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Surveys estimate that as many as one in three of us have been affected by living close to noisy neighbours. The boom of the stereo, screaming rows, barking dogs, even the stomping of feet on hardwood floors on upper storeys whatever the noise, if it continues it can make your life hell. If the problem persists even after you have politely discussed the issue with your neighbours, then you may have to take legal action which by necessity means you will have to provide evidence of the noise they are making. So that means, the quick answer to "is it legal for you to record noisy neighbours?" is "yes", but, as is so often the case with the law, there are caveats and exceptions. It is highly recommended that you follow the advice of a mediation service before installing any recording equipment. This usually means the Environmental Services department of the local council, or a tenants management team within a housing association, if that applies to your situation. Your mediator will ask you to provide evidence that the noise is as unacceptable as you have described, through keeping diaries and recording the noise made. They will often also visit your home to collate the evidence with you.
If you are making recordings through equipment which can listen through walls, it is vital that you use these recordings responsibly. Only submit them to mediators, the police, or your legal advisers as requested don't be tempted to share the recordings publicly. Even though our privacy laws in the UK are murky and somewhat incomplete, you could find yourself facing charges of harassment by retaliating in this way. Although the noise being made is undoubtedly annoying to you, never forget that your neighbours are within the privacy of their own home and you might inadvertently record details of their lives that you have no right to make public - no matter how annoying they are. Steer clear of recording children in any way. Even if your neighbours don't take legal redress about "invasions of their privacy", this could lead to an escalation in tension between you.