The most frequent concern expressed about students living locally relates to noise - whether it is from parties or having friends round or as people walk home after a night out. Please remember that all residents are entitled to a quiet life at all times and this includes not being disturbed or woken by others returning to their homes late at night or in the early hours of the morning. We strongly encourage all students to use the SU SSHH! bus to come home from campus at night as it is the quickest, safest and quietest way to get home or to the station.
We also ask that you respect the laws and expectations on noise making sure there is no excessive noise at any time and no audible noise at all at night time coming from your property. There is not a fixed definition of when noise is or is not reasonable in the community in the same way as there is in Halls. We would therefore say there should be no excessive noise at any time and that additional care must be taken on nights preceding work and school days.
There is also no 'right to party' as some people try to assert and there is a common misconception that you can make as much noise as you like up until 11:00pm, but this is simply not the case. Music played loudly and frequently at any time could be considered to be a nuisance.
The Community Wellbeing team work exceptionally closely with Surrey Police and Runnymede Borough Council to address issues of noise nuisance and anti-social behaviour as and when they arise. It is also worth noting that other students can - and do - report being disturbed by noise from other student households themselves and our regulations and expectations treat all residents equally.
Noise nuisance caused by student parties can be complaint from neighbours in the area surrounding the university. Poor relations with your neighbours can cause unnecessary unpleasantness and general bad feeling towards the College. Furthermore, there are a range of legal powers open to neighbours and landlords to use and in some areas they have been quick to invoke these. In serious cases, College will also take action against students to preserve good relationships locally. There are few things more miserable than seeing students in serious trouble over something that was originally meant to be fun, so do take precautions against complaints in advance.
Generally any noise that can be heard outside the premises can be defined as a nuisance. Therefore we suggest that if you are arranging a party you:
- Involve your neighbours in advance. Give them sufficient notice and agree a reasonable time to bring the party to an end. You may even consider inviting neighbours along to join you. Friday and Saturday nights are likely to be more acceptable nights, as the majority of people don't have to get up early for work or the school run.
- Be aware that sound carries much further out of doors. It is a good idea to keep windows and external doors closed as much as possible to keep the noise inside.
- Encourage guests to arrive and leave quietly and if using cars to drive and park them responsibly.
- Be careful how widely you circulate invitations (particularly through social media) and who you invite as you will be held responsible for the behaviour of gatecrashers and excluded guests who cause a disturbance in the street.
- If things go seriously wrong, close the party down, if necessary involving the Police yourself.
- Unless you have particularly relaxed neighbours, don't expect to be able to hold repeated parties. Spread the load by getting friends to use their houses instead.
The university does its best to try and resolve any disputes by consensus. If neighbours are troubled, we ask them where possible to raise the issue with you first and to contact the university only if a resolution cannot be reached. The vast majority of cases that are referred to us are resolved without disciplinary sanctions, but if we receive formal substantiated complaints, especially when backed with evidence from the Surrey Police or Environmental Health department, the university will look to impose a penalty on students and these penalties can be severe.
In addition to the risk of causing problems of noise nuisance, parties within your own property run the risk of attracting gate crashers, theft from and damage to your property and we've seen this happen. It is better to socialise in venues like the SU where staff are looking out for your safety and security and where there is soundproofing!