A heat pump seems like a wonderful sustainable solution. In the north of the country, however, this sustainable solution came at the expense of the neighbors’ night’s rest. They did not let it rest and initiated a summary proceeding. The outcome shows that it is possible to act on noise pollution from a heat pump.
The heat pump
The neighbor had a pool installed in 2020 including a heat pump that heats the pool. The heat pump was placed forty inches from the property line with the rear neighbors.
To keep the pool heated, the neighbor left the pump on day and night. The back neighbors experienced noise pollution mainly at night due to this heat pump, which caused them structural sleep deprivation. The rear neighbors brought up in court that the structural lack of sleep led to serious health problems.
Neighbors go to court
Although the neighbors initially tried to find a solution together and attempted various solutions, this did not lead to a result that was desirable for both parties. The neighbors at the back initiated a summary proceeding in July 2021 to tackle the noise disturbance. The judge ruled that the heat pump had to be turned off between 11:00 PM in the evening and 7:00 AM in the morning, under penalty of a fine.
The neighbor disagreed and appealed to the court of appeal.
The assessment in the appeal court
The court made a decision at the end of 2022. The court points out that whether noise from a heat pump constitutes unlawful nuisance depends on the nature, severity and duration of the nuisance and the damage caused by it. Other factors may also be important. Consideration should include the neighbor’s interest in using the heat pump and the neighbor’s ability and willingness to avoid the nuisance.
A heat pump can cause unlawful noise pollution.
It’s important to note that the court points out that even if the noise level of the heat pump complies with permitted noise standards, such as those included in the Building Decree 2012, this does not mean that there is no unlawful nuisance just because of that. The court looks at the results of the noise measurements from the neighbours at the back and the assessment of these results by an expert. From this data, it appears that there is serious noise nuisance. The court attaches extra importance to the fact that the noise nuisance mainly occurs at night and finds it credible that the rear neighbors therefore suffer from insomnia and health problems.
The court is further looking into the possibilities to prevent the nuisance and the neighbor’s willingness to limit the nuisance. Although the neighbor believed that the heat pump could not be placed further away from the property line, the court has a different opinion. The court believes that the heat pump can be placed somewhere else. The neighbor was unable to explain to the court why she was not willing to take less drastic measures to avoid the noise disturbance.
Therefore, the neighbor also loses the appeal.
In our country, buildings are being equipped with a heat pump at a rapid pace. A heat pump can cause unlawful noise pollution. Therefore, it’s important to make arrangements with the neighbors about measures to prevent possible noise pollution. If that doesn’t happen, the heat pump may need to be relocated, or its use may be limited. That’s obviously a waste of the investment.
The specialists at Wille Donker Lawyers are eager to think along with you!