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Residential Life

Dealing with noise issues at Connaught Hall

By Adrian 01 Nov 2022

All of our students should all be able to study or rest without unreasonable disturbance from others at any time so we insist that you must make no noise audible from outside your room between 23:00 and 07:00. Residents or guests who are unable to adhere to these guidelines will face disciplinary action.

Excessively loud music and other noise are not allowed at any time of day. The Warden or his nominated deputy (normally the duty Resident Advisor) is the arbiter of whether noise is excessive, and their decision is final.

Reasonable expectations

Noise disturbance generally creates the most dissatisfaction with Hall life. This is a large residence of mostly first-year undergraduate students in a busy part of London. Nowhere in the hall can be completely silent. Some people are particularly sensitive to even low levels of noise and we would advise that a mainly undergraduate hall of residence in central London may not be suitable accommodation in this case. 

It is not always reasonable to restrict others’ activities to meet the expectations of someone who is especially sensitive to noise.

We strongly recommend the routine use of ear plugs for sleeping. There will always be some unavoidable noise in Hall – for example, from road traffic, people coming home after a night out, or the sound of doors closing. Ear plugs can sometimes just help prevent these brief episodes of noise from waking you up and ruining your sleep. Ear plugs do not cancel out all noise, so your morning alarm can still wake you up.

If you are disturbed by noise

We understand that noise can cause a lot of stress, anger, and sleeplessness. So we very much want to help if noise is a problem for you. But we can offer effective help only if you carefully follow our well established, fair, and usually very effective noise reporting procedure.

If you do not follow our guidance in full, our ability to help you will be severely reduced. 

In particular, it is very difficult for us to help if you have not called us while the noise is actually happening, so we can make a fair judgement about the severity of the noise and positively identify who or what is responsible. 

The University will not consider any claims for refunds or rebates on your accommodation fees because of noise if you have not followed the full procedure.

Room changes

Residents who are disturbed by noise sometimes request that either they, or the person making noise, should change rooms. However, this is not normally an action that we can take. Most of the time during the academic year, Connaught Hall is fully occupied, with no vacant rooms to move into. And our experience when we have moved people in the past for noise-related reasons is that the problem moves with the person; nothing is really solved. Moreover, we could only move a person who was making noise following a disciplinary procedure where there was a finding of misconduct – in which case, other disciplinary sanctions would normally be applied.

Instead, we will work through the procedures outlined below. The usual experience is that these procedures resolve noise issues within a few times of the noise being reported to, and verified and documented by, a member of staff or Resident Advisor.

Noise caused by a building or maintenance issue

(e.g. banging pipe or radiator, squeaky door, noisy drain, dripping tap)

  1. Report the problem in the maintenance log at reception
  2. If the problem is serious, also ask the receptionist to contact the duty RA or duty manager
  3. If the problem hasn't not been resolved within 3 working days, email info.connaught@london.ac.uk

Noise from the courtyard garden

We normally only respond to noise from the garden after 23:00. If it is before 23:00, but in your view the noise is truly excessivethen proceed through the steps below.

  1. Contact reception and ask them to summon the duty RA or duty manager. + 44 20 7664 2047
  2. If the noise has not stopped after 10 minutes, call reception again.
  3. Even if the noise stops soon after your call to reception, send us a follow-up email to adrian.clark@london.ac.uk. This helps us to keep accurate records, so we can see if noise from a particular area is becoming a frequent problem. Please include in your email:
  • what time(s) the noise occurred
  • who or what was making the noise (if known)
  • was it talking, music, or something else?
  • what time you called reception

Noise from the corridor

We normally only respond to noise from the corridors after 23:00. If it is before 23:00, but in your view the noise is truly excessivethen proceed through the steps below.

  1. If possible, try speaking directly with the people making noise – politely explain that they are disturbing you and ask them if they can be quieter. Usually, people will respond positively and they will be thankful that you did not involve staff.
  2. If you are unable to approach the people making noise, or if you have already done so but the noise has not stopped after 10 minutes, contact reception and ask them to summon  the duty RA or duty manager. + 44 20 7664 2047
  3. Even if the noise stops soon after your call to reception, send us a follow-up email to adrian.clark@london.ac.uk. This helps us to keep accurate records, so we can see if noise from a particular area is becoming a frequent problem. Please include in your email:
  • what time(s) the noise occurred
  • who or what was making the noise (if known)
  • was it talking, music, or something else?
  • what time you called reception
  • if you have previously had to ask the same people to be quiet

Noisy neighbour

We normally only respond to noise from rooms after 23:00. If it is before 23:00, but in your view the noise is truly excessivethen proceed through the steps below.

  1. If possible, try speaking directly with the people making noise – politely explain that they are disturbing you and ask them if they can be quieter. Usually, people will respond positively and they will be thankful that you did not involve staff.
  2. If you are unable to approach the people making noise, or if you have already done so but the noise has not stopped after 10 minutes, contact reception and ask them to summon  the duty RA or duty manager. You might also consider skipping straight to this step if you have previously spoken three or more times to the person making noise. + 44 20 7664 2047
  3. Even if the noise stops soon after your call to reception, send us a follow-up email to adrian.clark@london.ac.uk. This helps us to keep accurate records, so we can see if noise from a particular area is becoming a frequent problem. Please include in your email:
  • what time(s) the noise occurred
  • who or what was making the noise (if known)
  • was it talking, music, or something else?
  • what time you called reception
  • if you have previously had to ask the same people to be quiet

How we deal with noise complaints

Stage 1

The first time a Resident Advisor is called to deal with noise caused by a resident, assuming that, upon investigation, the Resident Advisor agrees that the noise is unreasonable

The duty RA will speak directly with the person causing noise and personally advise them about acceptable sound levels.

In most cases, the noise is resolved immediately and does not happen again. The person making noise is given a fair chance to make a genuine mistake, and is provided with timely advice about what is “too noisy”. Investigation by a Resident Advisor allows us independently to confirm and document the location and severity of the noise; this can later be used as evidence in a disciplinary if required. 

Stage 2

The second time a Resident Advisor is called to deal with noise caused by the same person, assuming that, upon investigation, the Resident Advisor agrees that the noise is unreasonable 

The duty RA will speak directly with the person causing noise and personally advise them about acceptable sound levels.

Within one week, the RA responsible for that floor will arrange to meet with the person making noise, explain what sound levels are acceptable, and warn that the person may be at risk of disciplinary action.

This stage aims to strike a balance between emphasising the importance of not making noise vs the reality that most people will make some occasional noise in a predominantly first-year undergraduate hall of residence. Investigation by an RA allows us independently to document the location and severity of the noise; this can later be used as evidence in a disciplinary if required. At this stage, we are recording every detail of our interaction with the student.

Stage 3

The third time a Resident Advisor is called to deal with noise caused by the same person, assuming that, upon investigation, the Resident Advisor agrees that the noise is unreasonable

The duty RA will speak directly with the person causing noise and personally advise them about acceptable sound levels.

Within one week, the RA responsible for that floor will send a first, informal, written warning to the person making noise.

At this stage, the person making noise is warned that any further disturbances will result in formal disciplinary action. They are given a written copy of the Hall’s rules about noise and warned that we are collecting evidence to use against them. Investigation by an RA allows us independently to document the location and severity of the noise; this can later be used as evidence in a disciplinary if required.

Fast track to stage 4

If a person is uncooperative, rude, or difficult with an RA at any point in stages 1-3, the case will be fast-tracked to stage 4 and dealt with immediately by the Warden. Some other situations may also warrant fast-track to stage 4, at the discretion of the Warden.

Stage 4

The fourth time a Resident Advisor is called to deal with noise caused by the same person, assuming that, upon investigation, the Resident Advisor agrees that the noise is unreasonable

The duty RA will speak directly with the person causing noise and personally advise them about acceptable sound levels. They will also explain that the person is at risk of formal disciplinary action.

Within one week, the Warden will arrange to meet with the person making noise at a formal disciplinary hearing for minor misconduct. The outcome of this hearing may include a formal written warning and/or a fine of up to £100.

We hold off disciplinary action until a fourth complaint because:

(a)      We think some occasional noise in Hall is not unreasonable; 

(b)    For disciplinary action to be successful, we must hold on file clear, written evidence from RAs that: (i) we are dealing with the right person; (ii) they have been making noise that is audible from outside their room, in breach of the Hall rules; and (iii) the breach of the rules has been serious, persistent, or both.

Without sufficient evidence collected by RAs at stages 1-3, the person would be able to appeal successfully against any disciplinary penalty imposed.

Stage 5

The fifth time a Resident Advisor is called to deal with noise caused by the same person, assuming that, upon investigation, the Resident Advisor agrees that the noise is unreasonable

The duty RA will speak directly with the person causing noise and personally advise them about acceptable sound levels. They will also explain that the person is at risk of eviction from the Hall.

Within one week, the Warden will arrange to meet with the person making noise at a second formal disciplinary hearing. It is up to the Warden’s discretion whether this is a minor misconduct hearing or a serious misconduct hearing. The outcome of this hearing may include a final written warning and/or a fine of up to £250, and/or eviction from the Hall.

It remains important at this stage for an RA to investigate while the noise is happening, so he or she can independently document the location and severity of the noise. This type of evidence will be crucial in order to justify the sort of severe penalties that might be applied at the fifth stage.

Stage 6

The sixth time a Resident Advisor is called to deal with noise caused by the same person, assuming that, upon investigation, the Resident Advisor agrees that the noise is unreasonable

The duty RA will speak directly with the person causing noise and personally advise them about acceptable sound levels. They will also explain that the person is at serious risk of eviction from the Hall.

Within one week, the Warden will arrange to meet with the person making noise at a third formal disciplinary hearing for serious misconduct. The outcome of this hearing may include a fine of £250 and eviction from the Hall.

Once again, independent investigation and collection of evidence by an RA is vital in order to terminate someone’s accommodation contract. This helps to ensure fairness to the person accused of making noise, as well as precluding the possibility of a successful appeal against eviction.

Adrian profile picture

Adrian is a medical doctor, the Student Health & Wellbeing Manager at the University of London and the Warden of Connaught Hall, where he has lived for more than 25 years.
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