Name: Loud loos.
Age: 19 years.
Appearance: It’s more about sound than looks, occurrence than appearance.
OK then, occurrence: Regularly, throughout the night.
And what particular sound are we talking about here? The sweet sound of a toilet flushing.
So annoying! In our house we don’t flush in the night, unless, you know … This isn’t your house, though, or even their house.
Whose house is it then? Where are we? Italy. Near Spezia, in the Liguria region. A couple in a flat complained that they couldn’t get a good night’s sleep after their neighbours – four brothers – installed a new bathroom.
Would that be the Crappellotti brothers? No. Anyway, after a local judge dismissed their complaints the couple took the case to the court of appeal in Genoa. There was an investigation …
Which found …? That the new bathroom was directly adjacent and that the water closet was actually built into the party wall.
Farty wall! That’s pathetic; stop it. Also, it’s the flush that’s the problem, remember?
What was the outcome? That it amounted to a violation of the couple’s rights, protected not just by the Italian constitution but also by the European convention on human rights (ECHR). The judge ordered the brothers to move the water tank and to pay the couple €500 a year from when it was installed in 2003.
€1.37 for every night of disturbed sleep – you can’t even get an espresso for that, can you? That’s not really the point, though, is it?
What is the point? Well, it’s about noisy neighbours, and human rights, and the ECHR protecting the right to respect for a person’s private and family life, and their home and their correspondence.
What about Brexit Britain, though: flush away all night long? Go on, give it another for good measure. The UK is still a participant in the ECHR. For now …
Anyway, back in Italy, was that the end of the story? Not quite. According to La Repubblica, the brothers took the case to the supreme court in Rome.
And it ruled … That the sound of flushing coming through the wall exceeded the legal limit by three decibels …
Only three decibels! Do they not have earplugs in Italy? Or couldn’t the couple put a bit of white noise on? Actually, three decibels is a significant increase in sound. Anyway, whose side are we on here?
Oh yeah, that side: the human rights side. Anyway, the supreme court ruled that infringing on the right to rest had consequences for the constitutionally protected right to health.
So the removal order was upheld? Yes. And the compensation. Let’s hope the brothers are quite flush, so it won’t be a problem for them.
Do say: [Banging on the wall] “Oi, Giovanni! We hear you! Not just the flushing: everything!”
Don’t say: “No, I can’t sleep either, dear. Game of Guess Which Brother, then?”