Noise is a major instigator of disputes between neighbours. Whether it be a loud party with music blasting into the early hours of the morning each and every weekend, consistent yelling throughout the days or inconsiderate mowing of the lawn disrupting the sacred Sunday sleep in, noise disputes arise in an abundance of situations and can be difficult to approach.
Noise is legislated under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 and is defined to include both vibration and sound. The Act makes provision for “offensive noise” being noise that is harmful to a person outside of the premises emitting noise, or noise that interferes with the response or comfort of a person outside of the premises in an unreasonable manner. In order to determine whether noise falls into this definition, the nature, quality, character and level of noise is to be considered.
Despite some noises being specifically prohibited under Regulations that Police and Local Council govern, neighbours can be uncertain about how to approach noises that don’t easily fall into this category. So what do should you do?
1. Raise your concerns with your Neighbour in a pleasant manner
Whilst one of the simplest options, it may be overlooked to have a pleasant conversation with your neighbour. Noise issues may be simply resolved and neighbours may then be made aware of the impact of their behaviours.
In the event that your neighbours don’t respond in the reasonable manner you hope for and the problem continues to persist, you can engage a mediator (being a neutral third party) to assist in resolving the dispute. This gives the neighbours an opportunity to talk with each other and clarify their position on the dispute, talk and be heard. The mediator then can help the neighbours develop options that may resolve the dispute, that perhaps parties had not yet considered.
3. Consider a Noise Complaint
If the noise continues and your neighbour is unwilling to compromise or reduce their noise, a complaint can be made to Police or the Local Council.
Whilst this may be a person’s first consideration, it should be considered whether the noise and “offense” arising from the noise validates potentially deteriorating the relationship you have with your neighbour. It is essential to remember that whilst some activities can be noisy or annoying, neighbours will continue to reside near you and some things can be tolerated rather than inflaming a situation which could worsen.
4. Apply for a Noise Order
As a matter of last recourse, a person is able to make an Application in the Local Court addressing the noise and seeking a binding, enforceable Order that the neighbour stop or control a certain type of noise. This is known as a noise abatement order. Essentially, the neighbour will be prohibited from breaking the Order and could face legal consequences for the breach.
If you require advice on how to approach a neighbourhood dispute, would like further information on mediation avenues, have queries about noise complaints or require representation to respond to a noise complaint, Coutts has the experience to assist you. To receive personalised advice on your particular issue, please contact (02) 4647 7577 to book an initial appointment with our Disputes Resolution Team.
If you have any questions or for further information contact:
02 4607 2114
This blog is merely general and non specific information on the subject matter and is not and should not be considered or relied on as legal advice. Coutts is not responsible for any cost, expense, loss or liability whatsoever in relation to this blog, including all or any reliance on this blog or use or application of this blog by you.