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Law thoughts: It’s illegal to activate home alarms without naming a keyholder

Alarms are designed to cause noise. Their purpose is to deter intruders and alert the area to possible break-ins. An astonishing 33 per cent of us assume home alarms in our neighbourhood are false. This is probably because of frequent disruption from recurring home alarms, sometimes persisting for several hours if they aren’t silenced – often while the homeowner is on holiday. These alarms become extremely annoying, interrupting sleep, affecting hearing and damaging neighbourly relations. There’s also the detrimental effect of unreasonably diverting police resources.

Home alarms and noise pollution

In an attempt to find a resolution, the government introduced the Clean Neighbourhood and Environment Act 2005. This legislation attempts to tackle noise pollution caused by home alarms. The law states that in an area designated by the local authority as an alarm notification area, people who have intruder alarms must nominate a keyholder and give their details to the local authority within 28 days of the alarm being installed. Section 72 says that the nominated keyholder must:

  • Be someone who holds the keys to the part of the premises the alarm is in;
  • Have sufficient information to silence the alarm;
  • Normally reside in or be situated in the vicinity of the premises;
  • Agree to be the nominated keyholder; and
  • If the alarm is on residential premises, be someone who isn’t the occupier or a keyholding company; or
  • If the premises are non-residential, be a responsible person or a keyholding company.

Failure to comply with this law is an offence punishable with a fixed penalty notice of up to £1,000. This applies to both residential and businesses premises.

Fines for persistent alarms

The Control of Pollution Act 1974 also aims to decrease noise pollution, restricting work to the hours of 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 1pm on Saturdays and at no times on Sundays or Bank Holidays. In April 2019, as a result of breaking this law, West-Tech Construction Company were found guilty in Bristol magistrates court following early morning construction works on Alfred Hill, Bristol. West-Tech was prosecuted and fined £27,168.28 for 12 noise breaches and obstructing the highway.

We have a specialist team that can provide expert assistance in connection with these areas of law, and any intended prosecutions by local authorities and other regulatory bodies. For more information contact Matt Vernon by emailing [email protected] or calling 0117 904 6436.

Posted on Aug 22nd, 2019 by Lyons Davidson