How loud can I play my music?

A girl playing the drums

How loud can I play my music (or drums!)

Do I have any rights if I want to play loud music in the afternoon? My neighbours complain, but can’t I turn up the volume between certain hours of the day?

Loud music laws in the UK

There are two sides to this answer because different loud music laws apply to both the person playing the music and the person being annoyed by it. Because of this, a balance between your ‘right to play music’ and your neighbours’ rights to ‘quiet enjoyment’ needs to be found.

Although you both have rights, it would appear that your neighbours have more than you because of the Noise Act 1996, the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and what is called ‘statutory nuisance’. There’s no definition of what a statutory nuisance is, but basically these laws mean that if a person has neighbours playing loud music during the day and it interferes with someone else’s use or enjoyment of their home the local council can take action.

If you’re on the other side of the fence and want to know how to deal with noisy neighbours, see this article.

What can your neighbours do about your music?

In your case, if the noise from your music is considered to be a statutory nuisance your neighbours can call on the Environmental Health Officer (EHO) of the council and the police to get you to make less noise. The EHO is able to get an order from the court requiring you to reduce the volume. If this does happen and you don’t stop creating the same level of noise they can seize the noise making equipment. If the police become involved there could be a prosecution or you could be issued with a Community Protection Notice (CPN).

Is it illegal to play loud music after 11pm?

Technically it isn’t illegal to play loud music after 11pm, but it’s easier for the council to issue warning notices for loud music played between 11pm and 7am as it doesn’t have to be considered a ‘statutory nuisance’. The police are also more likely to consider it a breach of the peace, so they’re more likely to come knocking on your door too. A lot depends on where you are and how thick your walls are. If you’re not disturbing anyone else then you’re definitely not breaking the law by playing your music loud after 11pm, but if it could be seen as a breach of the peace then it becomes illegal.

How to deal with loud music complaints

Complaints and arguments about loud music aren’t very nice for anyone involved, and most of us want an easy life without aggro from our neighbours. The simplest thing to do would be to approach your neighbours and have a chat about when you can play your music without annoying them. You could also think about where your speakers are positioned in the room, for example if they’re touching the floor or a wall the sound is going to pass through and annoy your neighbours more easily than if they’re on a stand or a table. Hopefully you can reach a compromise that suits both parties.

Check out the rest of our articles on your rights here.

Next Steps



By The Mix Staff

Updated on 16-Dec-2022