The reason why council tax is collected is not only to provide community-based services to residents but also to provide mediation services at times when neighbours may be in conflict with each other due to different life choices. While the focal point of this blog post remains whether or not council authorities are able to help neighbours in case of noise pollution caused by cat deterrent devices, we will also explore other situations in which council offices extend their support to residents.

Can Council Help With Cat Deterrent Noise?

Yes, the council can help with cat deterrent noise as well as any other noise that might cause disturbance in a neighbourhood.

Although cat deterrent devices are designed in such a way that their noise level is only audible to cats and not humans, however, if there is such a device in your neighbourhood that is causing disturbing noise, it can be reported to the council with a request for action.

In certain cases, councils may only be able to help you if the noise that you are complaining about is regular and consistent. They may ask you to maintain a log of the frequency of the noise any may only be able to take action if the incidents are regular and consistent for 10 to 14 days.

Noise that councils can investigate for action include the following:

  • animals, like barking dogs or crowing cockerels
  • building sites
  • burglar and car alarms
  • buskers or street performers
  • deliveries or waste collections at a commercial property
  • equipment in a commercial property
  • noisy neighbours; this includes loud music, shouting or DIY at night
  • pubs and clubs

In extreme cases where the noise emitting from an identified location is causing severe interference with the enjoyment of one’s home or has the potential to cause health-related problems, councils are bound by law to investigate these situations classified as Statuary Nuisance. These may include any of the following occurrences:

  • artificial light from premises
  • accumulation on the premises such as piles of rotting rubbish
  • insect infestations 
  • noise from premises or from vehicles, equipment or machinery in the street
  • smoke from premises
  • smells from premises (this includes, sewage treatment works, factories or restaurants)

In such cases, councils issue an abatement notice under which the individuals responsible for the act are asked to immediately cease the activity or restrict it to certain hours of the day. Failure to comply with council orders can lead to penalties and court action.

Can Council Help With Rats?

There is a bit of a grey area to this question as the answer depends on the circumstances of the tenant and landlord.

If you are a private tenant, it depends upon your tenancy agreement whether the liability for pest/rodent control falls upon the landlord or the tenant. In most cases, landlords are responsible for paying the bill for pest control services while the tenant is expected to make the necessary arrangements for its process. 

However, if the pest control situation arises due to any action of the tenant or due to neglect by them, tenants may be required to pay the bill for such services 

In case you live in a council house, pest control in the surrounding areas of the council remains the responsibility of the council itself. However, pest management within the household depends upon your situation. 

While councils are not committed to providing pest control services, you should inform them of such a situation and seek their guidance on how to proceed with its management. In some cases, councils may be able to connect you to reliable and affordable pest management providers. In exceptional cases, they may be able to manage the expense as well. 

If your council house is owned by a social housing landlord, the responsibility for pest/rodent control depends on your tenancy agreement. If the landlord has clearly taken responsibility for its management, they will pay for the expense; expecting the tenant to be available and responsible for the execution of the service.

Can Council Help With Furniture?

Yes, the council can help with furniture by giving vouchers to residents to purchase furniture through certain schemes or charities. Sometimes this furniture is available at extremely low-cost; while at other times, charities may pay for them while residents claim to use it. 

This means that while councils may not directly pay for the furniture that a council house resident requires, they can connect them to charities who can either offer the pay for the furniture while the resident pays them back in instalments or sometimes they may simply make the payment on behalf of the resident(s) who is not expected to make any payment at all. 

Some social housing providers provide council homes that are furnished. In the case of any changes or repairs needed for the furniture, they are also willing to offer to repair or replace the items without any additional cost to the tenants. However, the furniture may be preloved and not brand new.

Residents who are on low-income and unable to afford living essentials such as furniture or household equipment may be able to find help in the following ways (in addition to council’s assistance):

  • Social landlord
  • Grant giving organisation
  • Second-hand furniture seller
  • Affordable credit

Can Council Help With Carpets?

No, councils do not help with the provision of carpets for residents of council houses. However, if you inform your local authorities that you need carpets for your council house, they will be able to connect you to certain charities to help you find grants for furniture and carpets, while some of them may offer preloved items including carpets at reasonable prices.

However, local authorities can assist with household essentials for their tenants. While councils may not directly pay for the furniture or home equipment that a council house resident requires, they can connect them to charities who can either offer the pay for the furniture while the resident pays them back in instalments or sometimes they may simply make the payment on behalf of the resident(s) who is not expected to make any payment at all. 

To be eligible for an interest-free loan you must be on benefits including the following:

  • Income Support
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Pension Credit

Can Council Help With Moving Costs?

Yes, councils can help with moving costs. They have certain allowances available with them to extend financial aid in the form of grants or loans to those who are in need and qualify. 

At times, they may be able to arrange a Discretionary Housing Payment; which is a one time grant extended to cover the costs of housing. Local authorities will consider the following factors in this regard:

  • Conditions that make the applicant’s circumstances critical, exceptional or different.
  • Whether or not a one-time payment will provide real help for their situation.
  • Whether one-time assistance is required or it will be repeated due to financial constraints.
  • Possible long term solution for the applicant’s financial assistance.
  • The amount that they will receive.

Applicants claiming Universal Credit may apply for a “budgeting advance”. This is an interest-free loan that aims to cover the costs of advance rent, removal or moving costs.

Can Council Help With Rent Arrears?

Yes, councils can help with rent arrears in many ways such as repayment plans of easy instalments. Additionally,  claimants who are also on benefits in addition to availing a council house will find it easier to seek easy payment plans from their councils or social housing landlords. For instance, if you are on Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, you may simply have your payments transferred to for payment of your rent through Direct Debit or a Standing Order.

If this is not a workable solution as Housing Benefit or Universal Credit do not account for the entire amount of your rent, you may apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP). This is extra money provided by your local council to meet your rent payments or arrears (if you have any). You are not required to return this amount to the council. If you are on Housing Credit or Universal Credit, you can ask your local council for a DHP form. 

Conclusion:

While cate deterrent devices are designed to remain audible only to cats and are used by residents to keep cats away from their property, should the noise level of such devices be loud enough to disturb residents, they have the right to complain to council authorities. Starting with mediation, local offices can also issue written notices to individuals causing the disturbance in a neighbourhood; failure to comply with which can lead to legal action as well. 

FAQs: Can Council Help With Cat Deterrent Noise?

Are cat scarers legal in the UK?

While cat scarers such as ultrasonic deterrents are legal in the UK, there are certain standards that they need to meet so that they do not cause harm to the animals that they aim to keep away. Cats and other animals are protected under the Animal Welfare Act of 2006. Therefore, any act that causes them harm is punishable by law with fines being charged up to £20,000.

Do cats have a legal right to roam?

Yes, under the Animal Welfare Act of 2006, cats have a legal right to roam in the UK. This means that they can wander into people’s property or gardens. However, if certain individuals prefer to keep them away, they must only use non-toxic repellants that cause no harm to the animal. Should reticent be found guilty of using harmful means to keep away cats from their property, they can face legal action as well as penalties up to £20,000.

Can you hear a cat deterrent?

Ultrasonic cat deterrents are only intended to be audible for cats so as to keep them away from one’s property and are not designed to be heard by human ears. However, if there is a cat deterrent with very high frequency or one that has an alarm sound that goes off in the presence of a cat, these may be heard by humans as well.  

What can I do about my neighbour’s cat?

If your neighbour’s cat is causing harm to your property or you simply prefer not to have it on your property, you should use non-toxic natural repellants to keep the cat away. These may include organic ingredients such as orange and lemon peels (cats dislike citrus smells), cayenne pepper, coffee grounds, pipe tobacco, lavender oil, lemongrass oil, citronella oil, peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, & mustard oil.

Do ultrasonic cat deterrents work?

Yes, ultrasonic cat deterrents do work. However, users must be careful that they do not cause harm to the animal or noise in the surroundings as both situations may lead to legal action against them.

References:

Statutory nuisances: how councils deal with complaints – GOV.UK

Pests-pollution-noise-food/noise

Dealing with Pet Problems

Pest control on your property

Local welfare assistance | Local welfare assistance

How to Get Help with Moving Costs – RemovalReviews

Get help with renting costs

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