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Sunday, 15 February 2015

Guidance for residents who have been the subject of noise complaints

If you have been the subject of more than one or two noise complaints, you should recently have received a letter from the Senior Member on your floor. The back of the letter includes some tips on how to avoid any more complaints from your neighbours.

We understand that most of the time when people disturb their neighbours in Hall, it is unintentional – and often those making noise do not realise how loud they are being, or how much the sound might be travelling and disturbing others. So we are trying to raise awareness and help everyone get on better together, in the hope that none of these problems will escalate into disciplinary matters.
This is especially important as we move towards more exams and coursework deadline over the coming months.


NOISE: EXPECTATIONS AND RULES

Noise disturbance generally creates the most dissatisfaction with Hall life, and is the commonest reason for disciplinary action. Connaught Hall is a large hall of residence of mostly first-year undergraduate students in a busy part of London. So we do not expect complete silence all the time. But we do expect that everyone will be sensitive to the needs of their neighbours for quiet time.

We should all be able to study or rest without unreasonable disturbance from others at any time. Residents — or their guests — who are unable to adhere to these guidelines will face disciplinary action and possible removal from the Hall.

You must make no noise audible from outside your room between 11.00 pm and 7.00 am.

Excessively loud music and other noise are not allowed at any time of day. The Warden or his nominated Deputy (normally the Duty Senior Member) shall be the arbiter of whether noise is excessive, and his/her decision shall be final.

If your neighbour asks you to be quieter, you must respond politely and cooperatively.

SOME TIPS TO HELP YOU GET ON WITH YOUR NEIGHBOURS

Most of us have at least eight immediate neighbours: one either side, three above, and three below. But when you’re thinking about noise, you should consider everyone on your section of corridor to be a neighbour, too.

Talk to one another

Respect others’ needs for quiet time: they may want to sleep or study at different times from you. Being unable to sleep or work when you need to can make you annoyed and stressed, and can seriously impact on your quality of life.

So agree on quiet times with your neighbours, and other times when it might be ok to make a bit more noise. You can only do this by asking them: “Am I too noisy sometimes? How can I make it better for you?”

Be polite and try to help if your neighbour knocks on your door and asks you to quieten down; next time it might be you asking for quiet!

Think carefully about how sound travels

Our walls, floors, and ceilings are quite thin and transmit sound readily. You don’t have to be having a huge party to be making too much noise.

It’s easy to cause noise for your neighbours without realising it, especially for anyone who lives underneath you: something dropping on the floor can make a really loud bang downstairs!

Please, whenever you are up after 11pm, think very carefully if what you are doing might be keeping your neighbour awake, especially if you have visitors in your room. 

Take your friends to a common room at night

If you have more than one visitor after 11pm, it’s best to go to one of the common rooms, so as to avoid disturbing anyone.

Be extra quiet when you’re in the corridors after 11pm

Noise travels further than you think, so talk quietly in corridors; and don’t run or shout in hallways or stairwells. One loud shriek or giggle could wake up everyone on the corridor.

Close doors quietly

Pull doors closed quietly and push the handle down so the lock doesn’t click, especially at night. Slamming doors (especially when you have several friends in your room, maybe going to and from the bathroom) are one of the commonest noise complaints.

Be quiet when you’re outside the building, too

In the garden, keep noise down at all times: even a little noise here echoes around the courtyard and can disturb people in rear-facing bedrooms.

Outside the front of the building, don’t shout late at night: you can wake up almost half the Hall whose bedrooms face onto the square.