These frequently asked questions help with understanding what nuisance is, advice to avoid complaints and enforcement action being taken against our students issues and details about the processes the University and Leeds City Council have in place to respond to complaints about neighbourhood issues. If you still have questions, please contact us at email@example.com.
1. What is meant by noise nuisance?
Noise nuisance is a statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. It is defined as either noise that unreasonably affects somebody’s use and enjoyment of their home or noise that has a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of those affected.
Many factors affect this – frequency, time of day, location, duration and how many people are affected. Some people are also more sensitive to noise nuisance than others, such as the elderly, people who are unwell and families with young kids. There are no set ‘acceptable’ times for noise nuisance. It is a statutory nuisance at any time, day or night.
Noise nuisance isn’t just about large all-night house parties and playing loud music. It includes loud music at any time, practising a musical instrument, raised voices (including when travelling to and from the property, waiting for taxis, and when smoking outside) and any other avoidable noise. This includes noise caused by any guests or visitors that may be in or around a property.
Find more guidance on what noise nuisance is and how to avoid complaints.
2. What is a Public Space Protection Order?
As of 1st July 2020, Leeds City Council have introduced a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), which covers Headingley and Hyde Park; Weetwood; Little London and Woodhouse. This will be in place for a three-year period and includes powers to tackle antisocial behaviour in public spaces.
Prohibited and enforceable behaviour includes:
- gatherings and parties in residential streets and public spaces
- consuming alcohol and/or using psychoactive substances in public spaces
The PSPO also requires that:
- all rubbish should be in bins
- bins should not be left in public places except for after 6pm the night before collection and taken in by 9pm on the day of collection
A breach of a PSPO is a criminal offence that can result in a fixed penalty notice, fines of up to £1000 or prosecution.
Public Space Protection Orders are also in place in other areas of Leeds, so if you live outside of the above listed areas then check the Leeds Council website for details.
3. What are my waste management responsibilities?
It’s up to you to dispose of your waste. The Environmental Protection Act 1990 states that all residents are responsible for disposing of their waste responsibly and lawfully. Sanctions can be imposed by Leeds City Council for bins left on streets, waste in gardens, fly-tipping and littering. Sanctions include £100 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) and prosecution through the courts, resulting in a criminal conviction, fines and legal costs.
This means you need to make sure your bin is only out on the street on bin day, is not left out all the time and isn’t overflowing. If your household needs more bins, please contact your landlord in the first instance. Find more useful information on what waste goes in recycling bins, what goes in household waste and what might need to go to a local recycling centre. More information on bins and recycling (including when your bin day is!) is available on leeds.gov.uk.
4. How do I raise a complaint about neighbourhood issues?
If you have a complaint about a property you suspect to include students, please contact our Neighbourhood Helpline.
5. Who do I go to for support and advice during this process?
If you feel you would like extra advice and support during this process, please do get in contact with the Leeds University Union’s Student Advice Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 0113 380 1420.
For wellbeing and mental health support, please contact our Student Counselling and Wellbeing Service.
6. Who are Leeds Anti-Social Behaviour Team and what is their process for dealing with community complaints about noise?
Leeds Anti-Social Behaviour Team (LASBT) is part of Leeds City Council. They respond to and investigate residents’ complaints about anti-social behaviour and noise nuisance.
7. I have received a Section 80 Noise Abatement notice from Leeds City Council. What does this mean?
A Section 80 Noise Abatement Notice is a legal notice that is served by Leeds City Council to households that they are satisfied have caused a statutory noise nuisance. This is first served to the whole household and then to individuals once they have obtained tenant details from landlords. Leeds Anti-Social Behaviour Team will typically witness the noise nuisance, before following up and serving a Section 80 notice.
The Section 80 notice is a legal warning that if the noise is not stopped or further complaints are received, further action will be taken against a household. This could mean you are subject to criminal prosecution and be taken to court. The penalty for breaching a Section 80 noise abatement notice can include a fine up to £5000 and/or seizure of noise-making equipment. In some cases, it could also lead to a criminal record.
Section 80 notices can be breached on the same night of the noise occurrence (if you do not stop the noise issue) or at a later date if a further noise nuisance occurrence is reported and witnessed.
If you receive a Section 80 noise abatement notice, you must stop making the noise immediately to avoid breaching it. If a member of Leeds Anti-Social Behaviour Team hands you this notice, be polite, don’t argue with them and ask questions about what you need to do to prevent further action being taken. No other warnings or requests to reduce your noise levels will be made once this notice has been served. If breached and a further noise nuisance occurs, Leeds City Council will directly proceed with legal action against the whole household.
It is important to understand that Leeds City Council’s process dictates that the whole household is responsible for the noise nuisance and any individual circumstances would need to be considered in court.
8. Can I appeal a Section 80 Noise Abatement Notice from Leeds City Council?
Yes, if you receive a Section 80 Noise Abatement Notice and you believe you or household are not responsible for a noise nuisance. Do not ignore the warning and hope that it will go away.
You should immediately contact the Leeds Anti-Social Behaviour Team to explain your circumstances. After hearing your circumstances they may be able to stop any further action being taken against you. Contact Leeds Antisocial Behaviour Team at email@example.com.
There is a right of appeal against an abatement notice. The appeal must be brought to magistrates’ court within 21 days of the notice being served. The magistrates’ court has the power to cancel or change the abatement notice, or to dismiss the appeal. Appeals can be made on a number of grounds and include:
- Where a statutory nuisance has not occurred and the Abatement Notice is not justified.
- The notice being served incorrectly and/or to the wrong person.
- The notice is in any way incomplete or inaccurate.
- You have used the most feasible means to stop/reduce the nuisance.
9. What are the University procedures for dealing with complaints about students in the community?
The University has a clear process to respond to issues involving the conduct of our students in the local community. Our action is based on our assessment of the impact of the nuisance reported to other residents.
For issues having a minor impact we send a warning letter to each University of Leeds’ student in the household. This tells them that a complaint has been made and provides guidance on preventing further complaints and escalation through the University process. Examples of minor issues could involve waste left in gardens or noise nuisance caused by groups of students talking loudly in their garden late in an evening or frequently playing a musical instrument.
For frequent minor issues, or issues we consider to have a moderate impact, we refer all University of Leeds’ students living at the property to our Citizenship Training Workshop. This workshop gives students a better understanding of their role and responsibilities in society and how to make a positive contribution to our local community. This includes guidance on how to manage conflict with others, identify solutions to neighbourhood disputes, understand the consequences and impacts of nuisance behaviours and helps to prevent further situations that would result in further complaints.
Examples of moderate issues could involve fly tipping or noise nuisance involving larger groups of people with moderate amplified sound and raised voices. This could also involve some anti-social behaviour such as public urination, littering or dismissive/rude behaviour when asked to stop.
For issues that have a major impact or repeated moderate issues, we would refer all students in a household to the University Head of Student Cases to consider disciplinary action through the University General Disciplinary Regulations.
Examples of major issues could involve public disturbances and house parties involving large numbers of people using professional sound systems. They could also involve repeated moderate issues or moderate issues that have become escalated by antisocial behaviour.
Read more about Students in the community for more information.
10. What evidence do you have to prove I was involved in the alleged nuisance?
The University of Leeds operates a Neighbourhood Helpline Service in collaboration with the other Universities and higher education colleges in the city. The service provides the opportunity and means for residents, including students, to make the Universities and Colleges aware of neighbourhood issues involving our students. This information can be supplemented by witness reports, update reports, video and audio footage provided by our partners – Leeds City Council Anti-Social Behaviour Team.
We are unable to disclose some details of the complaint received for your household, as these must remain confidential.
The University of Leeds community complaints process is initiated where our students have been identified as living at a property identified as causing a neighbourhood issue. We review the evidence we receive and decide on the action needed. The action we take is based on an assessment of the frequency, severity and impact of the neighbourhood issue reported.
11. Can I change the University’s decision requesting me to attend Citizenship Training?
We may reconsider our decision to refer a student to training where they can evidence that they were not responsible for the neighbourhood issue reported to the University. We would consider the following individual circumstances:
- When a household is not responsible for the neighbourhood issue reported to the University.
- When a household is responsible for the issue reported to the University, but the student(s) feel the severity and impact of the issue has been misreported. Please refer to our guidance on what noise nuisance involves before putting forward a mitigating circumstance on these grounds.
- When a household is responsible, but you were not involved and were not present in the property at the time of the issue occurring.
- To review our decision, we would need information on who was responsible for the issue reported and be provided with supporting documentary evidence. This could include: texts, emails, photos, video, social media posts or train tickets.
Please send any evidence along with context information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please read all of these FAQs before contacting us to reconsider our decision. This should answer your questions and explain our reasons for why it is important you should attend training.
12. Why am I being asked to attend training when I have not been contacted by a neighbour or the University previously?
Many local residents would not feel confident to approach their neighbours to speak with them about their noise levels. Local residents are more likely to contact the Neighbourhood helpline or Leeds City Council to report a nuisance.
Where a complaint has been made to the University, we assess the impact and severity of the complaint before determining our response in line with our community complaint procedure. For frequent minor issues or issues having a moderate impact, we would refer all students identified as living at the property straight to training without sending a warning first.
13. Why have I received an invitation to the Citizenship Training, but my other housemates have not?
Only University of Leeds students are required to attend the Citizenship Training as this is a University of Leeds initiative. The other Universities and Colleges in the city have their own processes for responding to community complaints.
We are only able to identify University of Leeds students if they have accurately recorded their address details with Student Services at the beginning of the academic year. If your housemates are from the University of Leeds and have not yet registered their address, please let them know that they must complete this immediately as this is a University requirement. Please also ask for them to email StudentCitizenship@leeds.ac.uk as they will be required to attend a workshop.
14. I was present, but was not involved in the allegation made against my property. Am I still required to attend the Citizenship Training?
Leeds City Council’s procedures for handling noise nuisance mean that all tenants in a household, including yourself, are equally responsible for reducing noise and therefore all members are at risk of action being taken against them. They will not investigate an individual student’s involvement with noise nuisance.
The workshop will be useful for you as it includes information and guidance on the Council process for handling complaints, how to manage conflict with your housemates and help you to prevent legal action being taken against you.
All members of the household are required to attend the training. However we are prepared to consider changing our decision to refer you to training if you can evidence that you were not involved.
15. Why was there a delay between the date the nuisance occurred and receiving a letter of invitation to the citizenship training?
During the start of the academic year, students must register their current living address. This means that any reports of household misconduct that occur before this date are not followed up until student address records are available. This can result in a delay between the nuisance event and receiving the letter of invitation to Citizenship Training.
16. I am unable to attend any of the training sessions as they all clash with University teaching and study commitments. Must I still attend Citizenship Training?
Yes, your attendance at a Citizenship Training session is mandatory and supersedes that of your University commitments. A number of different dates and times are available so you can find one that minimises the impact on your study commitments. The ‘Students and their Community’ process is an agreed University process.
17. Why am I unable to book onto a chosen training session through Eventbrite?
- Places on each training session are available for booking 8 weeks before the date
- The session may be fully booked. The number of available places is visible on each Eventbrite page. There are a maximum of 20 places available for each session.
If you are still unable to book onto a session, please contact email@example.com.
18. I am no longer able to attend the Citizenship Training session I originally booked on to. What do I do?
Please process a refund and re-register onto a different training session. See the Eventbrite support for a step-by-step guidance on how to process a refund.
19. What do I need to bring to a Citizenship Training session?
It is essential that you bring your student ID card so we are able to register your attendance at the training session. If you have misplaced your student card, another form of photographic identification such as a passport or driving licence will be required.
- A notepad and pen or laptop to take any notes.
- A hot drink or water (in a reusable bottle).
20. What will happen if I do not attend Citizenship Training?
If you have received a letter of invitation from the University and do not attend a training session within an 8-week period (or by the date specified in your letter), we will take steps to escalate the matter for formal investigation through the University disciplinary process. We may invite you to a one-to-one meeting where you can put forward your reasons for not attending before we determine what action we will take. This could include a referral to the Head of Student Cases to consider action under the University’s General Disciplinary Regulations.
21. What will happen if I attend the Citizenship Training and another complaint is made about our property?
We would investigate the complaint, including gathering any supporting evidence from Leeds Anti-Social Behaviour Team. If we believe that there has been no attempt to change your behaviour and fulfil your responsibilities as a resident of Leeds, we may choose to refer you to the Head of Student Cases to consider action under the University’s General Disciplinary Regulations.
For more details about the University of Leeds process for responding to community complaints, please refer to the Students in the community.
22. I have a disability that affects my ability to attend these training sessions. Can adjustments be made to meet my needs and requirements?
Of course. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to highlight what adjustments you require to be able to attend a training workshop. You will also need to submit your mitigating circumstances form that was originally submitted to the University when declaring your condition.
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
We use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to guide our activity. Our student citizenship work is linked to the following SDGs:
- Goal 3: Good health and well-being
- Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities
- Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions
Find out more about our impact on the SDGs.