How do you deal with Noisy Neighbors?

upstairs neighbour starter pack

We’ve all been through it. There was that one time (or many times) that noise traveled through walls. Let’s face it, when you live in a property with multiple lots, the close proximity will eventually lead to hearing noise created by your neighbours. However, there’s a difference between an annoying noise and unreasonable noise. While everyone has different definitions of peace in their own home, it’s important to be mindful of other people in the vicinity, so you won’t be labelled as a noisy neighbor.

Identify the issue and know your regulations

Before you take matters into your own hands, it’s always better to try and figure out the best way to tackle the matter.

 

  • Is the noise something that will potentially end in the next few minutes? (Vacuum or furniture moving)
  • Is the noise something that will potentially last hours? (construction, guests being loud, television, music)
  • Is the noise something that happens frequently? (Noisy pets, building works, equipment such as air conditioners or  exhaust fans)
  • Is the type of noise happening at as time that may be considered unreasonable- like in the middle of the night?

 

Identifying the above will help you with the type of approach you need to take when addressing the issue.

 

If they have guests for example, having a barbie at 11AM, and you happen to have worked late last and need the sleep, then they are well within their rights and it’s just unfortunate timing. However, if your neighbour decides to have band practice at 2AM, then, well that’s unreasonable.

 

Inform your neighbour

It’s always best to try and resolve it at the source. Approach your neighbour and attempt to contact them in a conciliatory manner. Perhaps the neighbour wasn’t aware that they are being too loud? Perhaps they assumed that at that time there’s not a lot of people around?  In any case, best to let them know that the noise is being disruptive

 

Suggest solutions

It’s not enough that you tell them that they are being noisy. You might hope that’s enough to make them stop, but some neighbours might continue or even create more noise out of spite. Again, depending on the noise, it might be something they need to do (i.e. practicing instruments) or something they can reschedule (like vacuuming). Ideally, it’s something they can resolve on their own. Suggesting solutions (i.e. aligning schedules) can be a sign that you are understanding and are willing to compromise.

 

If approaching the neighbour doesn’t solve the issue

Unfortunately, some issues are not so easily resolved by a friendly chat. Based on the type of noise, how common the occurrence is or how severe it is, you may employ other means to try and resolve the issue. Before you try any of the other tips below, you should make sure that you have evidence of the noise to be able to prove that it was a nuisance or that it is disruptive, as well as taking note of the date (and maybe even the time) you have attempted to resolve the issue with your neighbour.

 

Contact your owners corporation

You should check if your Owners’ Corporation has specific rules on noise and also handy to check how disputes are resolved.

 

Seek help from your local council, or the police

You can try and speak to your local council to implore them to act in relation to your noise complaint. In more severe instances, you may contact the police and request that they handle the situation and speak to your neighbour.

 

Speak to a lawyer

If the noise is a nuisance or unreasonable, you may opt to take legal action under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 or the Environment Protection Act 1970- if the noise falls under either legislation.

 


Some additional information:

The table below outlines the times when certain types of residential noise are not allowed; during these times, these types of noise will automatically be considered unreasonable and prohibited.

A motor vehicle (except when moving in or out of your home), lawn mower or other equipment with an internal combustion engine Monday to Friday: 8:00 pm–7:00 am Weekends and public holidays: 8:00 pm–9:00 am
An electric power tool, chainsaw, circular saw, gas compressor, pneumatic power tool or hammer, or similar impacting or grinding equipment Monday to Friday: 8:00 pm–7:00 am Weekends and public holidays: 8:00 pm–9:00 am
A domestic air conditioner or evaporative cooler, heat pumps and other similar pumps, domestic heating equipment and a domestic vacuum cleaner Monday to Friday: 10:00 pm–7:00 am Weekends and public holidays: 10:00 pm–9:00 am
A musical instrument and any amplified sound system, including a stereo, radio, television and public address system Monday to Thursday: 10:00 pm–7:00 am Friday: before 7:00 am and after 11:00 pm Saturday and public holidays: before 9:00 am and after 11:00 pm Sunday: before 9:00 am and after 10:00 pm
Any electric equipment or appliance not listed above, including gardening equipment Monday to Friday: 8:00 pm–7:00 am Weekends and public holidays: 8:00 pm–9:00 am
Source: https://www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/sites/www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/files/vla-resource-neighbours-the-law-and-you.pdf

Noisy pets:

A nosy cat or dog will only be considered a nuisance if it is persistent and continues to such an extent that it disrupts your peace, comfort or convenience. If speaking with your neighbour doesn’t resolve the issue, you may contact your local council. They will provide you with advice on how to fix the problem, and the pet owner may be fined.

 

Dealing with noisy neighbors can be tough, and if you’re still unsure of how to deal with yours, we’ll try to help. Get in touch with us or give us a call! (call function)

 

Noise Neighbors infographic

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