What If Your Neighbours Object to Your B and B?
It's not unusual to get complaints from neighbours at some point if you're running a B&B. This can be more of a problem if you are in an urban area or in a tourist spot where ordinary houses have been converted to B&B or hotel accommodation.
Softly SoftlyThe key to handling neighbours' complaints is to listen, acknowledge their problems and come to an amicable solution if at all possible.
This might sound a bit namby-pamby, pandering to people who you consider might be just making trouble for the sake of it. But let's face it, if you start to receive complaints and they aren't nipped in the bud, how long will it be before it starts to affect your business? If your neighbours aren’t in the B&B business, that's not going to worry them.
Neighbours and RegulationsUnfortunately there are no blanket laws or regulations for dealing with problems between a bed and breakfast and its neighbours. The path that you will have to take will depend on the nature of their objections. The only time when residents can object in general about having a B&B in their road is if it hasn't yet started up and the owners are putting in the application for change of use.
This is the time for neighbours to object about the changes that they fear might come from the property being used as a B&B. To offset these the B&B owner must be absolutely clear about all aspects of the business and be ready to refute any objections. They need to know the maximum number of guests that could use the property, the number of rooms as well as the number of car parking spaces and where any overflow cars could go.
Noise AnnoysNoise is a common cause of complaint and neighbours are more likely to complain about it these days because we live closer together and the route for complaining has received more publicity. Guests' cars arriving late at night or leaving early in the morning might be cause for complaint.
Unless there is loud music at a B&B the only other likely source of noise might be guests coming back down the street late in the evening or staying out on warm evenings talking and laughing in the garden.
Mediation or OfficialdomIf neighbours do begin to object about noise then bed and breakfast owners should at first talk to them and find out exactly what the problem noise is. They should experience it with the neighbours, in their house, so that they know exactly what the problem is and how loud. Even if they think the neighbours are being unreasonable, there may be something that can be done to alleviate the problem. This could mean raising fence heights or moving garden furniture to another part of the garden.
If the issue can't be resolved or the cost would be too great, owners of a B&B should consider asking their neighbours to make a complaint. This will then allow the Environmental Health Officer to come in and assess the noise and compare it against legal levels. If the officials agree that it is too loud then you'll obviously have to pay to fix the problem, but if it isn’t, then the neighbours can hardly object any further.