YOU could be committing a crime and see yourself slapped with a hefty fine simply by arguing in your own home, due to strict council rules.
This is due to Community Protection Notices (CPNs), which are issued by local councils to prevent residents from disrupting their neighbours' everyday lives.
The rules were introduced by former Prime Minister Theresa May when she was Home Secretary in 2014 and can be given to anyone above the age of 16.
If you do anything which is deemed to be disruptive to your neighbours, such as arguing or crying loudly, your local council could slap you with a notice which bans you from continuing.
A Freedom of Information request last year by The Sun found that in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, residents are forbidden from arguing, banging loudly or crying in their own home.
In December 2015, the council in the area served one resident a notice "not to create any wailing, jabbering, crying and hammering on the wall type noises" after a neighbour complained.
All you need to know about CPNs
IF you’re worried about being slapped with a fine, here’s all you need to know about CPNs, according to charity Shelter.
A CPN can be issued when the behaviour is:
- having a "detrimental effect" on the quality of life of those in the locality
- persistent or continuing in nature
There is no restriction on the type of behaviour a CPN can deal with, for example it can deal with noise nuisance, rubbish in gardens and littering.
Before issuing a CPN, the issuing body should give a written warning setting out that if the antisocial behaviour continues a CPN will be issued.
The amount of time allowed between the written warning and the issuing of the CPN is determined on a case-by-case basis.
In some cases it could be minutes, for example when someone persists with playing loud music in a park.
It said that the noises should not be "capable of being heard outside of any property that x [the neighbour] may reside at any time of the day and night".
The council added that it hasn't had any reports of the notice being breached, and said last year that it hasn't issued any fines so far.
In other councils, people have been served with CPN notices for offences such as feeding the birds, listening to the radio loudly or leaving the bins out for too long.
Data from 190 local councils showed that between 2014 and 2018 – at least 29 people were told they risked a criminal prosecution for feeding birds – many in their own gardens.
300 more received letters warning of fines and court action for putting their wheelie bins in the wrong spot for collecting or putting rubbish in the wrong container.
If individuals are served a CPN and fail to comply, they face an on-the-spot fine of £100 or a fine of up to £2,500 if prosecuted.
Meanwhile, businesses can be fined up to a whopping £20,000.
How to protest a Community Protection Notice
If you're slapped with a CPN, you can appeal it in the magistrates court.
You do have to stop the behaviour until your appeal is heard.
Grounds for appeal can include things like:
- If the behaviour didn't happen
- If it doesn't affect local people's quality of life
- If it's not persistent or continuous
- If the behaviour isn't unreasonable
- If it's something you can't reasonably control
- If the requirements or notice periods are unreasonable.
- If the notice was issued to the wrong person
The appeal must either quash the notice, modify the notice (for instance by giving an extension) or dismiss the appeal.
You could be slapped with a £100 fine by your local council from swearing in the street.
Dog owners also risk fines of up to £100 simply for not carrying poo bags on them in some areas of the UK.
Meanwhile, a couple face prosecution if they look at their neighbour’s house after falling out over building work.
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