Noise and antisocial behaviour

Some people are surprised at how lively student accommodation or halls can be. Any provider of housing for young people will find a vibrant and lively environment at times. There is always going to be some level of noise, especially in large halls where people come and go and socialise at different times. Most young people are initially excited about this level of socialising. However, some can understandably only tolerate this level of noise for a while. Thankfully, most students are equally keen to settle down to a routine and get on with sleeping and studying.  Achieving harmony between differing lifestyles can sometimes be hard and upsetting for some people trying to achieve a balance. On the whole, most young people adapt very quickly and most say that an essential part of the student ‘kit’ for the first year is a good pair of earplugs!

As a parent, if you get a phone call from your child, in tears because they can’t sleep, it is understandably incredibly distressing. This is especially the case if you are miles away and feel helpless to do anything. Please be assured that most cases of noise disturbance can be resolved. If the noise is a ‘one off’, or people have been drinking, it may be helpful to support and encourage your child to wait until the following morning to speak calmly to the person who is disturbing them. In more cases than not, most people will be glad to avoid disturbing other people again and will be very sorry about upsetting others around them. If the accommodation provider intervenes too early, the noise perpetrator often says “I had no idea that I was upsetting other people. Why didn’t they knock on my door and tell me?”

Antisocial behaviour is a general term which refers to behaviour which adversely affects the health, safety and well being of other people. It is essential that your child knows the difference between a student ‘prank’ and antisocial behaviour. If the behaviour affects other people - such as a door being covered in tomato sauce or property being vandalised - accommodation providers will take this very seriously. It is important that your child understands the consequences of antisocial behaviour. It is equally important that they understand they are now ultimately responsible for their own actions. If your child has witnessed, or has been involved in antisocial behaviour, they are expected to contact the accommodation provider immediately and, if necessary, own up to their part in the incident. The landlord may not need to take antisocial behaviour further, where remorse is clearly expressed. An arrangement made for the cost of damages and some reassurances of better behaviour may suffice..

If the level of noise or antisocial behaviour is persistent and continues to affect your child, it is really important that they contact their landlord themselves. There may be options of mediation, intervention, reporting the disturbance to noise nuisance services or the university or college. There may also be the option of moving to another property. This does not mean they are to blame or they are at fault. It just means they have made the sensible decision to remove themselves from a situation that is causing them distress. Either way, it is important that your child does not suffer in silence, as the majority of situations can be resolved.