New Housing Ombudsman report on noise complaints

10 November 2022

The Housing Ombudsman has published its latest spotlight report following a systematic investigation into noise complaints. The report explores how social landlords manage reports of noise nuisances, what drives complaints and sets out a set of recommendations for the sector.

It brings together learning from a review of more than 800 noise related cases dealt with over three years. It features insights from 374 responses to the Housing Ombudsman’s call for evidence, plus interviews with frontline staff and residents of some individual landlords.

Following repairs, noise is a significant driver of complaints, costing both individuals and landlords. The investigation found that most landlords handle noise reports under their antisocial behaviour (ASB) policy which can lead to entrenched disputes and mismanaged expectations.


The report calls for social landlords to develop a stronger strategy for handling non-statuary noise seriously, sensitively and proportionally and outlines a set of recommendations including:

  • Recognise noise transference as a key issue and take practical steps to prevent noise transference.
  • Update void standards to ensure that properties have adequate insulation from transference noise.
  • Review and strengthen ASB policy and neighbourhood management strategy.
  • Consider how reports are triaged to ensure the correct approach is applied.
  • Review their presence on estates and information that prioritises intervention.

The report recognises the complexity of handling noise reports as the issue often requires involving several bodies with varying statutory responsibilities. It recommends that social landlords consider the service level agreements they have in place with different bodies and ensure roles and responsibilities are clear.

The Housing Ombudsman also welcomes the government’s review of the Decent Homes Standard and encourages it to reflect the factors related to noise more comprehensively.

If you have any questions or would like to share feedback on the report please contact our policy team.