People doing DIY at home risk £5,000 fine and 'prosecution' from council

A common mistake when carrying out DIY at home could see households fined £5,000. UK homeowners and households have been warned that they could face a fine of £5,000 if they break this little known noise law this summer.

Noise levels must be kept to a minimum between the hours of 11pm to 7am and this covers playing loud music, partying, dogs barking, vehicles, and machinery noises like lawnmowers and even washing machines. Toolstation adds that whilst there are no set laws that govern DIY-related work.

There are laws that cover construction works to limit any excess noise disruption and each local council usually has its own set of guidelines. In average any construction-related work must be confined between the hours of 8am - 6pm from Mondays to Fridays and between 8am - 1pm on Saturdays.

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As a general rule of thumb, Toolstation notes that any DIY work that involves using power tools or machinery such as mowing the lawn, sanding down walls, or drilling should not be carried out outside of these hours. Smaller DIY jobs such as painting and decorating, resealing grout, or gardening are OK to carry out.

For the noise to count as a statutory nuisance it must do one of the following: unreasonably and substantially interfere with the use or enjoyment of a home or other premises OR injure health or be likely to injure health, according to the government website.

Councils can investigate complaints of statutory nuisance to tackle noise produced at any time of day or night. They may also issue warning notices in response to complaints about noise above permitted levels from 11pm to 7am. These warning notices can be used by councils for noise that’s not a statutory nuisance.

If someone doesn’t comply with a warning notice without a reasonable excuse, councils can give a fixed penalty notice (FPN) giving them the chance to pay a fine (up to £110 for dwellings and £500 for licensed premises) within 14 days, instead of being prosecuted.

Or prosecute them if they don’t issue an FPN or if the person responsible doesn’t pay the fine on time (if convicted they can get a fine of up to £1,000 for dwellings and an unlimited amount for licensed premises) and remove noise-making equipment like loudspeakers.