Keeping you awake all night – Dublin’s Burglar Alarms

Lea Heming

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Did you ever wake up in the middle of the night at the sound of your neighbours burglar alarms? Most of these get turned off within a few minutes. In some cases, however, you wait hours until the noise stops. Does your neighbour just have a deep sleep or aren’t they at home? The Circular did some research and here’s what you can (or can’t) do, to get your well-deserved sleep.

Noise Regulations in Ireland

Of course, there is a law in Ireland, just like in most other countries, that regulates how much noise is acceptable on what time of the day. These are designed to give groups or individuals a possibility to complain about noise nuisances and even go to court if necessary.

Installers of alarm systems need a licence from the Private Security Authority. To get such a licence, they must meet certain standards which also include maximum times for the sounding of external alarms. The European standard is 15 minutes and they were adopted by Ireland in 2006 by Ireland. Besides this, if you are at vacation you should have a nominated key holder who can get to the alarm within 90 minutes to turn it off.

Over the years, false burglar alarm noise has devalued the alarms to a point where no one takes them seriously anymore. They became more of an effective way to find out if a house is empty and the owners not at home. They can even be turned on by the wind or an open window because most of them are overly sensitive.

Sleeping Person on Sofa
Photo by Wokandapix

When can I take action?

But on what point exactly are you able to do something about an alarm? Whenever you consider a noise to be so loud, repeated or of such duration that it gives you a reasonable cause for annoyance. This of course not only applies to burglar alarms. Also to the fifth party the next-door neighbours threw this week, or the neighbour from the apartment across the street who wants to share his music with everyone in hearing area.

The law doesn’t specifically mention which exact levels of noise is illegal but as soon as the neighbourhood noise is affecting your quality of life (sleep), you have the right to complain. However, there is something important to mention in this case. If you want to take your complaint to court because an alarm for example goes of nearly every day and the house owners to nothing about it, you need to prove that you did everything possible to minimize the annoyance on your own.

Garda Lantern
Photo by ptrabattoni

What can I do?

Before calling the police, try to find out who (or in this case what) is causing the noise. If you can ring your neighbour’s door and make him call his burglar alarm company, you save the police some time. Maybe you can identify the company which provides the alarm system and call them. If, however, your neighbour isn’t at home or the apartment complex is too big to locate the responsible, you can call the Garda.

Now the bad news: Usually, if the neighbour is not at home and the landlord not reachable, the Garda can’t do much more than checking if there are Burglars inside the house. The Police is not allowed to enter a property or turn off the alarm. At least not if there are not any signs of a break in.

So here’s a short summary what to do if your neighbours burglar alarms are stealing your sleep:

  • Burglar alarms are supposed to turn of after 15 minutes
  • If a noise (in this case the alarm) affects your quality of life, you have the right to complain
  • Before calling the Police, try to get hold of your neighbour, their landlord or the security company
  • The Garda can’t turn off the Alarm but will try to get hold a responsible person
  • If a certain alarm goes of frequently and the responsible person does not do anything about it, even after being confronted with it, you can go to court

Did you have any experiences with burglar alarms in Dublin? What did you do about it? Share your stories and tips in the comments.

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Lea Heming

  • Sunniva Batalden

    I could have needed this a year ago. Not sure my current neighbourhood can afford burglar alarams, so that’s that, I guess. Does the same thing go for shopping centre’s and loud Christmas music? They started 8 o’clock every morning in the building next to mine. Real nightmare.