My wife and I live in Gandia (Valencia) in a block of apartments and we are having problems with a noisy neighbor. The level of noise is unbearable for most of the day and night, and we have not slept properly for a very long time. We have been told that as the noise is made in his own home there is not very much that we can do. We called the police but they have not taken any action. What are our rights here and what action can we take? Can the community of owners do something? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Dear readers, Firstly we should be aware that noise pollution suffered at home can be considered as an infringement and violation of Fundamental Rights of Privacy, rights recognized in the Spanish Constitution (Constitución Española), which is the highest Law of Spain. In this same sense we can find Court Orders of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The ECHR’s decision dated of 9th December 1994 considered excessive noise as a serious attack upon the environment, the privacy and protection of the home, that could affect our welfare and deprive a person from the enjoyment of our homes, damaging our private lives and family wellbeing.
The Spanish Constitutional Court, following the mentioned interpretation of the ECHR stated that “people who are exposed to prolonged high levels of noise at home that can be classified as avoidable and intolerable, have a right to be protected as though a fundamental right to the personal and family privacy, as the sufferer could be seriously affected”.
As you are part of a community of owners you should be aware that the Horizontal Division Property Act ( Ley de Propiedad Horizontal), Law 49/1960, at Article 7, defines the legal action as a TERMINATING ACTION (acción de cesación). As per this kind of action the possibility exists of depriving the owner or occupier of the property from its use for up to three years if the offender is carrying on an activity prohibited by the Statutes and Rules of the community, or one that damages the property or an activity that does not fulfill the general rules concerning unhealthy, noxious, dangerous or illegal activities.
The neighbor can be required by the president of the Community to stop performing the noisy activities and refrain from making any unreasonable noise. If they continue then the President, acting upon authorisation granted by a meeting of the community, could start a legal action against the offender.
Besides asking for an Order that they stop making noise, you may also request compensation for damages and even, as mentioned above, apply to prevent use of the property for a period of time.
Thus, you can start an action yourself, or through the Community of Owners, and the court can be requested to:
1 .- Compel the neighbour to take measures to eliminate or minimize the noise, such as improving the sound insulation, etc.
2 .- Force the neighbour to stop doing the activities that produce the noise. This could be applied for here and prevent the neighbour from using the property for a period of up to 3 years.
3 .- Compensation for damages, as extra-contractual liability under articles 1902 and 1908 of the Spanish Civil Code ( Código Civil).
Please remember that noise pollution can also be pursued in the civil Courts, as well as in front of the administrative courts, or even, depending on the severity it could be considered a Criminal Office due to the injury caused, damage and possibly a crime against the environment.
If this is your case or of someone you know do not hesitate to contact us.
* The information contained in this article does not constitute legal advice, being simply a general overview of legal issues.
White & Baos
Carlos Baos ( Abogado / Lawyer)
Tel: 966 426 185
**(Located at the Glorieta (Square end) of Marques de Campo)
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