. There is a general misunderstanding that noise is only an issue if caused after 11 pm and before 7 am.  Noise can be Anti-Social and a Statutory nuisance at any time of the day.  These hours however are known in the legislation as ‘night hours’ a can give rise to enforcement officers investigation outside of the normal office hours. 

The council has several main mechanisms for dealing with Anti-Social Behaviour:

The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policy Act 2014 presents several remedies for a very broad range of behaviours. One of these remedies is the power to issue Community Protection Notice Warnings (CPMw) followed by a Community Protection Notice (CPN).  These are formal notices served under the legislation and can lead to a criminal offence if breached and action in the Magistrates Court.  If you receive such a notice you need to take this seriously.  They are served on individuals and can stand for years and follow you from property to property. 

Under this legislation, you can be vicariously liable.  So, if you are on the Tenancy Agreement you may be held responsible for conduct on, or affecting those premises regardless of whether you are there or not.  You may be considered to have authorised or condoned the conduct if you were aware of it and failed to prevent it – this will expect you to report instances in your own house and your own housemates if you wish to discharge the personal liability.   Liability will not carry over where such a person cannot reasonably be expected to control or affect the detrimental conduct.

Another mechanism Newcastle City Council use is the serving of a Section 80 Abatement Notice for ‘statutory nuisances’ of which noise is one.  The legislation places a ‘duty’ on local authorities to deal with statutory nuisance which means they must act.  This can also lead to a criminal offence if breached and again if served must be taken seriously. 

The council will decide which mechanism is the most appropriate on a case by case basis.  Both notices are a warning of further action if you fail to do as instructed. 

There is no right of appeal on a CPNw but if you receive a CPN you can ask the council to vary/discharge the notice or you can apply to the Magistrates Court to Appeal its issue.  You only have 21 days window to make the appeal at court so if you ask the council to vary/discharge you must do so before the 21 days window to apply to the Magistrates Court expires.  You cannot request the council to vary/discharge if you have already started an appeal. 

The University is likely to have been notified of any serving of notices and may commence its own response to the behaviour and the link is included above as to what this might entail. As this can have legal consequences you may want to book an appointment with an Adviser but you may also want to seek legal advice and representation.  Please be aware these are usually at a cost.