Vehicle, house and business alarms
Environmental Health and the Safer Neighbourhoods Team (SNT) deal with complaints about audible intruder alarms
Environmental Health (or outwith Office Hours, Safer Neighbourhood Team) deals with alarm complaints and make every reasonable effort to contact the property/vehicle owner or keyholder who can solve the problem. Enforcement action using Statutory Nuisance law may need to be taken if no owner can be found.
If an alarm is reported and has been sounding for some time, then investigations will be made to try and trace the owner.
If this fails, or the owner is not contactable, then legally backed action using Statutory Nuisance powers is likely to be taken. This involves serving a notice on the vehicle, and if the alarm is not silenced (normally within an hour), then the Council will arrange for the vehicle to be entered and the alarm disconnected. If this is not possible the vehicle can be towed away to a suitable place in order to silence the alarm.
The registered owner of the vehicle will be informed of the action taken and will be charged the costs incurred. In the event that the owner returns to find their vehicle missing following removal, information on the action taken and from where the vehicle may be collected is lodged with Police Scotland.
House/ Business Alarms
If no property keyholder can be found and the alarm is likely to continue to cause nuisance, especially late at night, legally backed action using Statutory Nuisance powers is likely to be taken to solve the problem. A formal Abatement Notice can be served on the property which requires the alarm to be silenced within a specified time, normally one hour. When the notice expires, Council officers will apply for an entry warrant to allow them to have the alarm silenced. Usually this is done at the outside alarm box, but sometimes officers need to break in to deal with the problem. By law, Council Officers have to leave a property secure, which sometimes means changing the locks. This might also mean that owners could come home from holiday to find the locks changed. If locks are changed, a notice will be left at the premises advising where the keys can be obtained from Environmental Health.
If Council officers have to silence the alarm, the property owner will be billed for the cost of silencing the alarm and if necessary re-securing the property.
No-one likes coming home to an unexpected bill or being unable to get their key to fit in the lock. To avoid this, there are a number of things property owners can do before leaving the property empty:
- Leave keys with friends, neighbours or relatives.
- If you have a contract with an alarm company please ensure the contact details for the company is visible on the external alarm box, as this is normally the first point of contact to find a key holder.
- Ensure your alarm system has an automatic cut off after a 20 minute period.
- Ensure your alarm system is regularly serviced.
If you need to report an audible alarm please contact West Lothian Council Contact Centre on 01506 280000.