Spain is noisy, and the Canaries are noisier than ever as Carnival approaches. So how can you tackle nuisance noise?
On islands where outdoor living is a year-round reality, noise is unavoidable, and the Canarian Government is taking what it calls “acoustic contamination” seriously, having undertaken various studies into the problem. Some bars have been closed and fined heavily, and the carnival in Tenerife was even diverted, after noise complaints.
In Spain, anything over 55 decibels is classified as “uncomfortable”. That’s fairly quiet, described as the noise given off by a fridge or a conversation in a restaurant. If it’s below this level, you’ll have problems bringing a complaint, but above that volume it’s another matter.
The first step is always to talk. Tell the neighbour, bar owner or whoever is causing the noise to be quieter – they may not even be aware they’re being noisy. Avoid getting into noise wars and hammering repeatedly on ceiling or walls. If, however reason doesn’t work and the noise is intolerable, call the local police.
If noise is a chronic, regular problem you may need to contact your community of owners if you have one. Quiet enjoyment is the right of all homeowners in Spain. It’s classed as a “shared asset” and thus can be enforced by your community.
More drastic steps will involve getting advice from your local Ayuntamiento’s environment (medioambiente) department, and perhaps preparing a noise diary and lodging a denuncia with the Guardia Civil. If it gets to this stage, you’ll almost certainly require professional legal help.