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Completely out of the blue about half the residents of the building where I live have this morning received a letter from Environmental Protection threatening us with noise abatement action due to alarms going off.

 

First, they've clearly made no effort at all to speak to anyone before making these threats.

Second, the actual worst culprit isn't on the list of occupiers they've written to.

Third, they acknowledge themselves that the basic cause of the problem is that the exceptionally bad weather has caused water to get in to some of the alarm boxes and short them out.

 

We've been ordered (everyone, regardless of if their alarm is causing a problem) to arrange a service contract for yearly maintenance, which won't solve the basic problem anyway.

 

I, and several others, are seriously annoyed that we've been threatened like this with absolutely no evidence that we are causing a problem or that we could do anything to stop it anyway. On top of that, at least two of us are amongst the ones that complained about the worst incident when an alarm was going off for 22 hours on New Year's Day!

 

Are Environmental Protection allowed to do this - ie. issue blanket accusations and threats?

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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I would say yes. If the report said 'the alarms in that block of flats are always going off and not just the same one', unless they could visit at that time they won't know whose it is. It would be unreasonable to expect them to sit outside waiting.

 

 

The complainant is entitled to call the police if it is such a problem.

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1. It isn't 'always going off', it's happened 3 times over about 2 months.

2. They know the flat numbers involved as they've been reported by the other residents, who are obviously most likely to be affected.

3. They've obviously visited the property but apparently not made any effort to speak to the 'innocent' occupiers. At least two of us are generally at home all day.

4. I called the police on New Year's Day out of desperation when I couldn't contact the owner of the property, who was on holiday. They referred me back to Environmental Protection who never even bothered to call back.

 

Are they entitled to insist we all, regardless of who is causing the problem, have a maintenance contract? I cancelled mine 2 years ago as we never use the alarm but they're suggesting that anyone without a contract will get an abatement notice if their alarm goes off at all. Ever.

 

I think mostly I'm so furious because we've been battling a major noise problem for two years now and all that ever happens is we get diaries and recording equipment and the culprits get yet another chance.

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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They certainly aren't entitled to insist that you have a maintenance contract, that the same as the ministry of transport insisting you have a warranty for your car or buy a service contract from your local garage.

 

 

Seeing as they seem reluctant to respond to you, why not write to them again and this time post the letter 'signed for'. It will cost a couple of quid, but will be worth it as they can't deny they haven't received it.

 

 

You can see how they respond to the letter and if it's not to your satisfaction, send another marked 'Official Complaint'

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Sounds like identical alarms for each flat, prob installed by builders..

If the alarms are triggered by bad weather, then replacing ext bell boxes with more weatherproof ones.

Are alarms covered by the lease?

Without an inspection of each system it would be impossible to isolate the fault.

AFAIK it is an offence to have an ext alarm sound continuously for more than 20 mins at a time

A burglar alarm, serviced by qualified engineer, can reduce property insurance.

OP has not had their's serviced for 9 yrs, do they still use it?

The 'fault' may not be a fault if windows have pressure sensors, triggered by the wind.

 

 

Regular alarms are annoying and self defeating as others tend to ignore them until they become a nuisance.

Next time one goes off, ring 101 and report a suspected burglary, if occupants are out. Be a good neighbour.

Faulty alarm owners will soon get the message.

 

 

Whilst EHO may not be able to enforce annual servicing Contracts, it seems quite reasonable to write to every occupant suggesting they have their alarms checked, as alarms are designed to cope with most adverse weather so some may have a fault.

 

 

Conniff: strange that Govt insist I have a valid MOT, and continuous VED / Insurance for my car, on pain of a substantial penalty and points on my obligatory valid driving licence.

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Hi

 

The main reason they will send a blanket letter is a) They cant identify those causing the problem b) So that a complainant cant be identified and singled out.

 

I agree while EHO cant enforce servicing contracts, the advice given in there letter does seems very reasonable and is probably there first course of action at present.

 

I do think the blanket letter is correct especially if a complainant is within the problem area so they cant be identified and can basically say I got one of those letters cheeky gits.

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Spoke to my engineer this morning, and it's actually only just over a year since his last visit.

 

He says the fault is almost certainly down to the extreme weather, he's run off his feet dealing with similar problems at other properties. No amount of servicing will prevent the problem, if there is a fault it would need the engineer to come out to switch it off as it would probably be in tamper mode, and the only way to guarantee it won't go off is to disconnect it entirely.

 

I've also spoken to the management company who gave out everyone's names. So far as they are aware, Environmental Protection know exactly which properties have alarms which have gone off and have spoken to them already. They're shocked that the threatening letters have gone out to everyone else when they're fully aware the problem is the weather, is not confined to this complex and is only those two properties anyway, neither of which were on the cc list! I'm not the only furious resident who called today and the management company have already made a complaint as they would never have disclosed names if they'd known what would happen.

 

However, technically as we've been warned, anyone who doesn't have a service contract is leaving themselves wide open to further action regardless of whether it's a first offence so the engineer is calling tomorrow to disconnect ours - much less stressful than the (estimated) 4 hour wait for the engineer to come and turn it off. If it's the evening or weekend, it could be even longer.

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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Seems a bit drastic? Most alarms trigger an ext bell/buzzer & strobe, so just disable the sounder.

 

 

Most alarms can be silenced & reset from control panel. I leave a key and alarm code with neighour over holidays, just in case it triggers.

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I think that if the alarms could be turned off from the control panel, the occupiers would have done it. Water getting in is causing a short and the only way to turn them off then is to get the engineer to disconnect everything.

He will be disconnecting the exterier sound box as that is where the problem is, however the alarm is a bit useless without it so it doesn't really matter which bit is disconnected. We never use the alarm anyway as the place is never left empty.

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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